I received an email yesterday from the race director of the Silverman Ironman. I was excited because the race is less than a month away and this packet included all the specific details I needed to help make race day less confusing. I quickly jumped into it. My heart raced faster as I thought about race day. The excitement exploded from within. I could sense the emotion of the swim start as thousands of people plunge into Lake Las Vegas. I felt the challenging climbs on the 56 mile bike course and the grueling 13.1 mile run where I will have to will myself to take each step. Then I vividly pictured what the finish line will feel like. It was a brief moment filled with unspeakable emotion.
I got through the general and course information and then I hit the “rules” section. I usually don’t read through this section because the rules don’t usually change. For some reason, I decided to glance through them. I made my way through the swim and bike rules. Then I stumbled across one of the rules for the run that first made me laugh. Then it made me think.
“The only forms of forward progress allowed on the run will be walking, running, or crawling.”
Crawling. That made me laugh. Not a “ha – ha”, grab your side, type of laugh. But one of those nervous laughs where you are not sure what to do with the different thoughts racing through your mind. Can you imagine personally coming to the point where you had to crawl just to try to finish the race? Most people would say if you have to crawl, then bow out of the race gracefully. You can always race another day. On the flip side think about the commitment and determination one would have to have deep within to be willing to crawl – for any distance – through any amount of humiliation – with the overwhelming resolve to finish.
Then this thought hit me.
It is easy to deepen in your relationship with God when you are running. When you feel good. When the proverbial “weather” is sunny and no wind. No storms raging. Not injuries. No setbacks. No obstacles. Everything is going your way and so your spiritual life is hitting it’s stride. Now it’s a lot more difficult when life forces you to walk. You are busy because you have overcommitted your life. You are tired, stressed, overworked, and family obligations consume any free time. You feel like you are in a desert wandering season. So you wander. Step by step, you walk. Either way, it has slowed you down. You seek God. You love God. You desire a relationship with him. You keep moving towards Him. But it is slow and arduous.
But what happens when life gets really difficult. When a prayer goes unanswered. When the weight of your addiction is suffocating. When you get fired unjustifiably. When you loose everything. It is easy to give up. To quit. To wave the white flag. Something happens when you crawl. First, you have to focus on the fact that you are still moving towards God. That is extremely important. Second. something happens when you are humbled enough to have to crawl on your knees. In those moments God can do amazing things within you, if you let Him.
\\: Where are you at Spiritually?
RUNNING: What are you going to do to stay injury free and keep running? How do you keep your commitment to God deepening?
WALKING: What do you need to do to heal the areas that have slowed you down to a walk? How do you need to re-prioritize your life so that you can run again.
CRAWLING: Whatever you do, don’t quit! Keep crawling. Crawl into the arms of God. He will comfort. He will heal. He will bring joy in the midst of pain. Then one day, you will find yourself running again. The lessons you learn from crawling will,if you let them, change you forever.
What specifically do you do to move out of the crawling and walking seasons?
What do you do to keep at a running pace?