I am in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Mt. Sequoyah this week for a denominational meeting. Tonight’s run was absolutely brutal. Because of my schedule, I had to run this evening. The temperature and humidity was 85 degrees and very sticky. And Mt. Sequoyah lived up to its name.
I ran just over 11 miles tonight at a not-so-fast nine minutes per mile. I was working hard at the end of the run to keep it sub nine. During the run I climbed over 4,000 feet. One of the hills was over a mile long and had an average grade of 8%. As a comparison, Heartbreak Hill in Boston is less than a half-mile long with a grade of 4%. One hill was only 200 meters long, but its grade was over 12%. At the top of the hill my pulse was 182 and I was running slower than 10 minutes per mile. Tonight’s run was like running on a treadmill in a warm bathroom where somebody is taking a hot shower. I was totally drenched a few minutes into the run.
Most of my running is done early in the morning around a lake with friends. I enjoy these runs. The air is usually crisp and cool. The lake is peaceful and beautiful and flat. The friends are funny and insightful.
Tonight’s run was different. I was alone. It was sunny and hot and muggy. Although the hills were peaceful and beautiful—they were not flat.
With each hill I had to fight the limitations that God gave me. I had to battle God’s creation as well. Each hill I ascended was a victory. The view from the top of the last hill was incredible. It was getting dark and I got to look down on the lights of the city.
We all have limitations and we all have challenges. Determination and God’s presence gets us to the top of the hill despite our limitations. Paul writes about this:
So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses. -2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Instead of avoiding limitations and challenges, it is best to embrace them and overcome them. Accomplishment always beats avoidance. Overcoming is a better alternative than being overwhelmed. The view from the top looking at the bottom is much better than the view from the bottom looking at the top. And there is almost nothing like the power of God working through our limitations to overcome challenges.