For those of you who do not read my other blog, you may not know I'm about to "do" my first Iron Man race. (Notice...I'm saying clearly, this is my first, but certainly not my last...). I have battled a shoulder/neck injury for the last year (yes a full year...). I noticed it about the time I rode my first century bike ride a year ago this weekend. I ignored it until it could not be ignored any longer. I've had several procedures, have been to several doctors, have probably taken more medicines than I have in the preceding 4 years combined. And...it's better, but it's not "healed".
So I know some of you are wondering why it is I would still be here, in Lake Tahoe, getting prepared to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.
I'm going to attempt to put the answer in words.
That's really it. Just faith.
What does faith have to do with Iron Man? Well, I believe God calls us onto a path and He directs our steps if we allow Him to be author of our lives. I have always been strong willed, just ask my mother....well, just ask anyone who has known me for any length of time. I do not like to be directed. For most of my life, I wanted to be the author of my life. That would have worked, if everyone else would have played the parts I wanted them to! (Hint: other people do not like to be scripted!) Several years ago, when my second husband left, I gave up. (Well, started giving up.) Not on life, but on trying to be the ruler of my life. I surrendered. I submitted. I stepped out in faith.
Faith is not sight. Faith is not something you can put your hands on. It's not like a jacket, it's more like an odor. And true faith has to be an odor that comes from the inside out.
I can spray perfume on my body, but with time (or a shower) it will wash off. Body odor on the other hand, comes from me. And...it comes out when I am working. James 2:26 says it best, faith without works is dead. Yes...I can still shower and get the odor off of me, but when I work it's there again.
So, you may still be asking, what does faith have to do with Iron Man? Well...I believe God works with us in very individual ways. I am a physical learner (body-kinesthetic). I can ready things all day long, but I need to do them to really learn them. ((Side note...learning styles became very clear to me this summer teaching kids to swim. I had one boy in particular who needed me to explain in words exactly what he was supposed to do before he could learn a new skill...others had to see it...still others -like me- had to do it.)) I need practical life experiences that will solidify what is being taught.
James 1 reminds me that the testing of my faith produces endurance. James goes on to say "and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Let me be clear...a "perfect result" may not mean finishing this race, but believing I will finish and stepping out in faith that I will, and moving forward to work out that faith is a real life example of what I believe it means to trust God with my life--regardless of the outcome.
Iron Man is bigger than me. Yes, I have a good bike, I have good shoes, I have had a great coach, I've gone to good doctors to try to fix what ever is going on in my neck or shoulder...but those things won't get me through this race. Only moving forward --relentlessly moving forward-- in FAITH can do that. Faith that my strength comes from the Lord. Faith that He makes all things possible.
Another really good reason this analogy works so well...there is a constant reminder every time I workout that faith is something that comes out of me. Sweat stinks...and it comes from me...it's a product of working hard. And...let me tell you, I can out stink any deodorant, any soap, probably any perfume (haven't and won't try...). And...I'm going to REEK Sunday night when I cross the finish line.