I think there was always a runner inside me trying to get out. I made several attempts at becoming a runner before I finally succeeded five years ago. Each time I failed because it was harder than I thought and I didn’t have enough patience and perseverance to push through the difficulty.
Even when I did finally push through and make running a part of my life, I didn’t know where it would take me. But I certainly didn’t expect to end up running a marathon. I mean, really, marathons are long and hard and how could I ever do something like that? I was the girl who didn’t participate in any sports or regular exercise until age 29. For me to become someone who would run her first half marathon at age 30 and then a full marathon at age 33 seemed ridiculous. I was just hoping to have enough dedication to run the Bolder Boulder 10K!
A few weeks ago I ran across this quote attributed to Socrates:
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
It’s true that I had no idea what I was physically capable of until I actually decided to lay down my excuses and push myself and try. I won’t ever be an Olympian, but I am so much greater than I originally thought.
How much moreso in matters of faith.
I admit that I also set limits on myself when it comes to my faith. I read stories like the Pauline sisters who established Musana and think, “Wow, I could never do something like that!” Is that true, though? Or am I just holding myself back out of fear, afraid to dream big about the ways that God might use me?
I don’t think that it pleases God to see us live our little lives of safety — middle class existence, going to church and Bible study, helping out in kids ministry but never truly taking obedient leaps of faith into to unknown knowing that we serve a great big God who is more than capable of catching us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about two of my favorite verses lately. The first is from Proverbs 30:
“… give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.”
Obviously this was written in the context of material needs, but I’ve discovered that this concept of ENOUGH is just as true in mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. When I started running I didn’t need the strength and energy to be a marathoner; I only needed the strength for today’s run. Even when I started the marathon, I don’t think I had the mental strength to put in 26 miles — but as each mile marker past I found enough strength for just one more mile, just one more mile, just one more more.
Or when I look at an overwhelming amount of things on my to-do list at work and in despair think, “How will I ever accomplish all of this?” But I pick it apart little by little, bit by bit, and find I have enough time and ability to get it accomplished.
God has always given me enough to meet my needs — physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. And what continues to surprise me is that he doesn’t JUST give me enough. In most cases, he gives me MORE.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work WITHIN US, to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we might ask or think.” –Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis mine)
Just like God didn’t give me only enough strength to just do a 5K, but a 10K, then a half marathon, then a full marathon, he also gives me more in other areas of my life when I need it. Like when looking around in exhaustion at the chaos of kids ministry thinking, “I don’t have the energy and patience and attention to give to all of these children!” but I start with just one for a few minutes and I find I’m energized enough to move to another, and another, and another.
God gives us enough faith to make it through the day to day even when it feels like the world will crush me. But behind that enough, shockingly, there’s more. According to Paul, infinitely more.
So what could God do through me if I stepped out in faith, trusting that he will not only provide enough for me to accomplish what he calls me to, but more?