One of my first trail runs I learned the hard way that it was going to be nothing at all like road running. I learned going up that you can’t run every hill but who knew that going downhill was not going to be a picnic. I’m cruising down this hill with all the twists and turns and doing just like the YouTube video I had watched beforehand showed with my arms out instead of pumping up and down and using little skip steps instead of out-and-out strides when what to my ever-loving mind should suddenly happen…….smack, fly, thud down real hard. I hit a tree root with my up foot as I was bringing it forward to plant and the next thing I knew I was learning how to fly and I never even wanted to be a pilot. The landing of course was less than graceful with the full chest thud and the skid along the path and the glasses flying and my water bottle getting squished under my body and my pride………….well let’s just say there was a couple hiking up the hill and I knew they were doing everything they could to keep from laughing as they helped me gather my glasses and dust myself off so pride was way out of the picture by now. See the video didn’t show a tree root sticking out into the windy path that was sort of ridged up on the right side and I never saw it and that root, that obstacle in my path to running success tripped me up. As I finished running down the mountain……much more cautiously…..I kept thinking about how I could prepare myself for these obstacles and what to do the next time I encountered the obstacle to a clear running path and I concluded there was only one thing to do. Prepare myself for obstacles and train to gather myself up from the obstacle and not let it deter me from doing what I had the desire to do.
Life hits us with the same type of obstacles although they don’t often seem like a tree root. They appear as the overbearing employer, the teacher who isn’t satisfied with anything you do, the significant other that can’t be pleased, the children who won’t ever see things your way, the God that doesn’t just give you all the desires of your heart. We see these things as obstacles although in our whiny moments we won’t call them obstacles, we call them other worse names that I won’t even go into here. And it all stems from a common human emotion…..we WANT. It seems like a simple thing but it is oh so incredibly true. We WANT stuff….a new car, a better job, more pay, better vacations, better grades, a better more loving significant other……we desire and when we don’t get what we desire we often times pout. Psalm 20:4 can be a very confusing verse because it says “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” See God wants to give me the desire of my heart and he wants my plans to be successful. But here’s the secret to this…….ready……I mean really ready because this may not be what you wanted to hear……….God does want to give you the desires of your heart but not only is it not going to be a clear running path with no obstacles but He requires something of you. Psalm 20:7-9 is the secret ingredient to preparing yourself for the obstacles that will come your way in your pursuit of the desires God lays on your heart. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and FALL, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!” You will trip over obstacles and fall, it’s part of running your own race. However, if you trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your understanding then He will enable you to rise up and stand firm and continue the race.
Living an ultra life means as you run your own race that you prepare for the obstacles and that you learn to pick yourself up every time from these obstacles and keep moving forward. Stop trying to avoid them or blithely think they don’t exist because you’re so awesome. Chances are if you prepare for obstacles you are going to see them before they trip you up but even when you don’t you will still be able to pick yourself up and move on.