my search to understand the bigger picture

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Thoughts on Running and Life

I've had the awesome opportunity to go trail running twice this past week, which is definitely a rarity in my life. The first time I went alone, and took plenty of time to think quietly, and listen for God to speak to me about some things in my life. This effort to listen for God to tell me some things was prompted by the sermon I heard earlier that day. It was great to hear God speak directly to some of the questions that I had!

I've made it quite clear that this past year especially has been one of ups and downs. What became evident to me while running was how much our attitude plays into how we handle life's situations. I'm firmly convinced that attitude is just as important in running as physical fitness, training, and preparation. A great attitude will carry you through so many lows in running that fitness won't. At some point, no matter how fit you are, especially in ultras, you will feel like crap and want to quit. Your attitude at that point is crucial! In life, the same happens. There's nothing you can do to fully prepare for every valley that will occur. BUT, if you are firmly committed to putting one foot in front of the other no matter what occurs, trusting God to walk with you through those times, YOU WILL GET THROUGH THEM!

With running, sometimes you've just got to break things down to the very basics. When struggling, one can begin to look at things like form, posture, breathing, hydration, diet, etc. In life, we can break things down and look at things like prayer. Now, I don't mean the kind of prayer where we unload our laundry list on God, and then take off before He has a chance to respond. Because, in truth, we don't want to hear Him talk. We want Him to act, don't we? We rarely take the time to simply listen to what He has to say. And let's be honest, we won't convince God to act on our part by whining and then leaving.

I find I'm most comforted, not necessarily when God "acts", but when I simply take the time to listen to Him. When I quiet myself before Him.

I know I won't always handle life's situations in the way I should. What I do hope is that I give my very best with every circumstance. And as I do that I will grow. I will learn. I will mature. When running is concerned, I know I can't control things like the weather, course conditions, how I feel on a particular day (to some extent). All I can is give my best effort on any given day, and if I do that, I can be satisfied.

The goal in both running and life, is never settle. Always strive for excellence. Always look to get better. Always put in the work. But sometimes, the end result is not really the goal worth achieving. Sometimes the journey (and oh how I've grown to hate this word) is the reachable goal, with end results simply providing feedback for things to tweak.

The second time I went trail running this week was with a good friend. Completely different experience, which I desperately needed. We need people in our lives and in running to challenge us. We need a healthy balance of people involved that spur us on, and a good deal of personal motivation to do the little things when no one's looking. I believe someone has called that character at some point in time.

All that to say, it was good to quiet myself a few days ago. That's something I don't do nearly enough. I'm slightly out of balance in that way, and my guess is many of you are too. I need to show the same dedication in life as I do in running. It's a shame that things are that way, but it's the truth. And the first step is admitting it, right?

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