Before my first 100 mile race attempt I meticulously wrote down my nutrition plan. It had everything in it, what mile and aid station to eat, what to eat and how much liquid to drink so that I wouldn’t have to keep all those thoughts in my brain while at the same time running 100 miles. My wife, as my crew chief, had mapped out all the aid stations along with approximations of what time I would arrive. She had written what I possibly might need at each aid station and where it would be in the car. We both had great plans to make this an epic race success.
And then we promptly forgot everything at home! With no written plans we left the pre-race meeting kind of discussing the what ifs and what to haves and hoping beyond hope we hadn’t forgotten anything else. Basically we were going to wing it and hope that everything turned out well. For the most part the first 30 or so miles went great but I had no way of knowing where I was with my nutrition and hydration plan. My wife really had no idea what I might need as she got more tired and after my body began rejecting everything I put in it I arrived at the 50 mile turn around and all bets were off. After about thirty minutes of painfully trying to get any kind of food to stay down I threw in the towel knowing that I could have done so much better. The easy thing to do at this point would be to say “good attempt but maybe the shorter ultra distances are more your style”. After all there is a lot of planning that goes into running a 100 mile race. However, that’s not my style so we are both going to go after this again only this time we are doing something different.
See the first attempt both of us made the plans. Sure we sought the advice of a couple of people but for the most part we did all the planning and hence all the forgetting of the plans. As I was thinking about what had gone wrong on the race I recalled this verse, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (Message) As I was running one day the words “Listen for God’s voice in EVERYTHING you do, EVERYWHERE you go” thundered through my heart, my mind and my soul.
Doubt and fear are very real in all of our lives, usually we begin to doubt and fear when we have attempted something and it didn’t turn out right. A business goes south, our dream job dries up, a relationship sours, the diet plan causes us to gain weight, trying to stop drinking doesn’t work…I could go on and on and on. As I have begun to think over the times when I have attempted something big and failed and how the doubt and fear becomes like a cloud always hovering over me I begin to see the times when I have planned out the details on my own, set about a task list and then dug into the chores of doing. Many times I make out meticulous plans and then forget where in the world I put the plans and then just kind of wing it, somehow hoping it will all come back to me magically in the moment.
However as I began to think about this whole listening for His voice in everything I do and everywhere I go I am filled with the most inexplicable peace I could ever imagine. The great thing is that I am like way more of you than you think. I’m not some super guru who can sell you the magic elixir of success but I can tell you that there is a peace out there as you set out on your plans. See when we listen for His voice in everything we do and everywhere we go suddenly the path is made clear. It’s not straight by any means but it becomes clear. We are able to keep track of the details better, the nutrition and hydration we need comes to mind quicker and our crew keeping us running is able to follow our lead a bit better. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to write the details AND remember to bring them with you but maybe you don’t have to try to do everything all on your own trusting in your experiences and your memory. Maybe as you plan you can begin to listen for that still, small voice that wants to calm your doubts and fears and fill you with an everlasting peace.