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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

on courage

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
-Mark Twain

On Saturday I will toe the line for what will be my 9th marathon.  Running marathons isn't something new to me.  But RACING the marathon ... well, that is a whole different story.

I used to think that people who were courageous were fearless.  That they could do things that terrified me without batting an eye.  They stood up to scary things and bouldered right through them, unafraid.

I was wrong.

I don't think that way anymore, now that I have found my own courage.  People who are courageous are very aware of their fears, but they stand up to them anyway.  That is what being BRAVE is all about.

For me, I've discovered that I am my most courageous self when I TRUST in God.  I'm not really a very religious person to be honest.  But my life's journey has always been woven with a strong thread of faith in something bigger than me.  When I was young, I went to Catholic school.  In college, I studied Eastern religions and Native American cultures and they truly spoke to me and I found them beautiful.  I married a Jewish man whose faith and heritage I admire tremendously.  There have been times of great spiritual turmoil in my heart ... but always, when it came down to it, I have never felt alone or deserted.  I continued to pray, and continued to see signs that God was looking out for me.  I read something somewhere that really spoke to me - something about how different religions are like different doors to the same house.  I love that.  I am of the opinion that God is all around.  Some people feel his presence most when they are in a church learning about Jesus.  Others find it in a temple in India or maybe a mosque in east Africa.  And others feel him most at the top of a mountain, when they are one with nature.  There are so many ways that God reveals himself to us.

Running is my sanctuary.  It is the place where my heart opens up the most and I am able to feel and see and hear God's message the clearest.  Forgiveness, healing, hope and gratitude all happen for me on the best of my runs.  And when I am truly testing my limits - truly pushing myself and facing my biggest fears - I find that in order to keep on going I have to LET GO and TRUST in God.  I hear his voice in my head, telling me to be courageous. Telling me to trust in him.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy, and I will give thanks to him in song.
~ Pslam 28:7

This Saturday I am going to RACE my fastest marathon.  I am going to try to run an average pace of an 8:00 mile for 26.2 miles.  This pace is fast for me - though it is the pace my body is trained for.  In my heart, I know that I can do it.  I know that I can do it not only because I trained for it, but because I will trust in God and I will be courageous.  

I will give thanks to him in song.  And my run will be my song.

10 comments:

Good luck this weekend! Hope you reach that speedy goal!!

Thinking of you and hope that Saturday goes amazingly well!! :-) You are ready! You've put in the training (hello, 20 miles on a treadmill?!!) and it's time to cash it in! The marathon is the fun part. It's challenging, hard, exciting, intimidating and fun all wrapped in one. Trust in God and trust in the training you've put in. You've got this!!

Good luck this weekend!! Run strong! I'll be thinking of you.

Oh my gosh I am so excited for you! You are seriously going to have run an a-mazing marathon, I just know it.

What a beautiful perspective! Ability is one thing, but faith brings it all together. Gotta share my favorite running quote ...
Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards.
-- Alberto Salazar

Good luck this weekend! I know you are going to do great!

This is a beautiful post. I'm not really a religious person either but reading your words made me believe a little bit more. I love that your run will be His song. Good luck!!

GOod luck!! You will do great!!!

very inspiring, jessica! best of luck on sunday!!

This is the most beautifully inspiring post! I find that I believe much of what you believe and you said it so perfectly. Best of luck this weekend! Be courageous and brave, have faith, and you will be amazing!!!

So happy I found your blog through Abby's! This is just the inspiration I need going into the NYC Half Marathon on Sunday with tendinitis in my foot. I, too, will be brave, have faith and do the best I can!

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