5 Spiritual Lessons from a 4-Mile Run

Maybe it’s okay to take things day by day, hour by hour, stride by stride.

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Posted in Mar 14, 2017

5 things God taught me about running a race.

Two weeks ago I experienced something kinda miraculous…I ran four miles in a race around Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Now, for some people, that probably sounds about as challenging as chewing a particularly chewy jelly bean. But, for me, it was a pretty big deal. You see, I’m not the most coordinated person. I’m not very athletic (unless you count sales-rack shopping as a sport!). I’ve never run more than two miles. I have an illness that sometimes makes my legs feel iffy. And I don’t particularly like running!

The experience was very unusual, but pretty spiritual too. Here are a few of the lessons I took away from my miraculous four-mile run of 2017:

1.  We are capable of crazy-amazing things!
I signed up for the race in January as a way to challenge myself. The closer it got, the more nervous I got. How was I going to run four miles? I’d attempted to run at the gym in preparation, but hadn’t gotten very far. I thought about quitting the race. Unfortunately, my friend Connie and her boyfriend had signed up for it too, so I was stuck.

The morning of the race, I got on my knees and begged God not to let me make a fool of myself. I pictured myself walking alone on the side of the park, as hundreds of Herculean runners zoomed by. I never thought I’d be able to run one mile, let alone four. Luckily, God has plans for us that are bigger than we can imagine!

2.  Not seeing the full picture can be a good thing.
When the race began and everyone took off, the road seemed so very long and the end so very far away. Just try to run the first mile, I told myself. Halfway through mile one, I hit a bit of a hill and felt like my life was basically over. But I was determined to get to that mile one marker. By the time I did, I felt good enough to attempt a little bit more. Just one more mile, I thought again and again. Somehow, when I did that, the race no longer felt so overwhelming. Maybe God doesn’t want us to over think so much or plan our futures 15 years in advance. Maybe it’s okay to take things day by day, hour by hour, stride by side. To live in the moment and see what’s waiting at the next mile. 

3.  It’s okay to take a break.
We’re capable of incredible things, but it’s okay to know your limits. At mile four, I reached a point where I was feeling kind of delirious. I pushed on for as long as I could and then slowed down to a walk. At first, I was a bit bummed I’d had to take a rest, like I’d failed somehow. Until it hit me: I’m on the fourth mile! I didn’t think I’d even make it through one mile! This is crazy! Taking a break didn’t make the experience any less incredible. I walked for about a minute, recharged and then started running again.

Read More: Running on Faith

4.  We’re not really alone.
I wasn’t the fastest runner in that race. To my surprise, though, there were plenty of people running or walking alongside me the entire time. That was an important visual reminder to me. Often in life it can feel like you’re all alone, like everyone’s at the finish line and you’re the last one struggling at the very back. But we’re never really alone.

5.  God works through those around you.
Around mile four, something pretty incredible happened. My legs felt like putty. I was moving like a tortoise. People who’d already completed the race were walking back on the other side of the road in the opposite direction. In the stream of people I spotted a familiar face. An old coworker of mine! I waved at her. She ran over to me and started running alongside me. “You’re almost done!” she said. “The finish line is just around the corner. You’ve got this!” We continued like that for a bit before saying goodbye. It was a quick encounter, but just the extra push I needed to finish. 

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