Well, this past 12 weeks I’ve been on a journey that I really didn’t plan to embark on. Yes, it was one of those #SayWhat moments for me! Earlier in the year–I think it was April–my church started advertising a Bible Study called “Run for God” written by Mitchell Hollis. The mission statement in the book (Run for God pg 7) is “Preparing people to be better witnesses for Christ physically, mentally, and spiritually.”
I started getting the nudging in my soul to sign up, but I really didn’t want to. You see, I’m not physically fit–quite the opposite, in fact. I need to lose over 100 lbs, have a desk job, and walking for 15 minutes at a time, or up a flight of stairs was challenging for me, but that nudging just wouldn’t STOP! So, I talked to the organizer and signed up. The first meeting I was out of town, so I didn’t go, and I tried to find every excuse possible to not go to the second meeting, but…that nudging was still there, and I was convicted to go. I knew that I could hang with the Bible study part of plan, so there I was.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
Walking into that Bible study really changed my perspective. The leader had personally lost 90 pounds, so he understands my battle, and had very enlightening commentary, not to mention that he and his wife and children provide a wonderful example of a Christian family. Every week at least one member of the group would hang back with me, and walk our work out portion of the class rather than run their own race, to make sure that I knew I was part of the group.
“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5:7
I learned that each person in our group was at a different spot in their race, Physically, mentally, and spiritually. All of us are striving to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and need encouragement from one another because it seemed that we are all our own worst enemy. The focus has to remain on God, and you have to train in order to succeed. This is applicable to both our physical bodies, and our spiritual life. “Are you expecting great things with no spiritual sweat?” Run for God pg 65
The 5k was yesterday (August 17th). It was a wonderful experience for me. I didn’t sleep much Friday night. I was very nervous and filled with many questions–Would I be able to finish? What would the runners not with our group think about this out of shape walker? Then, I don’t care–I’m doing this for God and to prove to myself that I can do it. The self doubt and correction continued until I cranked up the praise songs on the way to the race. God gave me a peace about the event. I just wanted to finish, and it would be wonderful if I didn’t finish dead last.
Our group met as a team and prayed before the event. Prior to meeting up with my group I had the opportunity to talk to several runners, all of who were very nice and supportive. Then we were off. The course did have quite a few hills, but it was an out and back course which proved very good for me. I was the only one on our team walking the event, so the other members on my team that were running would yell encouragement and claps at me as they passed! It was SO encouraging, and inevitably came at just the moment that I needed it to keep going. The runners that I had met before the race also offered encouragement as they passed!
Then, when I had probably 1/2 mile to go I saw our leader running toward me. He joined me in my race, and walked with me, talking to me, and offering encouragement. I get teary eyed just thinking about what happened next–as I started to round the bend for the finish line–there they were–ALL of the Run for God team members. They joined me for the last section of the race, encouraging me, and letting me know that they are proud of me. They dropped off just at the end to let me cross the finish line on my own. I completed my first 5k in just under 57 minutes! AND…I was not the last one to finish the race, though by the end of the race–I really wasn’t concerned about that anymore!
The picture above is of our team just after the race. I am the one in the maroon shirt on the right side of the picture.
Am I a runner now–no, but I’ve learned that -I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:13
A HUGE thank you to all of the members of my Run for God team. Each of you holds a special place in my heart!
To all of you who doubt if you can do something–take a chance–you may be very surprised, as I was, at what is waiting for you to experience!