I used to run regularly. And slowly. And awkwardly. And laboriously. No matter- I still ran.
It came with gut-wrenching effort, aches, pains, and a burning in my throat when I gasped for air. I had to push myself through the last quarter inch of whatever distance I’d decided to go.
And I loved it. Not because running came naturally to me or I looked cool doing it; I did not. I loved running because it was hard.
There was deep satisfaction for trying what often felt impossible in the moment. Half way in, raw boldness rose up and carried me forward. When I had no gumption to keep going, something… Kept. Me. Going. When the run was over, I was somehow more than when I’d started. I was weak in my physique but stronger in my spirit; worn in my form, but new in my resolve.
Then one day, I quit.
You might suppose it was the grind of it, or maybe my unwieldy way. But actually, I didn’t mean to quit; it just happened. When I poured myself into the venture you see here now, I believed running could only come after I finished everything else. And since I never finished everything else, I didn’t get around to running anymore.
Instead, I worked. Every. Spare. Minute.
The work has been hard, too. It’s come with gut-wrenching effort, headaches, stabbing fear, and a burning in my gut when I get criticized, rejected, or ignored.
And still, I love it.
I only connected the two- running and writing- because I recently started running again.
A few months ago I realized, “If I’m waiting for things to get easy around here before I do something hard, it’s going to be a long-ass wait.” (And frankly, I was tired of buying bigger clothes or squeezing into my smaller ones.)
And I wonder, “Is there something in your life you are waiting to do? Something hard?”
You hope things will somehow get easier before you tromp up that terrifying hill. But Friend, If you’re waiting for strength and courage to land on you like a delicate butterfly before you begin, make yourself a sandwich. You’re going to be staring at that slope awhile.
Because here’s the irony- it’s the actual tromping that will give you strength and courage. Raw boldness rises up when you begin, putting one foot in front of the other.
You may learn that hard thing is not as hard as you thought. Or maybe it’s way harder and you’ll be amazed at your awesome self for doing what previously felt impossible. Either way, it’s absolutely worth your time and trembling, because you will become more in the process.
More of what? I don’t know exactly. That’s between you and God. But if you know in your heart God is calling you to do that hard thing, you should totally do it.
Yes- it is scary and complicated and you have no guarantee how it will turn out. I understand your concerns and I share them. I don’t know how things will turn out either- not your hard things or mine.
But I do know we have this promise to sustain us as we go.
photo by Ales Krivec