when I started training for a half marathon a few months ago, I said to God that I wanted this to build endurance into my body, into my bones.
Have you ever needed something so bad, or loved someone so much that you needed it/them to be a part of you?
Maybe it was something you read that you were so obsessed with that you wanted it to become your thoughts and your words. Or someone (a child cough cough) that you love so much that you just need to nibble on them because a hug is not going to suffice.
This is where I was at a few months ago.
I needed endurance, and I no longer could have it be a concept, or a far fetched idea. I needed to test it and understand it, and look at it almost as a scientist looking at a test tube would.
Now, fast forward a few months, a lot of hard turns, selling all of our belongings and moving in with friends, fundraising for The Nest, and being in tough spots both personally and organizationally.... I . Am. Tired. I am kind of annoyed that I ever told God this, but I hold on to some simple truths that I have learnt along the way.
When I started running, I could not even run a mile.
Lets be honest here, I couldn't even run a half of a mile.
Tomorrow, I set out to do a 9 mile run. A NINE MILE RUN. I am going to be running for almost 2 hours.
How did I even get there?
By building endurance.
Did you notice on child number one how late night nursing sessions, or trips to the doctor, or teething was much more difficult than with number two? (maybe haha).
Did you notice your first week back to work from your child it felt like 100 years, and all of the tears and then by week four, it was your new normal?
Did you notice in your fifth year of marriage how something that monumentally would have made you ball in the fetal position during year one of your marriage, you called it for what it was and moved on within moments?
I remember when I broke my arm a few years ago, and people were in shock and awe of the fact that I just kept on with my normal life (for the most part-- holler for your meals!) and couldn't believe it. I remember an overwhelming understanding that for me to mother without an arm was one million times easier than me mothering in my first year with my son when I was struggling through PTSD and post partum depression. To have lost ability in my dominant arm temporarily felt way easier than to have my brain missing.
I remember in my first year of running The Nest I wanted to quit nearly every month. It all felt so overwhelming and hard and as we round out year four here in a couple of months, my desire to give up is not nearly as often.
Here's the point. You don't build endurance by not building endurance. You build endurance by having to endure, by having to persevere. You build endurance through struggle. You build endurance through tears. You build endurance through doing hard things. YOU BUILD ENDURANCE.
For me, the only thing I can build upon is my foundation in Jesus. He is the rock, and he is the foundation, and I have learned the secret. I can do all these things through him who gives me strength.
I can only run a marathon because he's given me legs to do so.
I can only run a ministry because he has given me it to steward.
I can only love my family because he has given me a family to love.
In the middle of building endurance. It sucks.
I distinctly remember one time on my way up to 2 miles crying as I ran because I was mad that I had committed to run this race, and was so defeated. I had a cramp and my body hurt, and I was embarrassed at how hard it was for me, how slow I was.
But I finished.
And the next time, I ran further.
AND I BUILT ENDURANCE because I did not give up.
I think the biggest lesson I've recently learnt is that without endurance being built beforehand to run a half marathon, I could go out there and try to run it, but there is no WAY that I would finish it.
The race day is not at all the point.
The point of the race is what is built in between. In the hard moments, in the training moments, in the persevere moments, and how you endured.
When endurance is built into you, you will be able to persevere on race day.
Such is life.
Dear friend, when you feel like giving up. When you want to throw in the towel, remember what is being built into you right now, yes right this very moment even when you do not feel it AT ALL.
You will use this opportunity to persevere.
You will look at this opportunity with hope.
You need this because it tests you, and it strengthens you, and it builds you into the person who will be able to withstand tomorrow what you could have never dreamt of withstanding today.