Sigh.
We’ll see how this goes.
Things like this never come out how I want them to; I write in my head before I can actually get to the computer, but I can never quite execute it in quite the same way. Like tonight. Tonight I went for a run, and then I stopped. I stopped, and I thought, and I started writing in my head. And now, I can’t remember exactly how that went. I suppose that’s alright, though, and that I ought to stop being so pessimistic. One of the things that I do enjoy about writing is being random and sporadic, and just writing what comes to mind at that moment. I’m not out to write a novel or anything. I’m a pretty simple person. Ha- wait. Did I actually just say that? Think that? Well, I guess in some ways I am, but that is an entirely different subject. I feel as though these things are hard to follow because they usually have no direction. But, I’m not aiming to write anything cohesive, with any particular underlying theme and why am I still rambling? This is so not even the reason behind this post. I’ll stop and get on with it–after I tell you that I’ve attempted to write things like this before, and they don’t come out how I expect them to, so I give up. Being a perfectionist has kept me from doing things that I fear I won’t excel at (I’ve already gone back and read this post until this point, and was frustrated with how bland and unexcited it sounds). Like the time in 8th grade when I didn’t run the Turkey Trot, because I won the year before, and I was afraid I would lose that year. I said I didn’t feel well, which was true, but I still could have run.
One Friday, a Friday that happened to be quite possibly the hottest day of the summer yet up until that point, I went for a run at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Why? I don’t know. There’s part of me that enjoys that blistering midday heat, but usually while I’m in the midst of it I’m thinking, “What in the world was I thinking? Why did I do this to myself?” Mind you, I hadn’t run in quitea while prior to this, so add not being in tip top shape to that hot July sun, and it did not make for a pleasant time. I was listening to my iPod, which meant that my pace usually changed as the songs did, which also meant that I started out faster than I probably should have. I couldn’t keep that pace the whole time. In fact, by the time I got to Nook Road (the road I usually turn onto before turning onto the road my street is off of, which is that “so close, yet so far away” point), I was shuffling so pathetically that somebody just walking down that street could have passed me with ease. But I was determined. Even if I was going slower than walking pace, I would not stop and walk, because that would mean giving up. I would not give up. It’s a good thing nobody was walking down that street, because they probably would have thought I was a lunatic. I prayed. Out loud. I talked to God, and to myself. I likened that run to a battle–one that I would not lose. And I shuffled along, asking God to give me victory. That was a day to learn a lesson in perseverance. Life gets tough, and just like I’m going to stick out this run, I’m going to stick out those tough times when they come. I’m going to persevere. With God running behind me, beside me, holding me up and pushing me along, I will be victorious. And as I turned onto South Street, that pathetic shuffle transformed into a full-on sprint; the people at the nursing home beside my neighborhood were probably thinking, “Why is this girl frantically sprinting down the street?” But I didn’t care what they thought; I didn’t care what anyone thought at that moment. I went faster and faster, pushing harder and harder until I reached the end of my street. I would not settle for less than giving my best; I would only be satisfied knowing every step was taken with every effort to go harder, faster, stronger. I crossed over into Mayflower Village and doubled over. Victory. At that moment, I wanted to throw up. I thought, “This was so stupid to do this to myself– to run at 2 in the afternoon, and push myself that hard after not having run in a while.” But it was so worth it. I needed that run. I needed to learn that lesson.

That’s one of the things I love about running. Tonight, I learned a different lesson. It had been over a week since I ran, for various reasons, or excuses. I knew tonight’s run wasn’t going to be like the one I just described. In fact, I left my iPod at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to run at a faster pace than I would be able to keep. It was humid. Humidity+running+asthma= not a good combination. My body felt good, and I wanted to keep up a pretty good pace, but my lungs wouldn’t allow it. Frustration. Iran staggered through Stephen’s Field, with the same determination not to stop and walk. As I turned out of there and onto Sandwich Street, I was pleasantly surprised to find that stagger slowly accelerate to more of a brisk bounce. I was even more pleasantly surprised to find a former fellow Plymouth North cross country team member running across the street from me. I called out, “Kacey!” She looked over, surprised to see me, too, and ran across to join me. We ran together for a bit, and instead of turning down Nook Road like I usually do, I kept going with her for a little longer. She was going considerably faster than I was, so it was a bit of a challenge to keep up with her. I was thankful for it, though. She continued on her way towards the beach, and I turned up Obery Street to head back home. Shortly after we departed, my pace slowed rapidly to an upright crawl. Remember that slower-than-walking pace I was talking about before? Yep–that again. Once I got up the hill the pace picked up a little bit, and I turned to cut through Plymouth North as a shortcut. When I got to the front parking lot, I looked straight ahead to see the sunset over the bottom of the hill down below. I thought to myself, “If I keep running, I won’t really get to soak in all of this beauty.” But that determination not to stop retorted back with, “Oh, well, I’ll just keep going.” But I continued to think about it, and stopped. And I was okay with that. I had already run longer than I had anticipated, and it’s not like I was falling short of some expectation or goal I had set for myself. I stopped, walked, and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset. And I was reminded that I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I don’t have to finish every run at the speed of lightning. I don’t even have to get mad at myself for using cliches when I write. Haha. I don’t have to feel bad that I was struggling to keep up with Kacey, when I haven’t been running consistently, and she’s been training for an upcoming season of college cross country. Instead, I looked at my watch and thought, “43 minutes? That’s not bad for not having run for over a week, and not running consistently before then.”

Tonight, I was reminded again of why I love running. And learned another valuable lesson. Nobody else expects me to be perfect. Not even God. That’s why He sent His Son to die for me. He knew I could never keep the whole Law on my own. He knew, that without sending His Son, I and the rest of humanity would be destined for Hell with no hope of salvation. Even Paul gladly boasted in his own weaknesses. And I should do the same. Like I said, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. But He does expect me to come to Him with my weaknesses, because in them His strength is made perfect. I am weak, but He is strong.

Tonight, I rejoiced over not being perfect, and reveled in the freedom of knowing I don’t have to be.

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