What inspires you?

What I am trying to earn
What I am trying to earn

What inspires you? Sure, we get that question in school, from our spouse (if they are any good) our coaches and teachers. What do you come up with when you ask it to yourself?
I absorb stories of grand efforts of old men who sail around the world, or young people who run marathons, and my soul says, “Wow.” Godvine.com stories can touch my soul, but I have a special crossroad. My lack of a real good answer to, “what inspires me?” leads me to a void. It is now a battle that exists between my ears.
Just six months ago, this was a non-question. I am inspired by what can be done to lead my family. I felt awe watching how God works. I got the willies listening to stories about those labelled as overcomers. Indeed, half of the music I listen to has inspirational roots associated with overcoming obstacles beyond one’s control.
The sword has two edges, now. My right foot is not OK. Details are unnecessary, but the bottom line is that I will be arriving at this race with a measureable handicap. I can’t run at 100%, and I had to halt what would be a normal cruise of a bike ride, due to foot pain. What should have been a screamer of a bike ride yesterday afternoon turned into a battle with pain.
Concurrently, I am receiving feedback from others about how I have inspired them. People who I work with, go to church with, family members, and those in our local community tickle my ears with references to my progress that includes words like “inspiration,” “heroic” and the like.
I have had expectations that include the following assumptions.
1) I can succeed and join the US National Team, if I race at peak capabilities.
2) My success is unshakably linked with my training.
3) My commitment has the potential to affect future generations in our family.
4) I will be better off just for trying, regardless of outcome.
None of those have been proven wrong. Yet, my foot isn’t working to expectations, and it has altered my spirit.
There is really only one question of significance to discuss. What I am going to do about it?
Physically, the answer is short and sweet. I am not going to be able to do final physical preparation like my competition will. My relationship with my body will be one of rest, ice, stretching and more rest. I will not get any long runs in before leaving, nor will I get to simulate the event as a final walk through. Upon arrival, I won’t get on my bike and do a long ride, to get a feel for the desert. I will be resting from my craft until race day.
Emotionally, I have to accept that I am as ready as I can get. There is nothing short of doping that will help me improve. I am not prepared to deal with the consequences of getting caught doping…that is off the table.
Spiritually, I fall back to some real basic assumptions that pre-date time that I accept as pure Truth, with a capital T. All things work for the glory of God. Although I don’t see it at this time, perhaps one day I will, and this gives me hope.
Last night, at somewhere around 3 in the am, I got a gratitude check. Note that the word “gratitude” only differs from the word, “attitude” by only a few letters. It is my conclusion that the single greatest thing that affects our attitude is our levels of gratitude. Those with little or no gratitude have a bad attitude. Those with great gratitude for what they have a good attitude. Others see it.
Here is what God revealed to me last night. In the middle of setting Personal Records (PR) that only a few people can relate with, and I have been fortunate enough to catch some other baggage that would otherwise have been missed.
My resting heart rate is 38 beats per minute. This is extreme athlete.
I have never been better at time management, watching my company hit some really good levels of profitability throughout the time from qualification will now.
I have changed the way I eat, what I eat and how I view food. There is no more any, “one day, I will make the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). That day is here.
My view of music has changed. Junk in = junk out now applies to the music I put in my ears not just the food that goes in my mouth. My music inspires me to be the man of God that I was meant to be. It no longer just motivates me to keep up a tempo.
Others have shared that they too feel inspired. My youngest son is, as well as my father are touched by the goings on associated with event prep and have gone so far as to tell me. For my dad, this was the equivalent of jumping over the Grand Canyon in a hybrid vehicle.
People tell me that they saw me running or cycling when they first greet me. My identity in my local community is attached to my efforts.
My results border on unbelievable. Sure, there are the race results. But I am also getting beyond the “you can do this,” chatter. I am saying and hearing, “you just did this,” commentary. And, during times of melancholy when I am alone, I am seeing that I have not let myself have enough of those in life.
If I race at the rate that I went at 2 weeks ago, history dictates that I will be on Team USA. If not, I will have to wait till next year. Indeed, I already have signed up for a series of competitive events next year and I looked at next year’s qualifier.
Until literally an hour ago, my brain had embraced the idea of a “worst case event.” I can’t finish…I come in last…my body responds to rest with a poor performance, etc. There is no worst case. I am already a proven champion and need not feel any sort of shame using that word “Champion.” Even with a jacked up foot, I am so proud to represent Red Neck, North Carolina in front of the USA.
Yet, in the deepest part of my soul, I know just like any other athlete knows that this dream is empty and temporal. My body will continue to fail me, and there will be a day when it doesn’t work. It will not be enough to focus on this effort. I need more.
So do you. Whatever earthly goal you have, it will eventually end in hollowness. Whether you are an athlete or just like the stories of other athletes, you too will hit a day when that which you have counted on shall fail you. God can and will knock on your door in a unique way when you see this.
I am glad that He was here with me, these last 2 days. He loves me, regardless of performance. He loves me when I am full of success or lacking it. He will be with me on race day, even if I am doubting my abilities.
I am so glad that I carry this proverbial thorn in my side. I would have missed this message if my body was “good enough.”

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