Every time I have run the Big Horn Wild and Scenic Trail Run there have been different conditions. Snow the first year, extreme heat the second year and mud from hell this third year. Every time I have run this race I have begun with a niggling doubt about whether I was ready or whether I could do the distance. The first year I ended up having to drop because I took a really bad fall and was pulled because I had concussion like symptoms. The second year I finished the race but took nearly two hours at an aid station trying to cool down my core so I could finish the last seven miles. This last year I was feeling fantastic until the pouring down rain at the start turned the course into a slippery mud bath. Each time I have begun with doubt though and even though that is bad, what is worse is that I didn’t use that doubt and make it work for me instead of against me. That is why I have come up with this acronym to wear on my sleeves this next year.
D is for Discipline. I know that discipline is best displayed when I stick to the training plan and stick to faith. The training plan is easy….run, run some more, work on core and balance, rinse and repeat. The sticking to faith thing is what I am working on this year. I’m not talking about faith in Jesus, that is actually pretty easy. I’m talking about faith that Jesus has already accomplished more in and through me than I ever could by myself. Discipline is merely doing what you know needs to be done each and every single moment even when it is hard or monotonous.
O is for Overcoming. I love to follow the people who overcome great obstacles. I don’t want to over simplify what it takes to overcome but it is best summed up this way. If there is something keeping you from becoming the best you that you can possibly imagine you being then you need to identify what that is. You need to search for it like you would search for a rare gem and when you find it you need to look at what is stopping you from being the best you and say “okay, you may look like a giant right now, but you’re going down”. Then become the person you would like to be by each and every moment of each and every day approaching life as if you’re already there.
U is for Understanding. For many years I didn’t understand why I was on this earth. I couldn’t figure out who I was supposed to be at any given moment and for many years it crippled me. Finally I read a verse that is kind of tucked away in the Bible and I began to pray different. “But God didn’t give you an understanding heart or perceptive eyes or attentive ears until right now, this very day.” Deuteronomy 29:2 (Message). I began to pray that God would give me an understanding heart, perceptive eyes and attentive ears. As I sought understanding God opened my eyes to see the people around me that just needed me to acknowledge their goodness. God opened my ears so I could listen and respond to them and help them move closer to being the person that He created them to be. As I began to pray this way I began to see that I could make doubt work for me instead of against me.
B is for Blessing. I didn’t really understand this whole blessing thing until somebody prayed for me in my thirties. Up until this moment I thought that blessing meant that God was going to GIVE me something, whether that be riches or fame or land or all of it. I thought me being blessed had to do with me receiving something. “I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3 (Message) I didn’t notice the hook in that verse until this person prayed for me though. See this person didn’t pray for me to be blessed, this person prayed that I would learn to BE a blessing. That one little four word section right in the middle is what got me to changing my outlook on life “…you’ll be a blessing.” When I run races now there is nothing I love more than to come up on somebody struggling and to encourage them to stick with it, stay with them for a while, share nutrition or water or just keep them moving one step ahead of the other. When I failed at the 100 mile distance this last year somehow God got me to the finish line in time to see two people who were close to quitting at the 25 mile mark come across the finish line. My body may not have made it to the finish but I know that my sticking with these two for about ten miles helped them get to the finish and realize their dream. Be a blessing instead of just waiting for your blessing and watch God turn your doubts into victories.
T is for Thanksgiving. Every day that I strap on my running shoes and some running clothes I get to see the man who God is making me. So every time I step out the door to go for a run I am thankful. I had such bad habits before I started running that I was most likely a statistic waiting to happen. Instead somehow God put a dream in front of me. It was a dream of one day being in good shape with a body weight that was manageable and fitness that I could do almost all of the things I could only dream of. Over the last seven years thanksgiving has become so much more than a day to celebrate, eat and watch football. Thanksgiving has become a lifestyle, one where every day I go out and give thanks for who He is making me. As I give thanksgiving on a daily basis God allows my doubts to work for me.
Making your doubts work for you instead of against you means that you must embrace DOUBT in a real way, a way that says that every day I am going to be disciplined, I am going to overcome, I am going to seek understanding, I am going to be a blessing and I am going to give thanksgiving.