Archive for May, 2010

Trust the Program

So, today starts Week 4 of the Couch 2 5K program.  After completing Day 1 about 3 weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see Week 4!

I came out of Week 3 really scared.  My first day of Week 3 was my best based on how I felt, and the rest of the week was a bit tough.  Let’s just say I didn’t feel ready to move up at all.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the words “trust the program” on the Couch 2 5K facebook wall.  There are so many encouraging people there – total strangers no less – but who are glad to give you some motivation to keep going.

And although I think most people agree that Weeks 3, 4, and 5 are the toughest (and mostly Week 4), the majority of the advice is “trust the program.”  If you do the small steps day by day, you’ll be ready to move on to the next thing.

So, I woke up this morning to the hottest day this year.  Humidity.  Short on sleep because I “had” to stay up and watch the LOST finale.  And I dragged my sorry self to Armstrong Park to try out Week 4.  I’ll admit – I didn’t expect to finish.

But finish, I did.  It hurt a bit, I was SUPER slow, I sweat a LOT.  But I did it.

Actually, God did it.  I prayed about every second through that 33 minutes – or at least the first 28 before the cool-down walk.  I knew I didn’t have the strength to do it, but He did.  Before the last 5 minutes, I prayed specifically for my body parts.  “God, my legs hurt.  They are weak.  But You can make them strong.”  “God, my lungs hurt.  They are weak.  But You give me life and breath, and You can make them strong.”  “God, my mind is weak.  I don’t know if I can do this.  But You are a God of encouragement, endurance, and perseverance.  Help me to run this race you have set before me.”

I know that this “trust the program” is one of the key lessons God is trying to teach me in this running journey.  Life with Him is about obedience day by day.  Following His program TODAY and not worrying about tomorrow.  And when I’m faithful to just keep putting one foot ahead of the other, He and He alone will sustain me and give me strength.

Some days are rainy; some are hot.  Some are lots easier than others.  Some go according to our own plans, but many do not.  Because HE sees the bigger picture, and knows where my path is headed when I do not.

I’m learning to trust Him not just day by day, but second by second.  Because He will give me strength for each day, and it in turn prepares me for what is to come tomorrow.  I’m almost afraid to learn why He knows I’m going to need it…

God’s version of “Trust the Program” for me right now, from Isaiah 40:31:

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Trust in the Lord, and I will run and not grow weary.  He’s been proving that to me week by week, day by day, and second by second.

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Power Boost!

So, starting Week 2 of the Couch 2 5K was a bit tougher than I hoped it would be.  Day 3 of Week 1 almost started to feel good, so I had high hopes.  Let’s just say – it took every bit of willpower I had to get through it yesterday.  Tonight, I feel like I’m coming down with a cold, so Day 2 isn’t looking so great either!

I know that God has called me to do this whole running thing (more on that later).  Philippians 2:13 tells me that God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

So, when the going gets rough, the conventional wisdom would be to “dig deep” and “believe you can do this!”  But my real power will come from Him who has given me the desire to do this and who will give me the power to complete it.

In that light, I’ve found myself quoting His truths to myself during those really tough moments of the run, and I thought others might benefit from these reminders, too.  I’ve found lots of relevant truths, so here are just a few that I will repeat when I need that extra boost to power me through:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

If I trust in the LORD, He will renew my strength. I will soar on wings like eagles; I will run and not grow weary, I will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

Let me run with perseverance the race marked out for me. (Hebrews 12:1)

When I walk, my steps will not be hampered; when I run, I will not stumble. (Proverbs 4:12)

You are a God who gives endurance and encouragement. (Romans 15:5)

Lord,  strengthen me with all power according to your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience. (Colossians 1:11)

I could go on and on, but I will stop there.  Let His power give you strength this week!

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An Inconvenient Truth

So Wednesday was the last day of kids’ choir at our church.  To end the year, the wonderful choir directors plan  party to just let the kids have fun with music and with each other.

For this year, I’ve had a great carpool partner, and for the last few months, she has been taking my daughter to choir after school.  This is very convenient, because our church is across town.  I know that it’s not really THAT far, but at 3:30 when you’re contemplating dinner, homework, and swimming still to come that evening, it seems far.

So, the schedule last week was slightly different, and it caused an hour gap between school and choir.  My carpool partner – very understandably – decided to just have her kids skip the party and come home after school.  She called me and told me she would just bring my daughter home.  I said that was fine – and thought I’d convince her that she didn’t really need to go to her party.

When she got home, she was already a bit upset when she walked in the door.  When I started to mention not going, I immediately had tears.  I was annoyed.  I was in the middle of something “more important.”  (Who knows what it was?)  I didn’t want to drive across town.  I didn’t want to occupy myself on the west side for an hour while she was there, and it’s too far to come back home and go back.  So I went from annoyance to all-too-visible frustration.

And then, I knew.  I was the one who had encouraged her to sing in the choir as a way to worship God.  But more importantly – this was something that was very clearly important to her, even if I didn’t understand exactly why it was such a big deal.  And I love my daughter.  And isn’t that one of the ways we demonstrate love to one another – by making a priority of things that are important to those we dearly love?

So, I stopped my attitude in its tracks, and we jumped in the car.

As we were driving up 231, I felt the check in my spirit from the Father.  “You say you love me.  Do you make a priority of the things that are important to me?”

Over the last couple of months, a recurring theme I’ve been thinking of is that I just don’t serve others very well.  I serve in a “corporate” way at church, but to actually serve a single person…I’m just not very good at that.  To go into a nursing home, or face a homeless person, etc – well, not something I’m eager to do.  I have a thousand excuses – mostly around too many other things to do – and how it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable.  Mostly serving and reaching out to others is something that stays in the “good intentions” area of my life.  I think and talk about doing it – but it never hits the top of the priority list.

Yet, I am called to do it, and it’s greatly important to the Father.  He left us on earth to be His hands and feet to the least of these around us.

Serving Him and those He loves isn’t about what’s convenient – it’s about doing it simply because it’s important to Him.  If we will allow His great love for us to truly fill us, and feel the power of that, we won’t be able to help but make it a priority.

Something I’ve still really got to work on.

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I Am Free!

So, as many of you know, I started the Couch to 5K running plan today. I can’t even begin to explain why I’ve decided to do this. I H-A-T-E to run. Can’t tell you strongly enough how much I hate it.

But, I’m terribly out of shape, and when I ran across this last week, I KNEW that I needed to do this. I need to be in shape to live the life I want to and to feel better about myself. And for whatever reason, this is the way God put in my path.

So I laced up the shoes this morning, turned on the iPod, and started walking. 5 minute brisk walk – sure, I can do that. Except that the very small hill at Armstrong Park made my legs feel it, and I had just started. Yikes.

I counted through the first 7 “run” intervals. Only time I stopped to walk (not that there was any difference in my pace btn the walking and running) was interval 3 when my iPod slipped out of my waistband, through my underwear, and was in danger of going down my leg. Sorry if that’s TMI.

The “Go” signal for run 8 came RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL. Crap. This is not a big hill, mind you, but running for the first time since high school – well, it got the best of me. I walked at least half of it.

I finished the whole workout, and sat down on a bench. I was not feeling great, proud, nothing. Just glad that I have some friends who have agreed to do this with me – because if I didn’t, I don’t know if I would go back. I turned my iPod to my “Gayle” playlist – music from Gayle Roswarski’s funeral – and it started into “The Words I Would Say.” The chorus was encouraging –

Be strong in the Lord
Never give up hope
You’re gonna do great things, I already know

OK – I know, I thought. His power working through me will help me to accomplish this. His great power that raised Christ from the dead is in me. I CAN DO THIS.

I walked to the van. Took a sip of water. And thought “I can’t do this. Why am I doing this? This is crazy. I don’t want to come back in two days and do it again.”

I started up the car, and started driving away…and forgot to put my glasses back on. Remembered when I saw the police car in the parking lot and thought “that looks fuzzy.” I was that out of it.

I turned up the volume on the radio, and immediately, “I am Free” – great song by the Newboys – started. Here are the beginning lyrics of that one:

Through You the blind will see
Through You the mute will sing
Through You the dead will rise

OK, another reminder that the power of the Holy Spirit – which made the blind see, the mute sing, the dead rise, the lame walk – it’s inside of me. If the blind can see, the lazy can surely run.

But then it got to the chorus, and all I could think was “God, you really do have a sense of humor.” For the first 2 lines of the chorus are…

“I Am Free to Run!”

OK I get it, God, and I’ll be back out there on Thursday.

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Running the Race

I never thought I would have a blog, but I have been writing a bit more for myself lately…so why not?

If there’s one thing I’m learning this week, it’s about the power of community…”if one falls, his friend can help him up” (Eccl 4:10).  Boy, am I needing THAT as I embark on doing something I never thought I would do: train to run a 5K.  So, I thought, why not bring a little of that community online to share thoughts about running the race that God has set before us.

Hope you’ll run with me!

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