Editor’s Note: The column below was written Nov. 30 for a press deadline, which was the day before the half marathon. As an update after the run and as far as I know, all Team Belle members did well and were generally pleased with their performances.
By Jennifer Davis Rash
Executive Editor, The Alabama Baptist
You would laugh if you knew how many different starts there were to this month’s column.
As I started each one, I truly thought it had potential and was excited to see how it developed. But none of them worked. They all fizzled after the midway point.
Maybe it was the wide range of emotions I’ve encountered over the past three to four weeks.
Maybe it was my strategically planned and extremely tight schedule that should have worked perfectly but never did.
Maybe it was all the interesting ways I’ve seen God show up in the routines of each day this past month.
Whatever the reason for the stall, I’m not sure. But I do know that now I find myself suddenly inspired and speedily filling in my 600 (give or take 15 to 20) words as I take a break from packing.
After all, there’s certainly nothing that motivates you like a looming deadline. Plus I needed to stop obsessing about what was going in my overnight bag anyway.
My bag is light and filled mainly with running shoes, athletic clothing and protein bars. I’ve checked three times — yes, my running shoes are in the bag!
Around 40 of us are headed to Memphis to run/walk in a half-marathon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of my niece Belle (see October Rashional Thoughts for Belle’s story or visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/bellemitchell).
We’ll join about 18,000 others in the run, but we hope our Team Belle shirts will definitely make a statement.
Running is not necessarily my idea of fun nor am I any good at it, but the experience of training for something way out of my league has been a great exercise in discipline and perseverance.
I’ve encountered numerous obstacles and challenges to staying on track with my training. I’ve easily lost motivation to stay focused several times throughout the past six months. I’ve heard others on the team say the same thing.
Some garnered new work responsibilities and demands that kidnapped those extra minutes they used to spend training.
Some encountered health problems; some fractured bones.
Some faced major life decisions and found themselves too emotionally exhausted to lace up their running shoes.
Everyone’s story is different, and everyone’s point of decision is different. But everyone had to make the decision to start down the path and when the tough days came, they had to decide to keep going.
As far as I know, we haven’t lost one member of Team Belle. In fact, we gained a few along the way.
It’s like our spiritual journey. There are days when we feel like we could run the entire race that day. And then there are days we can’t put one foot in front of the other.
But we keep going, holding onto God’s promises and looking up.
First Corinthians 15:58 reminds us, “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Psalm 17:5 reads, “My steps have held to Your paths; my feet have not slipped.”
So, just as Team Belle has trained and persevered for that glorious moment of crossing the finish line, I am reminded to do the same in the race to the ultimate finish line.