Hold Fast to What is Good

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.” – Orebela Gbenga

Meditations in Motion

I went for a run today for the first time in nine days. It went pretty well. I ran 5.6 miles, slowly, but with very little pain. This is the longest I have run since the disaster marathon almost six weeks ago.

I have resigned myself to the fact that my upcoming Marine Corps Marathon will be mostly a walk. I considered bailing out of the race. MCM has a liberal deferment policy and allows bib transfers, unlike most other races. I just couldn’t do it, though.

I asked my doctor if she thought the long walk would exacerbate my injury, and she said no, so I decided to press on with my plan. I have seven hours to finish, and I believe I will need most, if not all of that time. After seven hours, runners are required to board straggler buses and will not be considered official finishers.

Meditations in Motion

I signed up for MCM with a lot of anticipation and exhilaration. I was registered to run it with my hubby years ago but came down with the flu right before the race. Bill wound up running it by himself, then came down with the same illness the day after the marathon. To say I was disappointed by not getting to run the Marine Corps Marathon is an understatement. This year, I wanted vindication.

The hope and excitement of signing up for the marathon six months ago have long since worn off. My commitment to doing the race matters to no one but me, but it matters to me.

Meditations in Motion

There have been notable times in my life when I have bailed out on something significant, and I am not proud of them. After receiving logistical, emotional, and financial support from my parents to complete four years of college and receive a teaching degree, I taught for one year and hated it.

I didn’t enjoy the students, made few friends among my colleagues, and did not respect my administrators. I went back to waiting on tables, a job I held throughout college. I made good money, in fact, more than I made teaching, but it felt like a defeat, as if I was letting myself and those who loved me down.

My parents never reproached me, in fact, they never made me feel bad about my decision in any way. They just wanted me to be happy. It was truly a “prodigal daughter” situation.

In time, I had the opportunity to try substitute teaching, loved it, and the rest is history. I had a wonderful 31 additional years in education. Education didn’t change, the kids didn’t change, and my colleagues and administrators didn’t change. I changed, I grew up. I realized what it meant to make a commitment.

Maybe that’s what it means to be an adult – you understand the value of a commitment. You appreciate dedication, fidelity, devotion, and faithfulness more than instant gratification or facile solutions. You consign your whole heart to a cause, a person or an activity.

Meditations in Motion

When we marry, we commit to one individual, but if we don’t understand what a commitment is, the marriage license is a worthless piece of paper, able to be undone at the first sign of trouble.

We jump into relationships in a rush of excitement and hope (and hormones). If we never get to know the person we are connected to, we make life-changing decisions such as where to live, how to handle finances, and whether to have children with a virtual stranger. If our commitment and loyalty are shaky, we jump ship when tribulations arrive (and they will arrive at some point).

Commitment precludes us from making excuses and enables us to make things happen. Commitments are powerful. They affect everything about our demeanor. If you are truly committed, quitting is not an option. You do everything in your power to solve the problems that are preventing you from reaching your goal. The temptation will always be there to take the easy way out, don’t get me wrong, but commitment allows us to persevere when we feel like quitting.

Here is the tricky part: we can’t commit to everything. We have to figure out which people, ideals, and activities are really important to us, and only commit to them. We have to allow things of lesser importance to slide on by. This has been illustrated to me over and over again since leaving my teaching career.

Meditations in Motion

I have had so many well-meaning friends and acquaintances offer me opportunities now that I am no longer working full-time. I have been offered the position of youth activities coordinator at church, teaching positions at local colleges and private schools, volunteer possibilities, and more. I have had to sift through all of the thoughtful offers and determine which ones I can truly commit to.

This has been tough for me to do. My natural inclination is to answer a question that begins with “Do you want to…?” with an immediate “Yes!” I have learned the value of my commitment, however, so I force myself to be discerning.

I am slowly learning the lesson from 1 Thessalonians “But test everything; hold fast to what is good.” I am holding fast to my goal of completing the Marine Corps Marathon. I have made my commitment.

So. What is it that you are committed to? Which goals are non-negotiable to you? Who or what is truly worthy of your dedication and effort? What are you holding fast to?

 

I am linking up with Char at Trekking Thru, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Shank You Very Much for her Dream Team, Eclectic Evelyn for her Words on Wednesday, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs  for the Coaches’ Corner linkup, Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies for her link up, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, and Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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55 comments

  1. I was in the same predicament when I ran MCM in 2012. I was coming off of an injured hip, which was still cranky at times, and suspected I’d need to walk. A lot. Beating the Bridge was my sole focus. I did it and you will too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the book by Lysa Terkeurst called The Best Yes. It is so helpful to remember how to say no to things that are good so you have the space to say yes to things that are the best.

    Wishing you all the best in your race! Praying God surprises you all along the way in all the best ways!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve made so many good points here, Laurie, that I hardly know where to begin. I guess I’ll just say how much I admire your tenacity with your running, and see so many ways in which that level of discipline has spilled over into other areas of your living and thinking.
    It’s great to read your words, because you do inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am in a season where I am needed at home. I want to say yes to everything… ministry and social but know I need to honor God by doing what he has placed before me first. #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, we will celebrate 33 years of marriage next month. Commitment or be committed, LOL?

    Oddly enough, I’m really committed when it comes to training. It’s important to me. Not all my running friends understand that at all, but for me, if I don’t train, I can easily end up injured. Still, it’s more than that. It’s kind of funny, because I will never be faster, and yet I am very committed to working hard to be fast-er.

    And then there are the animals. I definitely go above & beyond what most people will do for their animals. Not saying that as a holier-than-thou statement, but I guess since I didn’t want kids, that’s where I pour all that maternal instincts into.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on 33 years! I wonder the same thing sometimes – commitment or be committed? Ha! Being committed to training and the fur kids is commendable. I think most runners are pretty familiar with commitment. It must be part of what makes us runners.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you, I didn’t enjoy working with the students when I graduated from college with a health and physical education degree. I simply hated my first year at a high school, but enjoyed working with middle schoolers the following year. Marriage and life took me across the country and back, and I eventually fell into personal training which is where I feel I belong! I’m still using my degree that my parents generously paid for AND I’m still in my field, albeit not in the way I expected.

    I’m sorry that the MCM isn’t going to be the experience you were hoping expecting. Perhaps you can come back to run it another time. It’s a wonderful race as I’m sure Bill shared his run.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is so easy to be a Yes person. Have been there more times than I care. But I also learned that people care if you get overwhelmed by too many yeses. I wish you the best in the Marine Corps Marathon. I understand the love and passion you have for running. Have fun but be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved your writing about preparing to teach, hating it, and then being very successful at it. I majored in music, assuming I would teach it in school. When practice teaching, I found I was allergic to children in the classroom! God had his hand on me, though. The organist at the church we attended, offered to teach me the rudiments of playing the organ. In return, I subbed for him when there was a transit strike and he couldn’t get to the church. We moved, and I was the permanent sub at the new church, later becoming the organist for 25 years. God’s plans were so much better than mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was in a similar predicament in 2015 when I had Grandma’s Marathon happening and a nasty case of plantar fasciitis (my first-ever time experiencing it). I also had my first ultra a month after Grandma’s, and that was the priority race. I treated Grandma’s as an extended training run LOL, let myself walk a few times, and crossed that finish line. And I made it to the ultra, and crossed that finish line, too. Had I not been so committed to the ultra, I probably would have bailed on Grandma’s, too (and several runner friends were surprised I went ahead and did both)….but my commitment carried me and gave me a view of the bigger picture. It sounds like you have the drive, determination, and commitment to finish MCM…and you have the common sense to do it safely 😉 Rock on, Laurie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kim. Runners really do understand commitment. I do not question my drive or determination, just my physical ability to cross the line under the time limit. I am going to try my best, though. Until this year, my slowest marathon was about 4:30-something. Now I am worried about crossing in under 7! Ugh!

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  10. Lots of wisdom here! It is important to carefully consider what we say yes to and then to commit to those things even when it gets tough! I love your commitment to finish the race and I hope it goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have to admire your parents on this, had they had a different attitude it may have been harder for you and yes, working with children can be difficult, I found day care and foster care to be quite different,and my personal ministry does well over a broad range.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another thoughtful and wonderful post. Too many of us take commitment for granted. We think we can just stop whenever we want. But if we’re purposeful when choosing our commitments, like you said, we won’t ever want to give up on them. I think it’s amazing you’re going to walk the race. I honestly don’t know if I’d have it in me to walk for seven hours!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m about the last person on Earth who would sign up for any marathon, let alone a Marine Corps Marathon. But I would be first in line to salute your commitment to yourself. Those commitments are the ones that hurt the most when broken, even if nobody else knows or cares.

    However, if your body won’t cooperate, it doesn’t mean your spirit is beaten. Just sayin’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jan. Yes, I have thought that through, too, just in case I don’t make the 7 hour time limit. I have a great role model. The friend whom I am going to this marathon with did a 56 mile race in South Africa this summer. She missed the time cut off at mile 42 and could not finish the race. She gave it her all, though and had a wonderful adventure. It was a positive experience for her. I hope to be able to say the same thing, even if I don’t finish the race. Plus, all of those hunky marines handing our water at the aid stations are so appealing! 😉

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  14. I think commitment is good. Many people seem to be flaky nowadays. It seems so easy for them to just say: “Well, I don’t feel like it at the moment.” That’s definitely not something that works for me. But you do have to know your limits.

    Liked by 1 person

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