Currently, I am working on getting a little bit faster. I have been stagnant in my pace for too long. While there is a part of me that doesn't mind that pace because, hey, I'm out there running, there is another side of me that wants to be better. To grow stronger. To run faster. And so right now, I am working on all of those things. I am not obsessed with them, but I am diligently pursuing those goals. I don't talk about them too often with many around me. This is my place to do that, I suppose. But, regardless of who I'm speaking to about the goal or not, I know I am diligently doing all I can to implement results.
The same is true in my spiritual journey. After going to Colombia, with it being such a life-changing experience, I don't want to remain stagnant. That was a time where God really spoke volumes to my soul and it would be a shame if I didn't carry those differences into my every day life. But, like not remaining stagnant in my running, it takes work not to just go back to all the old normal ways. It takes work to keep growing.
My Colombian journey took me to new places spiritually and emotionally, but putting those into practice every day is more of a challenge. I found peace and healing in my heart when I was there. I heard God's voice in all new ways. I saw His hand in my life through incredible answers to prayer. But, it's easier to hear and see all of that without the distractions of TV, internet, text messages, FaceBook. It's also easier because in that environment, gratitude cannot help but be the attitude of the heart. When you experience living amongst people who have nothing, that puts life into perspective. But being back in the States, it's easy enough to fall right back into the trap of "things." Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we can't have things. I am only saying that I gained a fresh perspective and don't want to lose that.
I also found joy in who God has created me when I was there. Here, it is more difficult to hold onto that, with the comparisons and the words that swirl around my every day environment. But having a glimpse of that internal peace, being content in who He has made me, sticks in my brain and heart. And though it is work to hold onto it, I remember it (and write about it so that I can remember it) and I work hard to embrace it.
Yesterday on my long run of 8 miles (as I am preparing for another half marathon on May 15) I was thinking about this, even as I was pushing myself physically. I wanted to obtain a certain time in my running. But while I was thinking even about pushing myself a little harder physically, I was thinking about the word overcomer- in both a spiritual and a physical sense. I was breathing a little harder, pushing through the mental obstacles of wanting to walk. I was thinking about conversations I'd had through the week- both ones that held hurtful words as well as the flip side with positive words- in regards to my physical goals/self. It's amazing what words can do to play into the outcomes. A few high fives and positive words of "you can do it!" carry the spirit far. But the negative words have the same effect of knocking me down and wanting to quit.
My obstacles are not seen to others. They are mostly in my mind. The battle of depression and anxiety. But in my run yesterday, I thought about how God has created me to be an overcomer. Not on my own strength but through His. As I kept pushing through the miles, working to become a little faster, so I do the same in the spiritual obstacles. I hold onto what I have learned and keep pressing forward to grow more. Some days I want to quit- on both fronts- but as I get knocked to the ground, I keep getting back up. Because I caught of glimpse of myself through His eyes when I was in Colombia, and that did not include quitting.
I have had a song stuck in my head for a week now, which goes along with this theme. There are many songs out there which describe one as being a fighter. I have several on my running playlist. I had a friend send me one this week which she said adequately describes me. But the one playing over and over is one I want to share today. It's called Overcomer, and it's by Mandisa. I recently added it to my playlist as well. Yesterday as I was going towards the last quarter mile of my run, it blared through the headphones. I found that appropriate, helping me finish the run strong.
Anyone can take running and spirituality and compare them as two similar aspects of life. For me, right now, the word to be used with both is OVERCOMER. I will stay and fight till the final round. In my running and races, but more importantly, in my faith. One day at a time.