My best friend’s mom is an ultra-marathoner. She has completed long distance races of all kinds, including the 100 mile run in 24 hours. 100 miles. She has been my inspiration for a long time. In 2013 I drove to TX to watch her compete in the Ironman TX triathlon, an event she had trained long and hard for. The full Ironman begins with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishes up with a full marathon. We tracked her through the race, went out to cheer her on and met her at the finish line. Watching her cross the finish line was one of the most inspiring things I had ever seen.
For the next few days I kept thinking about the dedication and hard work of the athletes that completed the Ironman. I wanted to work that hard at something. I wanted to be as strong and dedicated as they were. After the drive home I went to the gym to get a workout in. I started with a jog on the treadmill, which, at that time, was really more of a brisk walk because I couldn’t run to save my life. While “running” I began thinking about those athletes at the Ironman, all athletes really, and what incredible things they could do physically. I began thinking of Olympians, their strong bodies and what they were capable of doing athletically. Then I began thinking about God.
It’s no surprise that out of millions of exceptional athletes around the world, some may be believers in Christ and some may not. Those that are not are certainly not lesser athletes. In fact, I’m sure there are a great deal of them who are among the very, very top in the world. God designed our bodies to do such incredible things. But I began thinking about what would be possible if we surrendered our athletic training to God. Heck, I’m sure most Christians probably don’t even do that. When we train we are typically in go, go, go mode, we don’t always stop to pray or hand our runs over to the Lord. I’m guilty of the quick, pre-competition prayer of “please God just let me win this.” But what if we really stopped and surrendered our training to God far before the competition ever begins, and continued to lean on Him through every workout? I pondered this thought while running on the treadmill. “What if I asked the God who created the Heavens and the Earth to help me with my training? What if I asked Him to help me become a runner? What could happen?” I’ll admit it sounds like a selfish thought, but God cares about every detail of our lives. Why wouldn’t He care about this?
I’ll take a moment to tell you that I’ve always been an athlete, but never a runner. I just always had thought runners were a different breed; something that I wasn’t cut out for. For some reason that always bugged me. I wanted to be a runner. It looked fun! But I couldn’t run to save my life! Then and there I said a prayer on the treadmill. “God, this may sound silly, but I really want to be able to run. People know how horrible I am at running. Help me become good at it! Let me show the world what is possible with prayer. If there are Olympians who can run 4 minute miles, surely with Your help I can at least finish running a mile. A MILE. Just one. Ok, maybe two. Ok, maybe a lot.”
Might sound silly, but that became my mission…my driving force. That thought, “let me show people what is possible with You” carried me through my first marathon and continues to carry me to each finish line. We as human beings are capable of a lot; but we, as believers in Christ, are capable of so much more.