31 Days of Identity // Day 14
By Courtney Laib, Story Hope
(Photo by Linzie Hunter)
So I ran my first half-marathon this weekend. It was fun and hard. But more hard than fun. I’ve always wanted to run a long distance like this so when I decided I was going to do it, I added a little purpose to the goal I had set. You can read about why I ran, and who I ran for in a post here. I started training about three months before the race and as you can imagine, the milage started somewhat low (3 to 4 miles) and ended somewhat high (9 to 10 miles). I’ve been running since my mom signed me up for a track club when I was 10 years old. My mom was a runner and I’ve always loved to run. I guess you could say it runs in the family.
But this challenge, the challenge of a half-marathon was scary. That’s a LONG way to run. It’s always a little scary to do something you’ve never done before isn’t it?
I won’t bore you with the training details because, well, they’re even boring to me. The race day came. October 12th. Hundreds of people came to take on the same challenge I had signed up for. Some a half-marathon, some a full-marathon. The horn went off and the fastest runners took off first and it was staggered from there. I, of course, was in the back, planning to jog at a comfortable pace I hoped I could maintain for 13.1 miles.
The course was beautiful. Mostly run on forest preserve trails and river trails lined with fall-colored trees and filled with the sounds of crunching gravel. I love that sound. Mile 1, 2, and 3 came quickly. At miles 6 and 7 my husband and son were waiting to cheer me on which brought a HUGE smile to my face and to my heart. It gave me a nice little push for a couple more miles. But at about mile 9 something other than happiness and adrenaline started to set in. That something was pain. PAIN. 9 miles was the furthest I had gone in any of my training runs so once I passed mile marker 9, I was then running further than I had ever run in my life. Crazy.
But I still had 4 miles to go and everything in the lower half of my body was screaming in pain. My body wanted me to stop. Maybe even needed me to stop. But in my head… I was determined not to let the pain define this race for me. I was going to finish. And I was going to finish strong.
Doesn’t this happen to us in ‘real’ life sometimes? Like life outside of running? Our pain screams so loudly at us to give up, to throw in the towel, to refuse to go on. I’ve got pain in my life, past and present, and I know you do, too. We all do. Our pain wants to define us, to tell us who we are. And who we are not. Depending on how deep and ugly the pain, it may even try and get you to believe that you aren’t worth loving or that you’re all alone and no one could possibly understand. But that’s just not true.
Here IS the truth. Our pain does not define us. It is NOT our IDENTITY. It is a part of our story, yes, but our stories belong to our Creator and He loves to turn our pain into something good. For His glory.
Do you have pain from your past that you’ve allowed to seep into your identity? Or maybe pain from your present that is holding you back from receiving the good things God has for you? We can all make a choice today, together, to stop allowing our pain to define us.
We are NOT broken. We are NOT alone. We are NOT worthless. We are His.
Courtney is a mom, wife, friend, and Instagram addict. She lives in the Chicago area with her Pastor husband and three year old son. She is a fan of summer time, chai tea lattes, running, making new friends, traveling, and loving the ‘least of these’. She blogs at storyhope.com and you can usually find her talking about life, faith, and finding hope in brokenness.