Why couldn’t I have figured this out sooner? | a season of change

When I was in middle school and high school I HATED P.E. Why? Because I stunk at everything it involved. I couldn’t catch. I couldn’t throw. And I absolutely DETESTED running. All of these things made me feel like a loser. I wanted to go hide behind a bush or something rather than have everyone see how terrible I was at playing basketball or tennis. And never once did I run an entire mile. I’m sure I actually could have done that if I worked on it. But I didn’t want to work on it. I just wanted to walk. So I did. I’d run [most of] a lap and then walk a lap. Every single time. So. Very. Pathetic. I mean, why should I work on it? I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to like it. I wasn’t ENTIRELY lazy. I liked bike riding and hiking and stuff like that, and I really did LOVE walking. But, I was already skinny so… what was the point of pushing myself to do things I didn’t like? (I didn’t really understand the concept of fitness… )

I remember my mom telling me when I was 14 or so that if I wanted to stay thin or actually be fit, someday I’d have to be more disciplined about what I ate and how I exercised. I don’t think I really believed her. But then it happened. At some point in college, I realized that my mom was right. I could no longer just eat pizza and burritos all the time and not exercise, without gaining weight. What a bummer! So, my roommate Rachel and I started getting up early and going for run/walks. There really wasn’t a whole lot of running involved. We’d say, “okay – let’s run from this corner to that stop sign.” Wow. So very impressive. {Note the sarcastic tone in my typing.} We also started going to the gym and I learned what all the machines were for and I started being more careful about what I ate. Controlling what I ate was a lot easier for me than pushing myself in exercising so I focused more on that. At some points, it honestly became an [unhealthy] obsession – trying to stay thin. Part of my problem was that I was focused on the outside. As long as I “looked good,” I didn’t really care about my fitness level. But the more I actually grew up, the more I realized that “looking good” is kind of a dumb goal in life. I altered my goal from “looking good” to being fit. Every once in a while I’d talk to someone about how I could tone up the parts of my body that I didn’t really like (we all have those). They’d always tell me, “Run.” And I always decided it wasn’t worth it (because I DO NOT RUN!) and I’d just stick to the elliptical machine and take whatever it gave me.

But then something happened. I went to the Boston Marathon, two years in a row, as a spectator. It. Was. So. Inspiring! A desire to desire to run started to infect me. Eventually, I decided to start. I still hated it most of the time. But I wanted to love it. I decided to train for a half marathon. A full 26 miles was just craziness! But I decided to do 13. And then I decided to “get realistic” and I talked myself down from running to run/walking (baby steps) and I started training on this plan. At the point of the race you run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. That was good enough for me! Remember. I do not run! Especially not 13 miles. But then I got sick and I couldn’t run for a while. And then life exploded into a crazy busy mess and I never got back on track. So, I didn’t actually make it to the half marathon. But I’ve kept up the run/walking for much of the last couple years. But there’s always continued to be walking involved, and I was more than okay with that.

A few months ago, I decided to start pushing myself more and gradually start JUST running, without intervals of walking. I’ve definitely had to push through a lot of moments of wanting to just stop and walk again but now… I actually kind of LOVE it. Yeah. I am really genuinely actually learning to love to run. Who the HECK am I? The girl who NEVER ran ONE mile in middle/high school/college now runs 2.5 miles a few days a week. And soon, it’ll be 3. Without any walking! In a few weeks, I’m going to run a 5K with a friend (or a few). And I realize that to anyone who is a REAL runner there’s nothing impressive about that. But let’s just be honest, this is kind of incredible for the girl who wrote extra credit reports to get a good grade in P.E. (Yeah. I did.) And this is just the beginning.

And it’s changing, reshaping me – inside and out. And I seriously wonder all the time, “Why couldn’t I have figured this out sooner?” I mean, I’m not saying that it’s always fun. Sometimes, it’s really hard. Sometimes, I want to quit in a very serious way. But then I remember that I don’t actually want to quit. I just FEEL like I do.

And the coolest part is that it’s kind of a tangible expression of a season of change in my life. I’m on this journey in which God is reshaping my lifewhat I desire, how I see, and how I live. Everything in this story could easily be said in my spiritual life too. So much of my life I have looked too much at “looking good” and fixing this or that, and not focused enough on actually genuinely being fit – filled with the LIFE of Jesus. And just like running, sometimes, the changing is hard and I want to quit. But then I remember that I don’t actually want to quit. I want to get where I’m going. But I have to keep going through the hard stuff if I’m ever going to get there.

Soon, it will be the last year of my 20s. And I’m kind of excited about that. I’m definitely not upset. I’m also pretty intent on making it a seriously great year. I think I’m going to try to actually train for and run a half marathon. (13 miles – Running. Not run/walking.) And I think this year, God is going to do a lot of reshaping in me.

I guess the morals of the story are:

1. Anyone can run. If I can, anyone can. You just have to want to want to.
2. The hardest changes, the ones you most resist – are often the BEST possible things you could do!


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