Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Running to Hope

I recently started a rigorous work out routine and today was a long distance run.  I knew that I had to pace myself, but my pacing was off and I found myself walking sooner than I wanted to.  So I made myself a promise – I would walk to the end of the song I was listening to and then I would run hard for the entire next song.

What Did I Get Myself Into:
The moment of horror came when the next song came on and I remembered it was a 15 minute song.  This was totally unfair.  I had only walked for about 2 minutes and now I had to run hard for 15 minutes.  But, I had made myself a deal and sometimes commitments aren’t exactly what you expect, but you still have to go for it.  So, here we go.

I Can’t Do It... Or Maybe I Can:
About 7 minutes in, my mind was telling me to stop.  Why should I keep going?  This was so unfair.  I took one walking step and I said to myself, “What are you doing?  Why are you walking?   Your true character is shown when no one else is watching and you made a commitment.  GO!”  And before I could take one more walking step, I found myself running again.

The Constant Torture:
The next 8 minutes were torture.  Absolute torture.  My calves were stabbing me with every stride.  My lungs were screaming, begging me to stop.  My heart worked as hard as it could to get blood to my arms, but my fingers would tingle every now and then.

But every time I would want to stop and walk, I would think about the benefit of hardship because suffering leads to perseverance which strengthens my character which leads me to hope; hope that I can do better next time, hope that I can make it through things I don’t think I can do, hope that there is something bigger out there that will move me forward.

This Is Just A Firedrill:
When it got so bad that I couldn’t think about anything except giving up, I would remind myself this is just a fire drill for the true commitments in life.  I was proving to myself when the real emergencies came - like giving up on my dreams, or giving up on a fast, or giving up on a marriage someday - I would know that I could do it because I did this.  And I would repeat again and again, “suffering to perseverance to character to hope...  suffering to perseverance to character to hope...”

The Surprise At The End:
Finally the song faded and on the downbeat of the next song I allowed myself to walk.  My legs pulsing with pain, the blood running through my legs trying to repairs the muscles that I had just tortured.  I pulled out my iPod to see exactly how long the song was and to my surprise, the song was actually 22 minutes long.  No wonder it seemed like the longest 8 minutes ever.  I had actually run hard for 15 more minutes.  Instead of pulling out my iPod over and over checking the time, I had focused on building my character and trusting what I knew to be true.  And thus, I found that I could do more than I could imagine just by putting my focus in the right place.