This is me approaching the finish line at the 10k. My shirt says, "You don't have to go fast, you just have to go."
Sorry about the hiatus in Spiritual Sundays posts- I have been trying to get over bronchitis and last Sunday I was only semi-conscious most of the day...Anyway, I promised a Part II to my last Spiritual Sundays post, My Thoughts are not Your Thoughts, and I am excited to share that with you today!
In that last post I mentioned another story that I thought fit with my topic. This story was told by a sweet and very funny woman, Laurel Christensen, who confessed that she had been struggling with her weight. She ended up going to a "Biggest Loser"-type camp, and the experience was really tough for her. She told about a particular experience she had one day on the treadmill. Her coach was having her and her group set their treadmills for the highest speed they could possibly go for two minutes, then she gave them a 1 minute recovery. Then they had to go hard again for another minute and a half, then rest for less time than before, and so on. She started running her hardest and then she started to falter. She said that she didn't just think she couldn't complete the two minutes- she KNEW it, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Her coach saw her difficulty and she "got all Gillian" on her and said, "Don't you dare be the one thing standing in your way." Laurel recalled that she was pretty sure that was something inspirational and she'd appreciate it later, but it wasn't helping her a bit in that moment! She still knew she couldn't do it, but she kept on. Before she knew it, her coach said, "30 seconds." Laurel thought, Okay fine, but I'm not going to make it 30 seconds. Her coach said, "15 seconds." Laurel thought, 15 seconds? How am I still alive? And then before she knew it her coach was counting down, "3, 2, 1, and stop."
Laurel was shocked. She hadn't just thought she couldn't do it- she had KNOWN she couldn't. So how on earth did she finish? The realization that she could do something she had been thoroughly convinced she could not do was astounding to her. She began to wonder, What else have I been wrong about all these years? How many things have I told myself I could not do?
Laurel then went on to explain that we all spend a lifetime putting limits on ourselves that are just WRONG! I really appreciated her story because I have taken my own journey with running that has completely shattered some lifelong limits I've had. Even as a kid I struggled with the required mile run in school. I KNEW that when I got older it would just be harder. If I couldn't do it as a kid, then how could I possibly do it as an adult? But then one day I got a tiny inkling of a thought in my head- I want to run a 10k. It was a completely ridiculous idea, and I knew it was entirely unattainable, but I thought hey, if I shoot for the moon then maybe I'll land among the stars, right? If nothing else I'll get some good exercise out of it.
Well, long story short, I started training and soon I was able to run for more than a minute without stopping- huge accomplishment. Then I was able to do a mile! Then I could run my neighborhood- without stopping!- 2.2 miles. After that it seemed whatever farther distance I aimed for, I reached. 3 miles? Check. 3.5? Sure. 4? Heck, it's just 1 more than 3. And then I ran the 10k (6.2 miles)- the whole way, without walking. It was slow, but I did it.
It's amazing to me how pushing yourself to do something that you really don't think you can do and reaching your "impossible" goal can just fling open doors in your life. Without that 10k, I don't know that I would have started my etsy shop. I probably wouldn't have finished and submitted my book to a publisher. I was able to blow the top off my tightly-set limits for myself and realize that I am a child of God. He is limitless. He has given me talents and abilities not so that I can tuck them away for a day when they might come in handy, but so that I can magnify them and begin to scrape the surface of His purpose for me.
One of my favorite quotations is by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
God has created us for greater things than we can imagine for ourselves. If we allow our thoughts to rule our lives rather than His thoughts, then we can never reach our true divine potential.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9
What is our divine potential? What are His thoughts for us? One more quotation that I LOVE:
“The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him … He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Ch. 31
"With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." - Mark 10:27
So what is the impossible thing you know you cannot do? Isn't it about time you did it? ;-)
To learn more about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit www. mormon.org.