Monday, October 21, 2013

Running Forward

I can hardly believe that October is nearly over. The large trees on my campus have taken on brilliant hues of burgundy and orange and gold. Each morning greets me with a slight frost, and the scent of winter lingers in the air. Seasonal coffee beverages are trendy as ever, and pumpkins are everywhere. 

It sounds lovely, right?

But somehow I am still lost in summer. I am clinging to the rays of warm sunshine and the lazy afternoons. Without me quite realizing it, 
time has gotten away from me.

I am already at midterms. 
And I am already nearly done with my junior season of cross-country.

While I feel satisfied with my work so far academically, 
it is the near end of my cross-country season that worries me.

The thing is, I do not feel like I have accomplished much of anything yet. I have had some great practices. I have run up to sixteen miles in a day. I have developed speed on the track. I have gotten stronger in the weight room. I have even had some decent races. And yet, I have yet to accomplish a single race goal I have set this season. 
And I don’t feel like I have had much opportunity to do it.

Perhaps that is why I treasure cross-country season so much.
 Compared to track, it is incredibly short.

This upcoming weekend is our conference meet. 
It is the first 6k I will have ever run competitively, 
but I am told that the extra 1000 meters makes little difference. 
I am a 10k runner on the track, so I am not too worried about the distance.

We ran our last 5k this past weekend, and I think it was a good way to finish up the regular season. Almost everyone on my team ran their lifetime best times… and though I didn’t quite do that, 
I came the closest I have come to 
my freshman year PRs that I have in two years.

I have such high expectations for myself and know that I am capable of blowing those times out of the water… but the reality is, I have to take one step at a time. I have to be happy with myself for running a season best time and finally dropping down into my freshman year times.
 So I am going to take the positives and move straight ahead to conference.

For those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about or know my running journey, it is pretty well documented on this blog. 
I am not interested in the past right now, however. 
I am interested in moving forward.

I am stronger and fit than I have ever been. I have put in miles and miles of summer training. I have iced and stretched and went to bed early when everyone else was out having fun. I have dedicated so much to this sport, but none of that matters if I don’t perform on race day. So what’s holding me back?

This weekend, I plan on breaking out of the weird slump that I have been in the past two years. I feel like I did a pretty good job this last Saturday,
 but I know that there is more I can dig out. 

Regardless, however, I refuse to allow negative emotions to dictate my attitude or my running. I am grateful for what I have been able to accomplish this season. I am grateful for being healthy. I am grateful for the progress I have made. And I am grateful that I even get the opportunity to compete. 
I am so blessed, and I am so excited to see what's in store. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beautiful Simplicity

There's a song I have been listening to on repeat for weeks now. 

It goes like this: 

You've brought me to the end of myself, 
                          And this has been the longest road, 
Just when my hallelujah was tired, 
You gave me a new song
I'm letting go... falling into You. 

These beautiful lyrics pretty much sum up my life as of recently. 

It is not that life has been bad or distressing or anything like that... 

In fact, I am the most content and the happiest that I have been in a long time. I love my school, I love my friends. I feel so incredibly blessed to be where I am, but I also have so many wonderful dreams for the future. I am thoroughly enjoying this season of life (as busy as it may be). 
Simply put, I am just having FUN. 

But in the midst of all of the fun, I am still faced with trials and growing pains. I am learning so much about myself every day, 
and I know that God is working in me. 
Sometimes, however, in the light of my many struggles, 
I cannot help but feel like a failure. 

I almost always feel like a fail at running. 
Whenever I fail to put God first in life, I feel like I failed Him. 
Whenever  I don't have a good attitude, 
I feel like I fail to be a good example of joy. 

What's more, I have been incredibly philosophical lately. I have been questioning everything, and I have felt a level of uncertainty regarding God and His character. Don't get me wrong... I know that God is loving and powerful. I have a relationship with Him, so it is not as if I feel like I don't know Him at all. It's just that there are so many things that we cannot understand about God, and this has led me to a great deal of frustration. I want to know. I want to know the truth. And I don't always feel like I can represent my faith well to other people if I don't know all the answers for myself. 
It has honestly been somewhat of a struggle to keep my head above water. 

The other day, however, as I was driving around doing errands, I had such a simple and wonderful revelation of God's simplicity. It came without me expecting it. A wave of love and joy flooded my car, and all of a sudden I felt like I understood everything. Like I knew the secret to the universe. 

God is love
That word can sum up every aspect of His character and every part of His mission for us on earth. 
I may not not fully understand Him,
 but  I do not need to in order to love people. 
That is all He wants me to do. 

What's more, it really doesn't matter that I cannot fully understand Him... if I could, He wouldn't be God. Sometimes we just need to quit asking questions and LET GO.

 Whether you can relate to me or not regarding this issue, I am blown away by the beautiful simplicity of God's love and had to share it here. 
For someone who notoriously over-complicates everything, the simple love of God is incredibly refreshing. 

I plan on starting to blog a lot more again. I miss it. I miss sharing my thoughts and revelations about God. Whether people read these posts are not, it is therapeutic for me. 
It is a running diary, and it is nice to look back on my past and how far I have come. 
In my next post I will play catch up with running and school. 

For today, however, I am just going to soak in God's love.