(This post was originally written in 2009 on my Vida la Vida blog)
So the race is Sunday. Sunday, as in less than 80 hrs. from now. I bought a new pair of spandex and have stocked up on some GU stuff that real runners say is amazing (seriously… I’ve hated spandex my entire life and now I live by them. It’s a sick turn around I’m not proud of… I digress…). My shoes are broken in, my last run is tomorrow, and my parents get in tomorrow evening. It’s almost race time. A lot of things are ready to go… but the question that I keep asking myself is “Am I ready? Can I do this?” In light of this looming question I can’t escape, I have a confession to make: I am absolutely terrified.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited about raising support for Be The Virus (a Christian response to the HIV/Aids crisis), but when it comes right down to it, fear is permeating my thoughts. There have been a lot of high points that I’ve shared with you, but I want to be honest in my sin and failures too. So today, because of my pride, I’ve lived in fear of Sunday and I want to openly confess that here.
But what exactly have I feared? I’m afraid of many things: The Drop Out Bus, injury, apathy, impure motives, distraction, disappointing others, and the list really could go on, but I’ll only highlight the main ones.
1. The Drop Out Bus:
This one is obvious. I want to finish this race and if I don’t, I’m going to be very disappointed. I saw an article about the Drop Out Buses in the Chicago Marathon and I thought to myself… “What if that’s me?! What if I have to ride the Drop Out Bus!?!?! What if there are people standing outside the bus serving chocolate and cheesefries and on the inside of the bus there are soft fluffy couches calling my name and I can’t resist?” Or more realistically, “What if the bus is cold and empty, yet I’m not strong enough to make it the full 26.2 miles so I crawl on board and sit alone in the back corner with my head between my legs?” The latter is the question that has haunted me most. And the truth is, we won’t find out until Sunday.
I fear the pain that I know is waiting for me, but what if something else happens? I have a pulled hamstring, what if it tears? What if my body isn’t actually strong enough to make the 26.2 miles? What if it shuts down in the middle? Or even worse, what if I’m not mentally strong enough? Talk about an injury to my pride…
3. Apathy/Impure Motives:
I’m afraid of raising money for an organization, feeling good about it, but then thinking that I’ve done “enough.” After the race I’ll move on… unchanged and not changing others. What if I only attempted to run the race just to see if I could? What if this wasn’t about changing lives but instead it was only about accomplishing a goal, something to cross off my list?
I’m usually not a fearful person, so where is all of this anxiety coming from?
As I have repeatedly wrestled with these things, I’ve realized something. I’m completely missing the point. All of these fears are about me! They’re all rooted in self-centeredness. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. These fears make the race about me, and that is the last thing I want. This isn’t about me, this is about raising awareness for an organization that is bringing the hope of the Gospel to people who are affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic.
When I fear failure, I am simply being prideful and drawing attention to either my success or failure. Obviously I want to succeed, no one wants to take a ride on the Drop Out Bus. But whether I cross the line running, limping, crawling, or worst case scenario someone drives me, I have given my best effort to raise support for Samaritan’s Purse. It isn’t about bringing attention to what a mediocre (or poor, we’ll find out!) runner I am. Seriously, like I’ve said before, thousands of people will run marathons and a strong majority will run them better than me. This. Isn’t. About. Me. Period.
When I fear injury, I’m being self-centered. How many people get injured in marathons? I don’t know, but I’m guessing not many. And even if I do, it should be worth it if my goal is to bring about awareness and support for a Gospel-centered humanitarian organization. Seriously, I have to get over myself, ha!
When I fear becoming apathetic or having impure motives, I once again put the focus back on what I’m doing rather than the God who is molding me. I’m trying to take control and make sure that I’m doing “enough” (JD Greear wrote an excellent blog on that the other day, click on it and check it out).
I know this is probably not the post you were expecting a few days before the race, but I wanted to be honest in what was going through my mind. I’m not proud of it, but it’s what I’m struggling with today. Thankfully, I’m going to bed soon and tomorrow I get to start a new day, a day not revolving around me.
Whatever the race day may hold, may He receive the glory and honor for being a God who cares for the oppressed and abandoned, the widowed and the orphaned, the hungry and the poor. And thankfully, He also cares about the obstinate, self-centered, mildly dramatic American girls.