I have started exercising again, after 3 kids and eating chocolate and freeze’s as a food group, it was time to give up the dream and start getting healthy again. So I have started running and even signed up for some out of my comfort zone races for a specific goal to work towards. As I run, I start thinking (mainly about how much I hate running but sometimes I think about other things) One thing I keep coming back to is how much life can be like a run. I have found so many similarities and thought I should share this in a post, allow me to elaborate on some things I have learned and some parallels I have found.
Hills are horrible, in life and in running. The cool thing is they always look bigger when you first see them, as you get closer they look much more manageable. After you start going up the hill, you realize it may not be as scary as it initially looked, or as you are making your way up it, it doesn’t seem to big when your half way up compared to standing that the bottom.
Never Make a Decision on a Hill
You will never be in the right frame of mind while in pain and agony. On every single hill I run, I decide to quit at the top or half the miles I set out to run, but then once I’m past the hill, I feel good enough to go on. I made this rule with myself: I am never allowed to make decisions on hills. This translates into life; when life is hitting you hard, and the waves just keep on coming, quitting will seem acceptable, don’t give in. Your only goal is to survive it. You are in the no way, shape or form in the right mind frame to make an important decision. Just focus on weathering the storm, and leave decisions once things settle down again.
It hurts, oh I know it hurts. It stretches you beyond what you thought you were capable of. It brings you to a point of exhaustion and pain you didn’t know possible. But there is a point behind it. In running, we know it- to get healthy or to be athletic. In life, its harder to see that purpose, but its there. The pain, the stretching, the exhaustion all is there to make you stronger and able to endure what life throws your way. Don’t forget there is always a purpose behind the suffering.
When it goes up, It usually comes down
The great thing about hills is that there is another side, and its usually down. It gives you a moment to catch your breath, let yourself relax a bit. Now sometimes, this isn’t the case and after the hill, there is ANOTHER hill (I learned this while running yesterday, and I literally couldn’t handle it) Sometimes that happens in life, sometimes you feel like you truly cannot catch a break, before you can even calm down from one discouraging or difficult event, another one comes roaring in. It is super disheartening and hard to cope when that happens! But one thing I can say with pretty good certainty is that it cant last forever, things eventually will come back down, the waves will stop coming so consistently and hard, enduring that as hard as it is, produces things in you that couldn't have grown otherwise.
Focusing on the finish line will make the entire experience miserable. Focusing on each step is so important to end up on that finish line. Each step is a mini-accomplishment towards the end goal. If you are facing something in life that seems impossible and unattainable, switch your focus. Refocus to each day, hour, minute or second…whatever you can need to help you get through.
Look out for the Hershey’s Kisses
I read a funny article once about hiking with children. Each time the kids would start complaining about being tired, one of the parents would run ahead and put a Hershey’s kiss up ahead of them to see. They would get super excited and managed to get themselves to the chocolate, this would go on and on until the hike was done. God uses Hershey’s kisses with us in life. Little pieces of hope, moments of encouragement, people to hold onto and so many more little sometimes overlooked things God places in our path to help us with each step of the journey. In my running its little things like the dog needs to stop to pee in the middle of a hill so I get a rest, or a gush of cold wind comes along at the moment when I wanted to give up.
It can be anything from being sore or lazy to not being able to even get out on the run. Life is the same, there are things that stand in the way of us doing things that can better our lives or souls. The enemy likes to play into this area; adding distraction, discouragement and other tactics he can so that you feel like it is too impossible. And although it may be impossible by the worlds standards, God is a God of defeating the impossible.
When you accomplish something, I don’t care how little it is, Be proud of yourself. It is not a bad thing to acknowledge you did something good! If you literally ran a race like I’m going to, or ran a tough race in life. Don’t forget to encourage yourself and acknowledge when you are overcoming something difficult!