Years ago, I was an athlete. I was one of the top performers on the girls cross country team. I could run 2.5 miles over rugged terrain in just over 16 minutes.
I don’t know where my coach got her knowledge and insight, but she was very effective if you followed her plan. 30 miles a week, alternating between shorter distances and longer distances, hard days and easy days. She tried to keep it fun, too, like when the person who estimated their time the closest got first pick of the Saturday morning donuts.
Without my coach’s workouts, I could not have been an effective runner. Her regimen built up my muscles and endurance to where I was at my peak. Of course, I had to follow the prescribed workout to be successful.
As a people pleaser with a competitive streak, I gave my all at every workout. Some of my teammates were not as dedicated. During what was supposed to be a long run, some people ran to McDonald’s and ordered french fries and waited to come back at the right time. Did cheating on a run from time to time hinder their ability to reach their potential? Probably. I definitely don’t envy the sensation of running with a belly full of greasy fries!
Another thing that gave me an edge over competitors was that I didn’t quit (some girls actually walked during the race) and I pushed through the times when I was tired, sore, in pain, and out of breath. I knew the pain was temporary and that the reward would be worth the momentary discomfort.
As fierce a competitor I was on the cross country course, I’ve come to realize I am a total wimp on the emotional side of things. I avoid pain at all costs. I don’t like confrontation, I don’t like misunderstandings, and would rather write someone off than tell them I disagree with them.
As I’m reading a book about marriage, I’m convicted that a little pain is a part of life and is an opportunity to grow closer to God and closer to other people. I can’t believe that I can so easily endure physical pain and am so afraid of a little emotional hurt or frustration.
Fortunately, I have a really good coach in this aspect too, and He’s promised to walk beside me every step of the way.