A little over three weeks ago, I ran a half marathon on a toe I had injured the week prior. Since the week between the toe injury and the race went well, I did what lots of crazy runner types do–taped it, took some ibprofen, and figured I’d deal with the rest at the finish line.
It was my worst race ever. I am still out of shape post pregnancies. The course is by far the hardest I’ve ever run, with huge hills. I was undertrained.
And, as I admitted after the race was over, my toe was broken.
It was my slowest time by a full 40 minutes. 40.
It was, in a word, hard.
A week ago, for perhaps the first time ever, I felt like God asked me to fast. Since I’m nursing, I did a Daniel fast, restricting my diet to fruit, veggies, legumes, and whole grains.
Thing is, I like food. Food is a hobby of mine. So eating oatmeal made with water instead of my usual milk, unadorned when I typically add a bit of butter and more brown sugar than should be allowed at breakfast was not exactly fun.
It was hard.
Sometimes I think we need to do a hard thing by choice, on purpose, just to know we can do it. Because at other times life will hand us hard things, not by choice, and we will wonder how we will do it. Move forward. Find joy. Forgive. Grieve well.
And perhaps then we will say to ourselves, “This is not wholly unlike that. I can do hard things.”
On the other hand, if we never choose hard things, if we avoid that which is hard at all costs, they will still find us, catch up to us, bowl us over and leave us breathless and stunned, sitting on the floor. And because we never chose hard things, we will not know how to get up.