This week I will begin following a strict 16-week marathon training schedule…YIKES! I say “YIKES” because this will be my 3rd marathon and I mentally and physically know what to expect. This is extremely exciting, but it also terrifies me a bit. I know that I will experience moments of running highs that will include reaching distance goals, achieving a faster pace, and braving through challenging weather conditions. But there will also be moments of running lows including exhaustion, blisters, body aches and pains, challenging Michigan weather conditions, and I usually trip and fall a couple times.
I have been preparing myself over the past year to get physically prepared to not just run 26.2 miles but to make it through the 4 months of training. I feel that I have properly prepared myself physically but that doesn’t always ensure that things will go the way I plan. There will be a lot of unexpected bumps along the way, but I know that after I cross that finish line in Disney World, I will be a better and stronger person for having gone through it.
Even more so, I hope to be a better and stronger Christian when I cross that finish line.
I have been reading the book Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel and it has helped me to focus my thoughts, mind, attitude, actions and soul towards Christ in all that I do. When I run, I am alone a lot with my thoughts and I spend a lot of time in reflection. Knowing that I will have hours of alone time terrifies me a bit too. Like most people, I fill up my days doing things, being busy. Sometimes it’s just easier to be distracted then to be challenged with focusing on Christ. Even as I write this blog, I am distracted.
“What about you? What’s your greatest fear? Can you choose to trust God with it? Be as honest with yourself as you can. This is really important. In my experience, the further away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear. But the closer I am to God, the more I’m able to trust him, and the less hold the things of this world have on me. Choose. Tell God what it is you’re afraid of. Then trust him no matter what.” Craig Groeschel, Soul Detox
Not only is it difficult to face my own fears, it is painful to even begin to identify and admit those fears. Sure, foam fingers scare the mess out of me but I’m not talking about those kinds of fears. I’m talking about the ones that I think about when I have time in solitude. The painful fears that I’m not sure I’m fully ready to give up control on. The ones that for some reason I am holding on to because I know that when I give them to God, he will not only make me face them but he will use them to make me a better and stronger Christian.
Beginning a training program is always a little scary, because I know the process of improving is sometimes painful. As Christians we tend to take the same approach. Admitting our fears and facing them to become better will be painful, but in the end all the time and effort will have made a lasting difference and will bring us closer to God.