Dec 13, 2012
Kathryn Nixon Puts It In Perspective
On December 8th I ran my 3rd marathon of 2012. Three times I tried to qualify for Boston and three times I did not succeed. I was frustrated and discouraged. I felt like I had put in the effort and worked so hard, only to have failed. But then I realized what had happened. I had made qualifying for Boston an idol. I had put it on a pedestal where it didn’t belong.
If you haven’t ever heard my husband’s testimony I will share it with you now. The loneliest, most empty he has ever felt inside was when he returned home in the middle of the night after winning the 2004 World Series. It had been his dream – his lifetime goal since he was a little boy. He had put it on a pedestal and when he succeeded he felt empty and void inside. He thought, “Is that it? Is that ALL there is?” He had taken his focus off of God and off what really matters – the journey of getting there, the people in our lives and the experiences that happen along the way.
Yes, it is okay for us to set high goals and to work hard to achieve those goals. We are runners, athletes & competitors – determination and perseverance are what we’re all about. But to obsess about it and stress about it is not what God wants us to do. I was measuring my significance by my success. But what I had forgotten is that my significance is not based on anything I do or don’t achieve. It’s based on who I am. Running has always been an important part of my life–my stress reliever, my mood-lifter, my time to pray, my comfort, my time to heal and my peace. This year I was not a happy runner. I was robbed of the joy I once I had for running by allowing the Boston goal to dominate my mind and my thoughts. One thing I know is that when our heart’s desire lines up with God’s desire for us, blessings abound. But, when there is pride and self-centeredness at the root of our motives, the end result, even if it IS in our favor, will never be fully gratifying. I believe all of this is for our own good. There was a greater reason I didn’t succeed in my goal this year. I had to learn a lesson – a hard and painful lesson, but one worth learning. God has given me this gift of being able to do something I love. I have been blessed to run Boston four times as a part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute team. To run for those who cannot run. I have so many family members and friends I have lost to cancer and who are battling cancer. I am so blessed to have the health to run. He has given each of us the gift of running. I had the honor of running with Shannon and Sami in the Kiawah Marathon. Sami commented on how quiet the race was and how cool it was that all you could hear were everyone’s footsteps. I thought that is awesome–how we are all in this together. This race called life. God has given us an amazing running group of friends that support each other with love and encouragement and coaches that genuinely care and truly want to help us reach our goals. In the good races and the bad. At the end of the race we celebrated in Shannon’s victory and everyone comforted me in my defeat. THAT is what I am thankful for, what running has brought to my life—joy, friends, peace, love and happiness. I love what Kristin Armstrong says, “I am not a good runner because I am me; I am a good me because I am a runner.”
Megan you are right, our time does not define who we are. And Tom, thank you for the most important reminder, when you always ask, “Why do we do this?”
We know what the answer is—for the love of the run. Run happy! Run with Joy!
Am I going to run another marathon next year? I am planning on it. But I will not be robbed of the joy in doing so. I will enjoy every minute of it because I am blessed to be a runner.
Let the joy of the Lord be your strength dear friends. I look forward to sharing the road with you in 2013.