Walking through difficult seasons is often the catalyst we need to see what we are truly capable of. We hate them when we are struggling through the pain, but as the season progresses, we truly begin to see progress in ourselves, and we can better appreciate the process.
I never wanted to go through this season, but God has used it to show me that I can endure and persevere. And one way He has shown me that is through physical endurance.
I used to hate running. I hated cardio of any kind. I never saw results, I was always in pain, and I could never keep pace with my husband. Every time I would run felt like a constant reminder that I wasn’t good enough. And with that refrain beating in my head, I never would be.
Until running became a relief.
If you had asked me over a year ago if I would run a half marathon, I would have laughed at you and said, flat out, “no.” I would have said my body isn’t capable. I would have told you I’m not even supposed to run because of my knee (which us true). I would have said I’m not that good. But I’ve completed one. And I’m about to do another.
I may be crazy. But I’m only half crazy.
I know which part of the run is the hardest for me (the first 3 miles). I know how to get through that. I know what music to play to get me in the right mindset. I know what to do when my body feels like it’s going to give out. I know what to say to myself when my depression wants to tell me I won’t make it. I know the pace I am comfortable keeping. I know how to breathe. I know how to focus. I know myself. But I only know all of that through practice. I only know all of that because…well, I’ve done it.
And that’s life. When we first encounter our hard season, we think there is no way we can make it through. But as we practice faithful endurance, we realize that we can make it. We may still be in the hard part of the race, we may not be able to see the finish line yet, but we know that if we keep our pace, we will finish. And sometimes finishing is the best goal to have.
As I prepare for this run, I am abundantly thankful for what my body is capable of. I am thankful my knee has not gotten worse—and, frankly, I’m thankful for ibuprofen. I’m thankful for the shape I am in. I’m thankful for my family that comes to support me, even though it means waiting on the sidelines for an hour just to see a glimpse of me only to wait again for me to finish. I’m thankful for the day I found running and the relief it has given me for my mental health. But I am most thankful for my growth. I am thankful God has used physical fitness as a way to calm my mind to make more space for Him. I am thankful for how it has changed me.
Running has helped immensely with my mental health, and every time I run, I run for that. I run for the woman I was, the woman I am, and the woman I am becoming.