The Battle of Berlin Heights
Recently I have taken up running. Again. A few years back, I ran for a season. And I loved it! I somehow got out of the habit. I don’t remember why. Laziness? Busyness?
Saturday, I was signed up for my second 5k of the summer (it took place in Berlin Heights thus the name of the blog). We have recently started a walk/jog/run club at our church and five of us were running the race. The whole week leading up to the race, I was an emotional mess.
I am currently leading 6 women through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free. These 6 ladies will help lead 3 separate Bible studies in the fall. And it has been a painful process for all of us. I have been surprised at how much stuff that is still in me that God needs to break and bring healing to. Each week you think it is going to get easier and it doesn’t. And it is stuff that I have been dealing with for years. Insecurities. Frustrations. Guilt. And I have prayed that I would deal with this stuff once and for all. I do not want to be 45, 50, 55, 60 and dealing with the same issues. I am of tired of going only so far in my walk with Jesus only to be pulled back like I’m tethered to the stuff with a bungee cord. And these past 2 years have been pivotal in my walk. I have been set free from so much and am growing in my faith like never before…but there’s residue…something more that needs dealt with, healed, exposed to the breath of the Holy Spirit.
And my 25-year class reunion is in a couple of weeks which causes all kinds of angst! I was e-mailing a childhood friend about it. And the awkward, teen-age Heidi was shining through! I actually had to apologize for that! The fact is, that particular Heidi has been shining through a lot lately!
So last week was the perfect storm for a cataclysmic melt down.
After I left the office on Friday, I was agitated. I knew it was partly because of the race in the morning. Instead of dealing with it in a healthy way, I resorted to my standard mind-numbing behavior…shopping and eating. As I shopped, nothing appealed to me. It didn’t satisfy. Even food had lost its luster (that in itself is amazing ) So I went home and went to bed.
I had a hard time getting up the next morning. I kept thinking of excuses of why I should not run the race. I don’t even know why I was so nervous. Fear of failing? Looking stupid? Being last? I get to the race and signed in and went to find my friend Katie, who was running the race with me. She got to see the crazy, neurotic, teen-age Heidi. It was not pretty. We met a lady while waiting for the race to begin. The lady we met had run this particular race before. Poor thing! When I’m nervous, I become the Riddler…I ask a million and one questions. I annoy myself when I’m like this. I want the crazy Heidi to shut up but she won’t. The lady was very sweet and obvious a follower of Jesus. She said exactly what I needed to hear. Katie and I prayed together and walked to the starting line. At this point, I was ok. Not good, just ok. There was no going back now. Had to make the most of it.
I remember praying at the starting line, “God whatever this is, it is obviously mental and spiritual, please show me what it is and help me deal with it. And help me to do what I have set out to do this morning (which was to never stop running and not be concerned who was in front of me or behind of me).”
As I began running, most people pulled ahead. I began to panic a bit. I shook it off and remained focus. Over the next 39 minutes, God taught me some things:
- Every time I have run in the past, I have concentrated on everyone around me. I end up starting too fast and instead of building up and finishing strong, I run out of steam at the end of the race. This race, I kept my eye on the finish line and met my goals. So many spiritual applications to this one.
- Power Trek (our walk/jog/run club at the church) is about training together. Pastor Jim always says that training together makes you train harder, longer and funner. And that is so true and we need each other but when it actually comes to race time….no one can do it for you. In this race of life we need people to encourage us, to train us, and to motivate us and to run WITH us but when it comes to the race no one can run it FOR us. We have to choose to put on our running shoes and do the work and run the race. The race that day….was me putting one foot in front of the other. Lori and Katie and Sandy and Renee could not do it for me. They could encourage and pray for me before I started it but only I could choose to run. When it comes to allowing God to heal the broken parts of our lives, no one can walk through the process FOR us. They can walk WITH us but can’t do it for us.
- The first mile of the race was breaking through the mental stuff. Words that had been spoken over me came to mind. Every insecurity that I ever had came rushing at me. With every step I ran, those things were being pounded under my feet
- Every time I was called fat…under my feet
- Every time I have struggled with my hair being too thin…under my feet
- Every time I have felt ugly…under my feet
- Every time I have had an irrational fear of looking stupid…under my feet
- Every time I have been made fun of…under my feet
I could feel the stuff just leaving me as my feet pounded the pavement. And I finished. Without stopping. I was 7th from the bottom. And I was SO ok with that! One of my other friends from the PT Crew, who also ran it, had a very difficult time. It was hilly and humid. But she had her best time! We knew that some of the PT Crew would place so we all stayed for the awards ceremony.
This is the hysterical part. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US RECEIVED A MEDAL IN OUR AGE GROUP!!! Even me! I took third in my age group (there were only 3 or 4 in my age group running). When they called my name with my time, I started laughing. An old family friend was there that I hadn’t seen and he yelled when he heard my name (mortifying but it made me laugh all the more.) The medal may not be much to other people but to me it meant a lot! I placed it on my shelf of favorite things. Every time I look at it, it will remind me of the battle that was waged that day. A battle I have called “The Battle of Berlin Heights” because I am THAT dramatic! A battle, that through Jesus, sweat and tears (and bit of crazy) I won!