I am a quitter. I am a maker of bold statements and consequently an admitter of defeat. I have the best intentions, but they rarely become anything more. I tire, grow weary and lose faith, mostly in myself. I begin to think because something has never been, it never will be. I am a failure.
It’s probably impossible to count the number of times I’ve decided to change my life by eating well, working out more and saving money. Every time, I feel so sure that this is it, this is the time I will get better. I might remain on track for awhile, but inevitably I give up when life gets busy or stressful or I’m tired or any other excuse.
This defeatist practice of mine isn’t limited to my body and how I treat it. It might be in the form of making a life change to read more, travel more, do more. It’s easy at the beginning when you’re still so jazzed from the revelation, but reality sets in and makes everything harder.
Right now, I’m trapped. I’ve committed myself to two things that are difficult. Making the decision was easy, and both are what I need. Saying that, however, doesn’t remove the months of energy and faith I will need to see them fulfilled.
This May, after watching several of my friends run in the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon, I realized I wanted to be a part of that. Seeing all the determined runners cross the finish line and give all they had made me realized I’ve never achieved anything to this level. Sure, I do well in life, but I do well where it’s easy for me and once I’m challenged, I tend to back away.
To fight this head on, I registered for a half-marathon because I am truly insane.
Not running has always been my thing. I’m the one to make lame jokes about not being crazy and how I’d rather watch Netflix than spend two hours running. This deflection, thinly veiled as humor, was a representation of my fear. I am afraid.
It’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rarely will I take on something I know will be hard, strictly because I’m sure I will fail. I recognize my limitations and hide from pushing myself. Running makes me tired and sweaty and I can’t make it very far, so I put it into my ‘impossible’ category.
Let’s take a timeout and think of all the times we’ve used this impossible category in our brains and kept ourselves from something truly worthwhile. We’re sure we can’t or we won’t succeed or that person doesn’t like us, and we hide. Hide and wait for something safe to pursue that we know won’t hurt us. Curse you, brain.
Speaking of impossible, here’s life challenge number two: Leave. I have lived in Western Pennsylvania my entire life and loved almost every second. I dreamed of living in Pittsburgh for most of my teen years and it felt amazing when I made it a reality three years ago. Now, I truly believe God called me here for a time, but now I feel a gentle nudging, forcing me from my very comfortable life.
Because there’s my problem. I’m comfortable. Granted, this was nice as I worked through grad school and grew as a person surrounded by truly amazing friends. My job is good, my church is good and my friends are great, but I am just here.
I refused to imagine a life different than the one I had, and that became my problem. I never looked beyond Pittsburgh because I didn’t think I could make it and wanted to stay with what I knew, but God reminded me He has an amazing plan for me to prosper and is already there, fighting the giants in my path.
Two days into marathon training and I want to quit. Running is still really hard and I can’t run the entire time. I’m slow. My body is constantly screaming at me, confused why we’re doing this. Every instinct tells me this isn’t who I am and I need to stop.
Several weeks into contemplating a move, and the challenges continue to mount. I begin to think of all the details it will entail, like my current lease and finding somewhere else to live without any reference. Who would want to hire this out-of-state person for a job down south? Why am I good enough to get any of these jobs? Some nights, I look around my room that I love, covered in wall art within an inch of its life, and I think I should stay. It’s easier. I have everything I need here.
With both of these, I realize my strength alone will not get me through. I cannot do this alone. I will lose faith in myself to excel beyond my current job or ever be able to run several miles consecutively. I am afraid of what is ahead and discouraged about all the work I need to do.
I know it’s a cliché, especially when talking about running, but Isaiah 40:27-31 in the Message is basically everything I need right now.
“Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s the creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
In many ways, I’m a lot like Jon Snow because I truly know nothing. God has shown me time and time again that He is with me and preparing a great future, yet I doubt. I rely on myself and fail because I can’t do it alone. I am a young person in my prime who stumbles and gets tired. But I don’t want to be.
Instead of being Chelsea, maker of bold statements that she can’t stand by, I want to be Chelsea, believer of God’s promises. Instead of giving up because I can’t on my own, I will wait for fresh strength from God.
I’m writing this for several reasons, mainly for an actual record of my choice so when I have to run four miles this Saturday I can’t quit because my two subscribers and seven random spambots will know I committed to continuing to run. So when it takes months or years for this move to become something real, I’m still holding onto to the promise from God that it’s happening.
Living a safe life is what I needed until now. God gave me rest so He could push me at the right time. Right now, I’m terrified but I know it’s time. As AWOLNATION so brilliantly sings, “Never let your fear decide your fate,” and I won’t.