When my body starts to whine and complain on a training run this is the point where I know it’s time to make a decision. Recently I was out running trails and I had done a lot of uphill and my quads and glutes were screaming in agony. I came to a point in the trail where I could take a right turn and in three to four miles be back at my car where I could put the screaming hounds to bed and drive home satisfied with a pretty good run. Taking the left turn would add a lot more miles to the run and add a couple more uphill sections. As I came up to the point where I had to make the decision everything within me kept saying “you’ve done enough”, “this was a good run”, “save some for next week”. I literally began to step off to the right when something within my spirit screamed “STOP! Go left!” After about a mile or so I began to doubt the wisdom of my decision as I faced a hellacious uphill. I began to doubt whether I could do the extra miles and I seriously began to doubt whether I had what it took to become more than a back of the pack runner. And then suddenly it was as if the wind stopped blowing, the hill flattened out and something I could never even attempt to explain in mere words happened. I’m not sure what this phenomena was but suddenly I began to believe in who I’m becoming not who I’ve been.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV). It is not about who we have been in the past but who we are becoming in the future and the present. I have done some amazing things in my past, accomplished significant goals and overcome huge obstacles. If I dwell in the past though I am going to miss the incredible future that is already opening up before me. Doubt has this way of being able to sneak in under our defense radar and totally obliterating who we could become if we were to push beyond our limits, the limits that are self-set by our inability to picture the future person we are becoming. It doesn’t matter if you have already succeeded way beyond what you thought you could do or whether up to this point life has dealt you a bunch of lemon seeds without even being able to enjoy the taste of the lemon. What is past is past, it’s only there to serve as a guide to the future.
What is important now is to be able to strain toward what is ahead, to press on toward the goal of becoming the most incredible person you can possibly become. Doubt can only serve as a temporary obstacle to be overcome if you set your mind toward the future. Think of pushing beyond your limits as a place to aspire to instead of a place you will never get. Begin to see yourself making the left turn, the harder turn that will probably add more hills and miles and then set out on that path willing to give it everything you have. Then when you have given it all you have push a bit beyond and then a bit more beyond and suddenly who knows what you will find. I know on this particular day when I pushed to the top of the hill I was surprised by something I had never seen before. At the top of the hill kind of tucked in behind a knoll was a herd of probably twenty or thirty antelope all lying down in the tall grass. As I topped the hill and looked to my left a couple of the antelope stood up and acted like they were going to leap off up the hill beyond where I was but most of them just lay there looking at the strange dude who was all out of breath. It is the closest I have ever come to running up on an antelope as they usually dart off at the first scent of a human. It filled my heart with joy as I continued the run because if I had turned right and gone back to my car I would never have been blessed with the serenity and peace of these antelope just lying there watching me. What is out there for you to experience as you push beyond your limits?