Saturday, December 7, 2013

Post-[What Would Have Been My First]-Marathon Reflections

On Wednesday afternoon, I went out for a slow, four-mile run down Swiss Avenue, enjoying the beautiful 79 degree weather. I thought, "Surely tomorrow's forecast for freezing rain is a little farfetched." This picture can attest to how I could have rationalized that thought. 

On Thursday morning, the temperature had dropped to just above 32 degrees, and the clouds which hung in the sky looked unpromising. Unfortunately for me, I guess the weather man got it right. The plan was to have two friends and one family member of mine, from out of state, fly in the next day. We were all supposed to run the Dallas Marathon on Sunday. On Friday, I got the news that my friend's flight had been canceled. Then the truly unexpected happened...

After more than twenty-four hours since getting the news that the Dallas Marathon was canceled, I am still experiencing a whole gamut of emotions. I am frustrated, disappointed, and sad. I had such high hopes for myself, especially since this was to be my FIRST full marathon. My goal was to run under 3:40:00, having completed the Hanson's Marathon Method Beginner Program. 

As I said in my previous post just a few days ago, I learned a lot from my training; discipline, thankfulness, amongst other things. I still believe God's goodness and sovereignty despite this major disappointment. My theology is working for me! 

But disappointment is an interesting beast. We get most disappointed when our expectations are the highest. After four months of hard work, I had set high goals of completing this marathon and doing it well. Naturally, my disappointment is not minor. In the grand scheme of eternity, this is so insignificant. 

In the last day, I have even felt silly for crying about the circumstances surrounding this disappointing weekend. But at the same time, we are human beings created with very real emotions. It is all about how you control those emotions that determine whether or not your response to your circumstances is correct or not. 

By the grace of God, I believe that I have kept my perspective on eternity and my emotions in check (for the most part). Nevertheless, I am bummed about not running [what would have been my first] marathon. L

Perhaps, God is teaching me humility. Or maybe he is reminding me that He is God and I am not. Shoot, He desires to teach me all these things and in the midst of it, remind me of His grace which I do not deserve. I am reminded of what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6, that bodily discipline is of some value, whereas godliness is valuable not only in this life, but also in the life to come. 

That truth stings my flesh as I try to rationalize how important running this race was to me. On the one hand, finishing this marathon was going to be a great blessing and accomplishment; on the other hand, if my hope is bound up in just completing a road race, then I need to get my priorities straight. Talk about a reality check!

It has been helpful for me to write these thoughts down as I reflect on my unmet expectations. From here, I don't know what my running schedule will look like. I am not sure when I will run a marathon: next weekend, in the spring, or next December, perhaps. Whatever happens, I am confident that God will get the glory. He controls the details of our everyday lives and has proven to me [again] that His ways are not my ways, nor are His thoughts my thoughts (Isa. 55). 

Whether you are in the midst of disappointment, as I am, or you can look back retrospectively at disappointment in your life, rest assured that God is the same. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." When life doesn't go according to plan, like I've experienced this weekend, we can trust that God has it all under control. 

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