July 7: Endure

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.

Psalm 23

My cup overflows when I am on the trails, running through the trees, just me, the wildflowers, my body, the wildlife, and my breath. I enjoy running endurance distances, such as 50K and 50 miles. People often ask, “WHAT do you possibly think about for 50 miles?” My response is always the same. I pray. I chant inspiring bible verses. I remember tips from my uncle, my running mentor who used to say, “lean into the hill.” I also conduct serious negotiations with my body. “Hello hip. I understand you are hurting right now. If you just finish this race, I promise you a comforting Epsom salt bath when we are done.” And sometimes, I sing Britney Spears out loud, really loud, just for fun. Endurance running is my therapy, my sanctuary, my peace.

Recently, an injury made it impossible to run. Stresses from work and relationships made the situation even more difficult. I was unable to fill my cup. I entered into a very dark, personal valley. However, I realized my endurance running skills prepared me for this time of darkness:

endure2

Pray.

Rely on bible verses.

Lean into the challenge.

Listen to God.

Understand that if I endure the challenges, He will comfort me.

Enjoy the experience – Britney Spears optional.

What fills your cup? How do you enjoy it fully?
How do you prepare to endure the “valley of the shadow of death?”

 by Rachel Gibson

As you go about your day, keep your eyes open.
What does “Endure” look like to you? 

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