Running Ahead (stop watching the clock)

My 9:30 a.m. meeting today served as an unfortunate reminder of my seemingly-neverending divorce. Let’s just say that I didn’t hear everything I had hoped. Details are unnecessary other than pointing out the obvious- a year is a mighty long time to wait not to have even had a moment of face time with a judge. Okay, we roll on…

I left that office discouraged beyond belief. I’ve been tough, trying to keep holding my head up. It gets challenging when it seems each turn is met with an entirely new maze of questions and complications. My diet is usually rather poor on the days of such meetings because my stomach is in knots. I met today’s challenge with a grand total of 1 banana and 2 Diet Cokes in my system. Not much of a help, I know.

Always in the midst of my sadness it is comforting to me to know that I have strong, Christian, supportive friends and family I can turn to for advice and words of wisdom. The moment I sat in my car the emotional support chain of command began. What I love most about the people in my life is that instead of them hearing the news I shared and all of us lying around in a puddle of crying and whining and feeling sorry about our situation(s) and lamenting about the woes of life and how unfair life can be, they are all such encouragers and problem solvers. One of my sweetest friends (who secretly kinda hacks me off because he completely messes up my theory that all men are pigs- lol!) begins telling me that I need to immerse myself in the Word and listen to God, that He will tell me what I need to hear. I was encouraged to read Psalm 37. Which I did. It was perfection. Encouragement from my Heavenly Father and a reminder that He’s still here with me. Two of my girlfriends who have been with me through this entire portion of the ride allowed me to vent my frustration and immediately said, “So what’s the next step?” Mom and Jess did the same. During times I feel like crawling up into a bed and throwing a huge blanket over me and never coming out I’m so appreciative that I have people in my life who won’t allow me to do that. Well, they may allow it if I fussed long enough, but I can assure you it would be a short-lived pity party.

I have children home from school today and also ended up watching my two sweet nieces. There I was in my living room- empty belly in knots, two kids complaining about who is on the wii and who should get to watch a movie, Bible pulled out onto my lap turned to Psalm and I’m reading. I’m praying- out loud- claiming all the promises God has shared through His Word. He has plans for my future-

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I started to feel better. Sometimes when we read Scripture it’s a reminder to us of truths we already know. I don’t have all my answers yet, but at least I have my starting point. I’d cleared my head somewhat and the heaviness in my chest was beginning to lift. My spirit and my mind were being massaged and now I wanted to do more. I needed to get out to the track. I’m in week number five of a 9-week program to help prepare non-runners for a 5K. The first five weeks have been hard, but not impossible. There have been times I’ve hurt and wanted to stop, but I’ve not let myself.

I tell my oldest niece that I’ll be at the track for 35 minutes. She knows to call me if anything is needed and I head out. It’s a little chilly here today, but at least it’s not raining. I’m happy to get out there. I have only exercised one day this week- as opposed to my required three- due to snow, rain, or sick children. This session with the track was long overdue. In week five of the program you begin running in 5-minute intervals. From the offset five minutes of running doesn’t sound like much. If you’re not a runner by nature I’d encourage you to try it. The first day I did it (after four weeks of building up to it, mind you) I literally stopped twice on the track fearing that I was about to get sick. I fought through it though and within the next two days the five minutes of running became less daunting. So, I plug in my headphones, turn on my ipod, start my C25K program app on my phone and take off for the warm up portion of the session. I enjoyed those minutes of walking and listening to some good music. I felt myself relaxing as I got more into the groove of things.

Then the unthinkable happened- when my app switched over to the first session of running it instructed me that I would be starting with an 8-minute run. HUH?! Eight minutes is almost TWICE what I had just taken three days to build up to without vomiting. Surely today of all days this stupid computer app could understand that my world is legally, mentally and emotionally in a tailspin and should take it easy on me. I mean right? My initial thought was that I’d just shut the program off and walk for as long as I felt like it. I wasn’t sure my body or mind would even allow me to consider pushing myself. Then an unexplainable wave of peace fell over me. Of course this is possible. I found one of my favorite songs on the ipod and I went to it. Only this time I made a few adjustments. I focused solely on my breathing and my foot falls. I counted slowly in my head the one-two-three-four rhythm of the music playing against the sounds of my feet on the pavement. I changed something else- something vitally important- I stopped watching the clock. Instead of watching each second countdown as I had during my 5-minute run session earlier in the week I turned my attention to the task at hand and stopped worrying about the time. I’m still breathing and I’m putting one foot down…then the other. Before I even realized it my eight minutes was over and I was still standing! Shocking. Not only was I able to conquer the eight minutes once today but twice. That silly 5K program suddenly became a mirror-image of the rest of my life and there was nothing that was going to prevent me from finishing.

Interesting that I have been told on a few occasions recently that perhaps it would be beneficial to me to stop trying to foresee and map out the entire rest of my future when what I need to be focusing on is the task at hand. Stop focusing on the time. Stop watching the clock. Maybe it’s true that when we look to far ahead we lose sight of all of the important structural and foundational areas we need to be grooming today for the success of our future tomorrow. I know the Lord expects a lot from me especially when I’m expecting a lot from Him. I’m committed to delighting myself in Him- finding my way back into His Word and staying there- because I want Him to give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). Today that desire is simply peace. I know it’s an attainable goal.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elfinfun
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 19:23:03

    A lesson for us all….I am chuckling as I am reading part of this knowing that I vented to you only a couple of hours ago about a “problem” I have no one to blame for but myself. I haven’t ignored a clock – but rather, the insurmountable “number” that plagues me by dancing in front of my eyes. I will crawl out of this pit, one day at a time.
    You know, as we talked this morning about your appointment, I couldn’t keep the phrase “that which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” from screaming in my ears. Isn’t it the truth? We want peace – you and I. Yet, the peace we seek may be unattainable. We live in a sinful, fallen world where chaos wants to reign. So, as Christians, we must live with the assurance that the peace we seek comes from the knowledge that we are daughters of a great and mighty KING, who is still on HIs throne and in control. We are going to be refined by fire. The reed He will bend, but not break. Promises for all of us to cling to….He often allows hardships that we don’t ever quite understand. But, we can understand that He loves us…dances over us…and has a great plan for us. This, too, shall pass my lovely friend.



    • mandaclair
      Feb 20, 2012 @ 19:30:35

      You are so sweet and thank you! We both know there are some words which we vent to one another which most likely do NOT need to be blogged about in a public forum- lol! 😉 You’ve been sweet support for me and I want to be there for you anytime I can. I like your statement- “That which doesn’t kill us…” Did you see the other day I’d found something which says, “I’m not sure if it’s killing me or making me stronger.” That’s a more accurate portrayal of how I feel most mornings lately. Agree that this will pass. For both of us. Love to you!



  2. Raelene
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 19:39:28

    I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this. Breaks my heart. God has a plan and will reveal it to you in the time you need it. Corrie Ten Boom comes to mind when she said her Father never gave her ticket to her until just before she needed it. God will give you what you need just in time. Hang in there. You will be able to help someone else later. :). Even though it might not feel like it at this moment – you are blessed.



  3. mandaclair
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 23:56:12

    I am undoubtedly blessed and thankful. I know there are plenty of people who are far worse off than I am. I know that I’m not alone and He’ll see me through. Somedays I just wish it would be sooner rather than later, but I’m definitely being forced to learn patience. It will pass, as my friend Kelli pointed out. I have no doubt. Thanks, Raelene. Love to you.



  4. June
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 23:48:09

    Amanda, really enjoyed this post. My late mother in law used to tell me, this too shall pass. Of course, she was always right. I don’t think you will go wrong, as long as you make the Lord number one in your life, and let Hiim guide you. I will continue to remember you and your children in prayer. Being a parent is never easy, but I know you will raise and teach these children well. One day they will say, “My mother taught me that.” You hang in there gal.



  5. June
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 23:51:44

    Oh, one more note. Your Mom was in Pig and Chick one night with your children, and one of her other granddaughters. Mike and I were sitting at a table next to them. We got the biggest kick out of Eli, saying things to the girls, and kind of acting out whatever he was talking about. Funny little guy….



  6. mandaclair
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 13:37:38

    June, thanks for your comments and thanks about my Eli. I love that child! I love them both. They certainly keep me entertained. They are my comic relief in life. 🙂



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