About two weeks ago, I was asked to run a 5k with a friend. Initially it seemed like a good idea. She was excited, my husband was excited, and both assumed that I could do it; so of course I agreed. Two days after agreeing to run the race tons of negative thoughts began to flood my mind. Self doubt began to creep in, and internally, I quickly decided that I was not ready to take on this challenge. I began expressing my concerns to my husband, and while all of my concerns were valid, I knew in the back of my mind that they were all excuses as well. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never viewed myself as a runner, and the fact that I have only 7 weeks to prepare scared me. Oh let me not forget to mention that my friend has run quite a few 5ks before, so I personally didn’t feel like I belonged on the same trail as her.
Fear had taken over, and I was mentally defeated before the race even began. No! Seriously, I was already defeated. I already began seeing images in my mind of me holding my friend back, crossing the finish line last, and even quitting before the end. For about four days I spent time embracing the negative thoughts and images of defeat, and by the end of the forth day my decision was made, I AM NOT RUNNING THE RACE! The next day I plan on calling my friend to let her know that I was not ready to commit to the race, but before I could even make the call I received an email confirming that she had purchased her ticket. I put my face into my hands and said,”Oh wow! Seriously, now I REALLY HAVE to run the race”. Although I was fearful and completely outside of my comfort zone, by this time I realized that there was no turning back. I was not going to let my personal feelings cause me to disappoint my friend. Although the complaining didn’t stop, my conversations regarding the race took a shift. It went from, “I am not running” to “Now I have to run”. Most people don’t enjoy being in a situation where they “have” to do something, right? So now I’m feeling like I was forced to run the race, by who I can’t tell you.
A day or so later I was dropping my husband off at the bus stop, and I began complaining once again about the race. He listened and even shared in some of my concerns; however I am convinced he knew I was using my concerns as excuses. He leaned over and gave me a few kisses and said, “Babe, you are going to have to find a bright side to this situation”. I smiled at him but was thinking there is no bright side, I simply do not belong on the trail, and I am not a runner.
It only takes about 3 minutes to drive from the bus stop to the gym, and by the time I arrived at the gym something switched in my brain. I walked into the gym and decided that I would give running on the treadmill a try. I downloaded a 5k training app on my phone the day my friend asked me to join her, so I pulled my phone out and began following the instructions from the app. Before I knew it 30 minutes had passed, and I had completed my first day of 5k trainer. WOW! I felt so liberated. The next day, I began to work on the visual that had been placed in my head regarding me not finishing the race. So while running I envisioned my husband waiting at the finish line with a huge smile on his face.
Day three rolled around, and I honestly felt like I was going to pass out before I even began running. I tried to envision my husband’s smile again, but that didn’t work so well. So I closed my eyes and started running. Then I heard the voice of God saying, “Angel open your eyes and look down”. Now remember this was my third day on the treadmill, and I had never really paid much attention to anything on the treadmill besides the quick start button; but as I looked down I notice two words “YOU BELONG” above the quick start button. All I could do is smile. I knew it was God’s way of dealing with my self-defeating thoughts.
It was like he was telling me:
Day 1: Don’t think about it (START QUICK)
Day 2: Finish strong
Day 3: Because YOU BELONG
Although I am still preparing for the race I am declaring now, “I AM A RUNNER AND I BELONG ON THE TRAIL”.
Have you ever found yourself feeling defeated before the race even started? Giving up before it even begins? I am writing to encourage you that YOU BELONG. I come against ALL self-defeating thoughts, fears, and lies. I don’t care what he said, she said, or what they said. I ONLY care about what God has said about you. You are blessed and highly favored. You are HIS beloved and for that reason alone…WE BELONG!!!
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NLT)
God’s Daughter. His wife. Their mother. Your friend.