“You have circled the mountain long enough; now turn north.” (Deuteronomy 2:3)
What a simple, yet powerful verse. I think I’m to the point of being dizzy from all of my circling and am not even sure which direction I am going. It’s time to STOP and turn north… keeping my eye on the prize. It’s like running a race and having all of the water stops along the way. My stops are not water stops, they are more like french fry stops! I “think” I am nourished along the way by the stuff that I put in my body. It keeps me going forward. The problem is that the end of the race is never in sight. I just keep getting to another “station” and take the wrong stuff. I just keep running around the track and it is getting harder and harder each time. I don’t see a break in the vicious circle that I’m running in. I need to STOP and turn north. Where does my nourishment and encouragement come from?
This weekend is Ironman Coeurd’Alene. Talk about a long and difficult journey. The thing that keeps those athletes moving forward is the end of the race. A dear friend posted a message to her ironman buddies on FB this morning that struck me. She wrote, “Remember, you’ve done the hard part–you got to the starting line. Tomorrow is just a nice long workout, in zone 4.” Now I’m not sure what zone 4 is, but I can infer what it means on my own journey.
My “race” is one that I’ve talked about for many years… can’t you just see me circling the mountain? Well, one can talk and talk and talk… and get absolutely no where. I’ve repeatedly started ‘training’ – at times harder than others. I’ve even seen some results. But then something happens… oh, I think we call that “life”… and I am thrown off the track. Each time this happens, it is more difficult to get back on. After all, the track is just one continuous circle that never ends. If I manage to get back on the track, more time has passed and the journey becomes more difficult. This past week I got up early to take a walk. I donned my “running” shoes (that in itself makes me laugh!) and my ipod. As I ventured off down the road, I had a sudden feeling that my mind was on the walk, but my body was missing. Who was this stranger walking with me? The walk seemed more difficult than it ever had been. I did not have the stamina that I’ve always had. I walked for 34 minutes… the same distance that I once was able to cover in less time. I actually felt a bit frightened and very concerned.
Now comes the hard part… working through the struggle and pain. Like every athlete who begins to train, it is difficult at first. I’m thinking that is zones 1-3. You have to push yourself and make yourself do things that you most likely don’t want to do, but you can’t get into the next zone until you have pushed yourself. You focus on that end goal… finishing… and finishing well. Ask any Ironman Athlete – this does not happen overnight. It is a long, hard journey, with great rewards along the way. And the end… glorious! Why do I think my journey is going to be easy, or should be easy, for that matter? If it were easy, then it would not be a journey I needed to be on in the first place! If an athlete gave up every time it got tough, they would never make it to the starting line of the big race. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure what zone 4 is. But for me, it represents that place you get to after you’ve trained long and hard… that place where you fall into the groove and cruise along at a steady pace and those bumps along the way don’t impact you as hard as they used to.
My race is not going to be easy, but I need to quit circling the mountain head north. Eventually I will get to my zone 4 – that place where it feels right and normal and natural to move each day and eat to live… rather than thinking about it and living to eat.
“I lift my eyes up… to the heavens,
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”