On January 15, 2012, I completed my first marathon. This is the first blog in a series I’ll be writing that breaks down the 8 important lessons I learned on my journey to the finish line.
Let me begin by setting the scene. I am 5 feet 11 inches tall and weigh 215 pounds. Most of my strength is in my upper body, and I’ve had minor surgeries on each of my knees in the past few years. In no way do I have what most would call a typical “runner’s body”.
On top of this, I am not a crazy runner guy. I don’t attend a weekly runners’ club. I don’t subscribe to Runner’s World magazine, and I don’t own a single pair of short running shorts (And believe me, this is a good thing). So why bother even trying to run 26.2 miles? Because I believe that as human beings, we are capable of more than we think.
Too often in life, we sell ourselves short. When I told people I was training for a marathon, do you know what was the #1 response I got? “Good for you! I could never do that, but that’s awesome. Good luck!” You could never do that? Seriously? Why not?
What happens for many of us is that we see certain challenges, like running a marathon, and automatically write ourselves off. Most of the time we make excuses that we are too busy or that the challenge just isn’t for us. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, we make excuses because we are afraid. We have an internal dialogue that goes something like this:
Should I run a marathon? I don’t know. It’d be a great challenge, but what if I get hurt? What if I don’t finish? What would people say? I would be a failure, and I can’t have people thinking that, so it’s better not to even try.
You know how I know? I had that internal dialogue for years. I’d think about taking on a challenge like running a marathon only to let fear take over by falling into the same old excuses that kept me sitting in a land of mediocrity. But besides holding us back, do you know what the biggest problem is with excuses? They limit Christ living inside of us.
It says in Philippians 4:13, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” Do we, as Christians, really believe this? Or do we believe our own version: “I have the strength for anything I am not afraid of and can fit into my busy schedule”?
There’s No Such Thing as “Can’t”
I am married with my first child on the way. I work full-time here at Life Teen and had 7 different weekend trips out of town during the course of my 18-week training regime. In other words, I’m busy. But to be honest, I had more time than I thought. Excuses were no longer good enough. It was time to put fear aside.
And you know what was most amazing? On Sunday morning, January 15, 2012, when I got to the start line, do you know what I saw? Several thousand other people just like me. People of all ages, sizes, and body types were out there to see if they had what it takes. And, after a grueling 5 hours, 6 minutes, and 44 seconds, I crossed the finish line. I had what it took, and you do too.
I’m not saying that running a marathon is for everyone, but we all have “marathons” in our lives, and it’s time we put fear and excuses aside.
God is calling you. He is inside of you, and He wants big things of you. It’s time to stop selling yourself short. It’s time to stop putting limits on the Holy Spirit. You are capable of more than you think.