Overcoming Obstacles

by Mary Chalhoub on August 1, 2013

Female Jogger Resting After Running on an Athletics Running Trac

I remember an incident in middle school when I struggled with running during my physical education class. I started the run off well, but I couldn’t run more than a few hundred yards. I would run a bit, stop, and repeat until I was the last person straggling to the finish line.  I thought, “Why can’t I just run continuously like everyone else?”  I had a desire to run, but I just couldn’t make it very far without feeling like I was choking and completely out of breath. There was no medical condition that prevented me from running. Still, I couldn’t go any further no matter how hard I pushed myself and it really bothered me. I truly believed at that moment that running was not for me.

I continued to struggle throughout my school years with my inability to run and each and every time it would become difficult, I would revert to the lie that running was just not for me.  As an adult, I simply gave up on even attempting to run because I continued to agree with my decades-long thoughts of defeat.

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If it wasn’t for me, then why did I still have a desire to run? I had disqualified myself based on my past experience. Something in me told me that if I could get past the barriers, the false beliefs, then I could do it. What I believed as a child became an embedded thought process. As soon as it got tough, the lie positioned itself before me and I would again believe that I was not a runner; never had been a runner, never would be a runner!

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that the desire to run resurfaced again; this time, stronger than ever, though I didn’t act on it until one day in April.

Remember when the horrific Boston Marathon Bombing occurred in April? The day after that event, I went to my gym with every intention on taking a spin class, but something else was stirring within me. I found myself gravitating toward a gentleman instead of heading upstairs to participate in my usual class.  I suppose I guessed that this man led the run club by his attire as there was no other indication that he was who he was.

Nervously I approached him and asked if he was with the run club. As he confirmed my suspicions, he invited me to join them. I remember giving every excuse that flooded my mind to get out of it; it’s sprinkling outside, I’m not a runner, I can’t run.  Somehow as he and the others who were about to start the run were successful in convincing me to join them!

As we walked outside to our starting point, a lady in the group suggested we have a minute of silence for the people affected in the bombs. As we bowed our heads, I began to weep uncontrollably, especially for the 8 year old boy named Martin Richard, whose life was taken way too soon. Before I knew it, the minute was over and tears were still flowing down my face. The lead runner assured me that she would stay with me since this would be my first run.

Something fueled me during that minute of silence. I took my first step and I said to myself, “I will run for the life of Martin Richard who was taken to soon.” My desire to run was filled with a purpose. I ran and ran and ran without stopping. I completed the 3.1 miles in 31 minutes; not bad for someone who couldn’t go further than a few hundred yards.

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I want to encourage you to push past the obstacles. If you failed in the past, it doesn’t mean you will fail in the future.  Is the desire still there? If it is, the One who created you and put the desire in you will help you fulfill it. You do your part and God will meet you in you the rest of the way.

A few months ago, that’s where I was.  Today?  I have started to train for my first marathon scheduled in January of 2014.

Isaiah 40:31

Love,
Mary

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