I’ve had several seasons in my life where I greatly looked forward to a “prize” only to have it taken from me at the very last moment. My heart has resonated greatly with Proverbs 13:12 on more than one occasion.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
Of course, I’ve also had times where got to experience the joy of a long awaited “hope” (marrying the Husband, births of my living children, surviving basic training…etc). These moments are better described by the second half of Proverbs 13:12:
“…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
This post isn’t about those. This post is about the disappointment, and sometimes devastation, that comes when the bottom drops out of your plans. To date, none has been more devastating than waiting 42 long weeks for the arrival of my son, only to say “good bye”, but even less tragic events can send me into a tailspin of “why God?” Which brings me to my plans to run a marathon. If you’ve been following along, you know I had my share of set-backs along the training path. There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to the start line due to injury. I even had moments where I wanted to quit out of sheer fatigue. Of all the scenarios I imagined for race day, the one that occurred was not even on my radar.
I was baffled as to why God allowed me to train for months for a race that, ultimately, would be cancelled due to a freak ice storm. Nine days later, I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Our family ended up iced in at my parents’ house for days and boy did I sulk. I wanted to be able to say I’d run a marathon. I trained hard for it. I felt I deserved the prize. I was angry. I pitched a fit in a prayer to God (well, more than one). “It’s not fair!”
Of course, God didn’t “un-cancel” the marathon for me or the Husband no matter how poorly I behaved. Initially I thought, “What’s the point in striving for something? Why should I bother setting goals?” In my tantrum state I wanted to announce that I shall never run again, and I’m going to quit TaeKwonDo for good measure. “I probably won’t get the black belt anyway,” I thought. Geesh, yeah, I was really in a mood. However, the more the Husband and I processed this, the more we came to the conclusion that God is sovereign, and He does have a plan whether we perceive it or not.
I also thought about the five tenets of TaeKwonDo… namely the last one, “indomitable spirit.” I looked up the word indomitable and quickly realized there was absolutely nothing indomitable about the attitude I had. In fact, I felt quite defeated, conquered, and vulnerable. Now, I don’t know how the TKD powers that be intend “indomitable spirit” be interpreted, but my take on it is that God’s presence is the only thing “indomitable” about my own spirit. Without Him, I’d be stuck in that discouraged place. I can choose to recognize that God is undaunted by the cancelling of a marathon, and He has a greater plan at work… a plan that is for my good no matter how much I might like to protest to the contrary.
Lord willing, I shall run again soon. I don’t plan to train for another marathon this coming year because, Lord willing, I shall train for and earn that black belt in 2014. I’m not giving up, but I am changing my perspective on where the true power to press on comes from. And so, through not running the marathon, I discovered that, in Christ, I truly am an indomitable runner girl.