A few months ago I signed up for my very first half marathon – the Chicago Women’s Half. Up until 2 weeks ago I was in serious training mode. I was following the Hal Higdon training program very closely. I was increasing my miles and feeling so incredibly great I can’t even explain it other than running
is was good for my soul.
Then something happened. I woke up with a terrible pain in my hip flexor. Here’s where we get personal – I tried for a week to stretch, do low/no impact exercises, ice, take medicine, research, you-name-it-I-did-it. Everything short of going to the doctor. With 2 weeks until the race, I started to freak out. Literally. Self talk got to me saying “how can this be happening?,” “I’ve trained so hard,” “I wanted this so bad,” “my ticket is bought, hotel reserved, race paid for,” “now this?,” “why me?.” That was one of the worst days I have had in a really, really long time. (luckily by the grace of God, it only lasted a day – keep reading) I felt like I had been defeated without even a fair shot. It took a few hours of talking with the insurance company to ask about my options and how much this would cost, doctors about appointments and how much this would cost and then some advice from my counselor to point me in the right direction.
The last part was critical. Yes, I see a counselor. Yes, I have issues, don’t you (be honest)!? Yes, I pay to tell someone my problems with hopes to get some guidance. And let me just say, the-day-of-feeling-completely-defeated, was revived by a session with my counselor who helped put stuff into perspective… Isn’t it amazing how God puts people in our lives at exactly the right time for an exact purpose even if it’s not clear to us why?
So let me rewind to a few days prior to my day-of-feeling-completely-defeated. My church started a new series on The Wilderness. The message, in short, was from Matthew 4:1-11 where Jesus goes into the wilderness and is tested by the devil in appetite, applause and authority. In each situation, Jesus overcomes the devil and gives us tools to overcome the devil when we are tempted in these exact same areas. Jesus faced temptation the same way we are faced by it and there are two specific things Jesus teaches us. #1 – Jesus anchored himself in the word of God. In each test, Jesus overcame the devil by citing scripture and standing on the word. #2 – Jesus made a definite decision and did not negotiate with temptation. This message hit home because it reminded me that everyone is faced with trials and we are made to overcome them. James 1: 2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Another part of the service was a short blurb on Serve Your City a 2 week outreach to ignite service in the community, to reach lives and help others. My church was commissioned by Mayor Alvin Brown to do Serve Your City and I felt a tugging on my heart to get involved. If only for these 2 weeks, if only one event, I know I can make a difference. So, on fire and excited, I signed up to serve. That was Sunday. Monday morning I woke up in more pain than before and decided I needed to call the doctor if I want any chance to run the race I HAD TO RUN. This was the day-of-feeling-completely-defeated.
So let’s get back to my counseling session. I went in the session feeling defeated. The race I had to run, the one I have given up nights and weekends for, paid a lot of money for, took time off work for, blogged about and thought about for 2 months was in jeopardy. I had to run but now felt, how can I? Why is this happening when everything was going according to my plan the day before. In fact, it was going better than planned with a new opportunity to serve my community and meet new people. But this race, it meant the world to me and now was something I might not be able to finish. Or start. One point my counselor made was, “will you be ok with the fact that you might not get to run? If the doctor says no running, will you please not run?”
Not run?! Lady are you kidding me!!! This is what I’ve worked for. This is who I am. Not running isn’t an option. The doctors can do whatever to get me running. I need to run for my soul… That’s where I was wrong. Way wrong. What I needed was to TRUST GOD. Trust that His will is going to be done according to His time and His purpose. This was really hard for me to grasp in the moment. (Again- determined Cassie thought, I have to run) In moments when my hip doesn’t hurt, I find myself going to “oh yes, I AM RUNNING.” Only because my hip doesn’t hurt for that moment. I am dumb. I move, it hurts again. So through my counseling session, we worked on how God might have a bigger purpose for me than running this race. Maybe He is going to use me in another way. I have to be open to look for and follow His way, not the way of my flesh, just to cross the finish line and stop my Garmin.
Then the counseling session turned back to the message. I’ve taken a step into serving, getting involved and advancing God’s kingdom. What happens? I get tested! I get tested in my trust in the Lord, my vulnerability to let God lead and not by my ways, but His. I think my day-of-feeling-completely-defeated was a test of the devil saying you’re not as strong as you think you are. You’re trying to share God’s love and I’m going to take your strength away so you feel hopeless and helpless. Well guess what?!? God’s placed amazing Christians in my life at exactly the right time for the right reasons and through my counselor talking to me, I was able to articulate this and know that I am strong, I am ok and I am going to trust God completely to get me through this, His way.
So that’s what I did. That’s what I am doing (I have to remind myself of this everyday). If I can’t run in 6 days, I can’t run in 6 days. I will still enjoy Chicago with my sister and friend and maybe I can help out at the race and share God’s love to others. That’s what this life is about anyway. Relationships. It’s not about a stupid silly run and beating records (even if that does feel really good). It’s about eternal records. The number of lives saved. The number of people served and loved. That feels better than any race ever can.
I’ve also learned that I have to trust doctors. God gave us doctors to treat the sick and heal the hurt. So I’m going to physical therapy. I went to 2 sessions last week and will do 3 this week before the race. If we can get my hip rehabbed to run, then I’ll run with a heart full of God’s love and grace. If I still hurt in a week, I will do something else with a heart full of God’s love and grace.
On a lighter note – I’ve never done PT before, never really known any details about it and here I am a full-blown, everyone there knows me, rehabber. I just want to share one short story about my session last Friday…. So the doctor puts the sticker thing (pictured) on the part that hurts the most then another on my quad. Then they attach a wire and say “ok, you have 10 minutes.” I thought, oh gosh, what is this? Why does this not look good? And then it began- the feeling of little pins and needles tapping my skin over and over and over again. Perhaps this is similar to a tatoo? I’d rather not know. Golf was on TV and I was fixated on the tournament in an attempt to distract me. 10 minutes later. “ok keep the top one of for another hour” Another hour!?! Are they crazy? That was hell! But I realized after they took off the wires, the needles stopped. I really need to work on this trust thing more!
So I have date with PT in the morning… 7am… I can only imagine what tomorrow will bring!?
A few things I learned from this experience:
- I’m not in control and that’s ok. God is.
- When something doesn’t go according to plan, that’s ok. It’s going according to God’s plan.
- I still don’t know what next week brings and that’s ok. God knows.
- I have no idea what the purpose is of the pain/needles of PT and that’s ok. God has commissioned the doctors to heal.
- Sharing my story with other isn’t going to be easy and that’s ok. God is with me.