Oh, and a lot of internal whining that I'm going to die, that I can't do this, why am I doing this?
I meditated on Mark 11:23 yesterday: "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says."
He will have WHATEVER HE SAYS??? (I feel sure this works in the negative as well as the positive)
Here's how I pressed forward in my dip yesterday:
I thought of a crisp, coolish race day morning in September (fantasy, I know!).
I pictured myself several pounds thinner in cute running clothes.
I saw my friends there to cheer me on.
I saw myself running the entire 3.1 miles without cardiac arrest.
Most importantly, I countered every negative thought with an audible "I can do this! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (The guy on the treadmill next to me was either distracted or similarly spurred on.) After all, if I'm going to have whatever I say, I want to speak victory!
The next thing I knew, I had met my goal of running four 1/4th mile sprints in a two-mile session in less than 30 minutes. (Rein in your envy--not many can run/walk a 15-minute mile!) For good measure, I also addressed abs, biceps and triceps. (Maybe next time I'll pass on that reward cookie I had later in the evening.)
So, here's what I noticed about these metrics:
- On the graph above, the whole endeavor is uphill except for the descent into failure. UPHILL (mountains!) is a tangible, painful concept to a person who can barely run on a flat surface that moves for me and is located in an air-conditioned room. Every now and then I give myself a little bit of incline just so I can appreciate flatness, and I wonder: where did I ever get the idea that success shouldn't be so hard?
- Even the descent into The Dip is difficult, characterized not by ease, necessarily, but by hard work that just doesn't seem to be paying off.
- On the treadmill, I am able to easily measure improvements in 1/100th of a mile increments. This is SO empowering. My progress has been thus: 1/8th mile, 1/6th mile, 1/5th mile, 1/8th mile (DIP), 1/4th mile (response to Dip). This is not the slightest bit impressive to my athletic sons, but I do not compare myself to others or downplay my progress. I congratulate myself for going to the gym, staying on the treadmill, and going a little further than I think I can.
- Words matter: "You shall decree a thing and it shall be established unto you..." (Job 22:28)
I'd love to hear about the dips you've climbed out of. How did you do it?