I had trained for 3 months and the day was finally here. Twenty thousand people gathered together to share both pain and glory. Runners were all around me stretching, talking, and sharing the excitement. It was competition time. The race was about to begin. I was excited to see how well I was going to do and I was going for a personal best. In the back of my mind though, I remembered that three weeks prior to the race I was going for a long run and I felt a pain on the outside of my left foot. I didn’t want to push it so I stopped training all together until race day. I was not in any pain today, so I thought whatever injury I had may have healed. Think again. About 3-4 miles into the race, my ankle started to hurt a little bit, but I pushed through. There was no way I was going to stop now, not after all of this time and money spent training for the race. I continued to push through. I was in pain, but still running at my goal pace until mile 9. Then...my body felt like it hit a wall. My ankle was screaming at me and my legs and hips were crying and yelling at me to stop. So being the smart woman I am, I decided to push through. I know I know, my competitive side kicked in. Just…4…more…miles. You can do it...just breathe in and breathe out...ignore the pain...slow down...walk/jog until you make it. You will be fine. But I wasn’t fine. My body was trying to tell me something, and I wasn’t listening.
In the aftermath of my pain, I started thinking about being obedient to God. How many times does he throw something in our way or pull something out from under us to get our attention? But, our minds are so focused on what we want to do and what we think is right to do that we completely ignore the things that are going to be better for us in the future. We sacrifice the very blessings that God wants to give us for the illusion of the blessings we think we are going to get if we do things our way. We always want to be in control. But if we are not careful, we can find ourselves in competition with God, thinking that we know best. I don’t know about you, but for me...guilty as charged. We start to put too much importance on things of this world creating a form of idolatry. I was so focused on my race and finishing that I was not putting what was ultimately best for me as a priority - giving up the race and my finish line moment for my health.
Kyle Idleman says in Gods at War “God declines to sit atop an organizational flowchart. He is the organization. He is not interested in being president of the board. He is the board. And life doesn’t work until everyone else sitting around the table in the boardroom of your heart is fired. He is God, and there are no other applicants for that position. There are no partial gods, no honorary gods, no interim gods, no assistants to the regional gods.”
This really caught my attention. When we try to take control over situations we put ourselves in competition with God. God is the Utmost High God and there will be no other gods before him. There isn’t an organizational flowchart, yet we try to create one in our lives and I can tell you from my personal experience, he hasn’t always been at the top.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3
So, listening to my own wants and desires during the race…I did finish. But, the outcome wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be. I ended up with a stress fracture and in great pain. I am currently on crutches for a week and need to go back to the doctor next week. My outcome was not worth the stress fracture. Each time we choose our own path instead of God’s path we create a stress fracture, and if we are not careful, that stress fracture can turn into a full break that further separates us from God.
In reflection, how many stress fractures do you have in your life? Are you currently trying to let them heal and turning back toward making God the #1 priority in your life, or are you continuing to put weight on the fracture? Let’s each take a few moments to figure out where the stress fractures are in our life and make the choice to let them begin to heal.