I’ve never been much of a runner. I do it occasionally, but it has never really captured me.
Writing has. My whole life, I’ve enjoyed it. I did fairly well in my writing courses in high school and college (when I decided to try, that is) and the ability to express myself “on paper” has served me well in both my personal and professional life.
A few years ago, I started this blog. I had no idea what I was doing and I’ve been writing here in fits and spurts, going around and around about whether or not this was actually what I wanted and WAS CALLED TO be doing with my time.
A couple of months ago, I decided to stop messing around and get serious. I don’t know if it was God finally releasing me or me finally releasing myself, but I finally decided to stop casually dating writing on the sly and stand up in front of my friends and family and IN THE SIGHT OF GOD make a commitment to it.
So I did. And the journey began. And I was in no way prepared for how hard it would be.
And it’s not even the writing that’s the hard part. Nope, it’s all the other sh…STUFF that comes up and makes me want to spend some days hiding in my closet with a blankie, tea, and my Bible.
If you want to avoid dealing with your own issues, do NOT become a writer. Or do anything else brave and stretchy. Because your sh…STUFF is going to come up and you’re going to have to deal with it.
Like I said, I’ve never been much of a runner- power walking is more my jam (and I do love to power walk). But I have friends who are BFF’s with running and when they talk about stepping up their game from casual morning jaunts to something like a marathon or a Ragnar relay, they describe experiencing something similar to what I’m discovering while becoming a writer.
Moving from casual running to training for longer distances means that little things are going to have a bigger impact. That ankle that starts bugging you toward the end of the third mile of your Saturday morning 5k? That’s gonna be a much bigger deal when you’ve got 23.2 more miles left to go. Having trouble sleeping at night? That fatigue is a huge issue when you’re running the distances required to train for a marathon. And you’re definitely going to have to start fueling your body better, those empty calories are no longer going to cut it.
When we stay in the shallow end of the pool, stick to quick morning jogs, or write casually for funsies, we can get by with our brokenness. Those little things that fester just below the surface can stay under the radar and for the most part, we can pretend they’re not there. But when we do the BIG and the BRAVE and the DIFFICULT, when we stretch ourselves and reach for bigger and greater things, all of a sudden those things rear their ugly heads and REQUIRE that we deal with them, otherwise they’re going to stop us dead in our tracks.
That ankle? For me that’s the comparison trap, I’m terrible about comparing myself to other people (and I ALWAYS end up finding myself lacking). The sleep issues? That’s self-criticism. I can be SUPER hard on myself and when it comes to writing, that can be absolutely crippling. The diet and empty calories? That’s me needing to be careful about how I spend my time, energy, and attention. If it doesn’t build me up, nourish me, and make me stronger, it’s gots ta go. Buh-bye.
And it’s hard work. Hard, HARD work. And often times, it’s painful and unpleasant. and it can take a long time, much longer than we would like.
But you know what? It’s good. And it’s important. And it’s even holy and sacred. We are stronger- MUCH stronger- for having dealt with that ankle and battled back against the comparison trap.
And for me, it’s all underscored by a pressing, frantic, desperate NEED! FOR! GOD! The One who created me, redeems me, loves me unconditionally, knit me together in the womb, knows my every anxious thought, The One from whom NOTHING is hidden- even the things I’ve been trying to hide from myself. Anything that deepens my need for Him, causes me to seek Him, allows Him to reveal more of Himself, His nature, and His truth to me is never a bad thing.
Like an aspiring marathoner, I have goals. Mine isn’t a finish line with a time attached, mine looks more like a book, maybe, and definitely the chance to write and speak to women and moms about our worth, our identity, our strength, and the need to FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES against the lies that Satan tries to sell us. I’m working every day toward those goals.
But even if I meet my own personal Heartbreak Hill in mile 20 of my race and don’t cross the finish line, I will be so much stronger and better for having done the work. Guts, grit, and grace are refining me, drawing me nearer to God- and it’s worth it. It’s worth every single time I curl up under the blankets and cry, “I CAN’T DO THIS!” and then do it anyway. It’s worth every time I blast “Not Today, Satan” by KB in my headphones to shout down the lies. It’s worth fixing this bum ankle and getting my daily nutrition right.
If you can relate to this post, then let me know. Because I want to be praying for you and cheering for you. Praising God and you for the courage you have to take your marathon journey, to do the brave and stretchy thing- the thing that brings up all your sh…stuff and makes you deal with it.
You are a warrior. I am a warrior. And goshdarnit, I AM a Writer.