I am training for my second marathon right now and today I had a long run. A REALLY long run! One of the longest I'll have to do. And I have to say, it sucked!! By mile 12 I wanted to quit.
When I was training the first time my "go-to" verse when things got tough was always Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." But this verse didn't seem to do it for me today.
Today, I wasn't surrounded by a crowd of witnesses. You see, I normally run with at least 1, if not 2 or 3, running partners. But one is nursing an injury and one wasn't feeling well. My newest running partner just started running a week ago! She ran farther today than she ever has AND was still smiling at the end!!! I am so proud of her! That still left a lot of my run to finish alone, without my crowd of witnesses.
Now, it's not that I'm afraid of being myself, I don't fall apart when left alone for an hour or two. I can handle periods of quiet reflection, really I can, honest. It's just that I'm kind of an extrovert. I'm energized by being around other people, not to mention completely entertained by my running partners. So I kind of hate running alone.
Then around mile 13 I realized I had made a horrible mistake... I had saved the hills for the end. This was an intentional decision on my part, the race only has one big hill and it is between miles 21-23, I need to train running hills at the end, when I'm already tired. But 3 steps into the first of two hills I had to run, I became convinced I wasn't going to be able to do it. And I wanted to quit. Have you ever been there? I'm sure you have.
Your at the end of your_______(whatever it might be, you fill in the blank). You're tired, you're running uphill, and you're all alone. And it sucks!!! And you want to quit. What do you do?
The worst part about that first hill, the WORST, was knowing I still had one more hill to go. One more hill when I would be even more tired and still going uphill and still alone. I was in a bad place. I know you've been there too (probably concerning something much more significant than a training run). What do you do when you want to quit?
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
What do you do when you want to quit? You don't. You persevere. You put one foot in front of the other, take a really deep breath and do it again, one foot in front of the other. And you don't quit.
You don't quit. You don't quit the run, you don't quit the marriage, you don't quit the relationship. You persevere.
You don't have to do this alone either. Even when it feels like you are all alone, so alone it hurts, you're not. There is someone you can call out to day or night and he will listen and he will give you comfort, every time. He loves you that much!
I must have said this to myself a hundred times today. It became the cadence that I ran that last mile to...
What do you do when you want to quit? You don't. You persevere.