Tag Archives: running

Give it all ya’ got!

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:42-44

I didn’t start running until I was 42 years old. Prior to that I had been a smoker “only” about 1/2 pack a day smoker, but a smoker nonetheless. I received a flyer in the mail for Team in Training that said that they could teach me to run a half or full marathon. Pfft….yea right….but my interest sure got sparked. I had played around with jogging prior to receiving this flyer, but I was out of shape and overweight and my lungs, I’m sure, were damaged, so running was hard, so I never really kept with it.

Team In Training raises funds in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The mission of LLS is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. To learn more visit https://www.teamintraining.org/ I am not advertising this program, its just a program I chose to train with and have made lifetime friends with and forever changed my life.

SO ANYWAY…to say I was out of shape is putting it mildly. For those of us training for the half-marathon, the first Saturday of practice was to “run” 3 miles. MY goal was to make it back to where we started. Somehow. 3 miles??? Seriously? The trainees were of all different athletic abilities. Some had been running for YEARS, some were athletic but hadn’t ran before, some were novice runners. Me, I was a beginner. The very slowest of all the athlete participants. I was the most out of shape. But mostly, I couldn’t breathe. The years of smoking had REALLY caught up with me.

I set out, and got about a half mile down the trail and “Coach Jeff” caught up with me….I say caught up, it was actually that he slowed down for me. Coach Jeff is a beast. He probably ran 2 marathons every Saturday catching up with and going back to the participants to guide them and, in my case, listen to them. He truly is an amazing athlete and coach. That first day, when Coach Jeff asked, “How are you doing?” I stopped “running” and started to cry. I just said, I can’t breathe!! Shared with him that I quit smoking recently, and I want to do this, but how am I supposed to run 13.1 miles when I can’t even BREATHE through this Saturday 3 miler?!?!”

Coach just said, to only run until I couldn’t count to three with my steps and breathing….like count 1, 2, 3 steps and if I couldn’t inhale that long, to walk. Catch my breath, and then start again. Which is really great advise, right? But then I looked at people like “Beth” who was already at the 1.5 mile turn around and not even breaking a sweat. Her arms in that tank top looked amazing, and here I was choking.

Both of these athletes gave out of their “Wealth”. It didn’t physically cost them at all to run that dreadful 3 miles that day. For me though, I brought the only two very small copper coins I had. All I was able to give that day didn’t add up to but a few cents, but I truly did give all I had to the trail.

I felt very small that day. Not because of Jeff and Beth, they are two of the most encouraging people I know, they truly did help me across the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that year. I’ll be forever grateful for their mentorship. No, I felt very small because I was always comparing myself to “real runners”, and I continued comparing my abilities for YEARS. I was afraid of running with people, because of how slow I was, so I isolated myself. My friends and family encouraged me and were respectful of my running, but I always felt like I wasn’t as good as….(fill in the blank)

Do you do that too? Do you compare your beginning to other people’s middle? Do you sometimes feel embarrassed by your entry-level abilities? If so, can I just encourage you to stop that? Please stop that. In retrospect I see that this caused me to look down on myself.

I ran several events after that season, and usually with a group of people. One season I trained with a group and had worked my way up to running 10/1s. That means I ran for 10 minutes, and walked for 1. I was pretty proud of myself. Well, in the pre-dawn hours of the Houston Half Marathon, I was lined up with a group in my pace “corral” and twisted my ankle in a small chughole in the downtown street. I tumbled, and twisted my ankle, tore my leggings and banged up my knee.

Then the gun went off. My group asked if I was ok, and I said yea, but because of a swollen ankle and skinned up knee, I fell behind. I did end up finishing the event, but WAYYYY behind my usual pace. At the end of the event, my group took pictures and celebrated, but I held back. I was ashamed of being in any of the pictures. I felt like a failure because “I wasn’t as fast as them”.

I had just finished 13.1 miles with a swollen ankle and skinned up knee with torn leggings. I felt ashamed!!

Can I just encourage you today…..STOP FEELING ASHAMED of your inabilities or noviceness (is that a word?) Here’s the plan:

Give out of your poverty, put in everything – all you have to live on

translation of Mark 12:44

Dear Lord, thank you for the experiences of my past that have helped me grow closer to You. I pray for the needs and abilities of the person reading this right now. Lord you know what it is that they need and you see them perfectly. Help both of us to see ourselves in the light in which you see us as we both grow closer to you.

Do you need prayer today?

In what way are you comparing your beginning to other people’s middle?

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Competition

  • Leviticus 22:17-23:44
  • Mark 9:30-10:12
  • Psalm 44:1-8
  • Proverbs 10:19

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35

We sure have a competition issue in this world, don’t we? Everyone wants to be bigger, better, greater, stronger, prettier, more popular than the “other” person. This is a strange dilemma though, because I personally, don’t believe in participation trophies. It is my opinion that in every competition, there is a winner and a loser. You either get the job or you don’t. You either get first place, or you don’t. You either close the sale or you don’t. You either take that first step out the door in the morning, or you don’t.

A couple of weeks ago we were playing Candy Land with our 4 year old grandson. The first game we played, “Papa” won. Boyyyy did that make my grandson angry! He stomped off and cried. When he got done with his little fit, we explained to him that in every game, there’s a winner and a loser. I am forever grateful that the next game, my grandson won, (whew!!) and the illustration was complete, hat we just have to try again, and next time it may be our turn to win. We just gotta get back up and try again. (yes gotta is a word;)

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.”

Mark 9:33-34

So, how do we make sense of my earthly brilliance in “there’s a winner and there’s a loser” and also make sense of “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all?

The disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who was Jesus’ best friend, who was being the most selfless and likely who had sacrificed more than the other, and who DESERVED to sit next to King Jesus. They didn’t understand the ultimate sacrifice that was about to come via Christ our Lord. And ya know what….Jesus DID know what they were arguing about already. He’d read the Pharisees and crowd pretty darn well so far, he was testing his buddies to see if they could be honest with him, and ultimately themselves. He was asking them to question themselves about what they actually “deserve” and if they were willing to work for it and stick with him.

So listen, lets talk about this competition thing. I don’t think that Jesus meant that we have to give in and give up in competitions. Paul in the Book of Corinthians says:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it a slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

So really, its about disciplining ourselves to the training is where the competition is effective. Not against other people. To others we are to serve.

Serve like my cousin friend Mary served me today. She kindly commented on this post with the deep wisdom of a woman who knows the harsh realities and beauty that comes from competition. I walked away from this blog post earlier, unfinished thinking I would get back to it later. “No one is reading them anyway,” I said to myself. Mary’s words today are an example of ultimate servanthood. I’ve seen her give selfless support to her family in times of severe stress, and ask for nothing in return. She comments and brags on family on every social media post. People like Mary are #goals for those of us who obsessively compete against themselves, and sadly, at times, others.

Father God, thank you for keeping my competitive spirit in check. Thank you that you teach me to discipline and compete with servanthood. Lord, teach me what that means every single day, because like someone said, I’m just a “C+ student” in a world of A+ family and friend examples. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would minister to them and help them stay encouraged, yet humble, strong, yet weak. Lord guide all of us to serve others through this life.

What goals and dreams are you striving toward?

How have you been ministered to recently?

How can you minister to another human today?

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Proverbs 10:17

  • Leviticus 19:1-20:21
  • Mark 8:11-38
  • Psalm 42:1-11
  • Proverbs 10:17

Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Proverbs 10:17

Last year, the pastor at our church did a whole sermon series about the Enneagram. I had vaguely heard of it before, when I say vaguely, I mean that I had seen or heard people announce their “number”, but that’s about it. It was a really great sermon series and many of our congregation jumped in with learning about their personality Type.

God really spoke to me with this study, and as with many things, I jumped in full body immersion. I learned that my Type is that of an Enneagram 4, and my second highest number Type, which is really close a Type 7. Currently, I am taking an online course at www.yourenneagramcoach.com. This website offers a deep dive and even one-on-one coaching, and pursues it within a heavy Christian light. I just love it and I am learning about alot about what makes me tick. One of the attributes is for Type 4 is being “introspective”. That’s putting it mildly, for me.

When a Type 4 is in a growth point, moves toward a healthy side of Type 1, who tends to be more disciplined and grounded. I would absolutely concur this information. When I am in a good place, I tend to get more be good at setting and achieving goals. I am more apt to be productive and focused. However, when a Type 4 is under stress they try and manipulate others into loving them, which is more like an unhealthy Type 2. They (we) become overly involved and clingy to others. Yep. That’s me.

Ugh. Sorry family! I’m working on it!

Perhaps I should write in invisible ink on the inside of my glasses Proverbs 10:17, so that it only shows up when I’m either being disciplined or leading others astray AKA causing arguments with my clingy-ness. Is this even possible? Someone should invent this. Not me, I’m a Type 4, the only thing we invent are new ways to paint furniture and poems and songs, and perhaps write long blog posts.

The word discipline comes from “discipulus“, the Latin word for pupil. Interestingly enough, it also provided the source of the word disciple….you know, like those guys that Jesus was doing his best to TEACH in the Gospels? So like, when I’m in a healthy place, I’m being “teachable”. I’m actually being a disciple. I’m growing and learning in the Lord.

Disciplined in what way? Well, one way for me, running is a discipline. I always say I don’t particularly like running, I just love finish lines!

This is what discipline looks like to me….but its also the hard days. Training for these events takes dedication and effort. These pictures are from finish lines, but to get to the finish line took showing up for rainy days. It took discipline to take that first step at 5:00 in the morning. It took answering the question….why am I doing this? For you, it likely means something else. Maybe its reading scripture every day. Maybe its eating healthy foods (this is one for me too, that I really struggle with). Maybe its giving positive talks to yourself. Maybe its cooking dinner at home instead of spending money going out to eat. What is it for you?

But ohhhhh, the people I met along the way!! The friends I have made with running are some of my favorites. Doing something hard together brings a level of friendship that years and distance can never take away.

We all get stressed out and off track sometimes, especially me…..somehow I can get so off track that I don’t even know how I got there. So I wonder, does getting back on track require the discipline first or does the discipline come as a result of getting healthier? I can tell you this, for me, right now, its taken me to get off my fluffy winter butt and going outside! It requires me to take that first step. It takes a physical response to Jesus when he says “Follow me!”

Dear Lord, thank you for the wisdom of the enneagram, its so helpful. Thank you for teachers and coaches that you have placed in my life as a beacon of light to you. I thank you for your patience with me when I get off track and for knowing that you have a path for me to take….I’m in awe of you. I pray that the person reading this seek your light and find a guide that would put them on the path toward you, because there is REAL freedom. There is an unstoppable joy!

What is your discipline?

Are you on track or off track? Please share, and let me know how to pray for you today.

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