Embrace the Possible: Lessons from a Half Marathon

Embrace the Possible Running

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’!” This quote by Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorites, because so often, the difference between success and failure is our perspective. A decade ago, I equated running a mile as an impossibility, thanks to a curvy spine and the enablement of doctor’s notes excusing me from my physical education classes in college.

Then, after graduation, my brother dared me to run anyway and get in the best shape of my life. I accepted the challenge, pushing through shin splints and back spasms. Eventually, I plateaued at 3-4 miles. In other words, I became too comfortable with my routine, until a friend invited me to run a half marathon with her this year.

Last week, I ran those 13.1 miles in a time better than I could have thought possible. This physical dare has taught me to embrace the potential of seemingly impossible goals. I hope what I’ve learned might encourage you today.

3 Ways to Embrace the Possible:

#1: We can do all things God calls us to do.

When God gives us a desire to do something, we shouldn’t ignore it. Perhaps running a half marathon seems like a superficial goal, but I’ve learned that God often uses our ordinary passions to demonstrate his extraordinary sufficiency.

A notable example is Olympic athlete Eric Liddell, whose story became famous from the movie Chariots of Fire. He was a Christian athlete who qualified to compete in the 1924 Olympics but refused to run his best event, the 100 meters, because it took place on Sunday, a day he felt should be set apart for God. Instead, he qualified for a different race no one thought he could win and brought home the gold.

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His story still challenges believers today to keep Christ as the first priority in their lives. After all, Liddell stood for God, not only in the athletic arena, but also on the mission field of China where he later gave his life.

Whatever purpose God calls you to complete, run toward it with everything you have. The journey won’t be easy, but it will be worth every ounce of pain and sacrifice.

#2: We can use our weaknesses to encourage others.

Overcoming our obstacles and being open about our stories helps give others the courage to face their own giants. Few of us can relate to geniuses and overnight wonders, but we do love a good Cinderella story.

As an author, I spend substantial amounts of time on my characterization, not just on my characters’ physical descriptions, but more importantly, on their internal motivations, goals, and conflicts. After all, we relate to flawed heroes and heroines; dynamic characters who change and grow interest us the most. Why? Because we crave the reminder that ordinary people can best their struggles, too. Even in fiction, we need to relate and remember we’re not alone.

The Apostle Paul touches on this topic when he challenges the Corinthians to use their own suffering to “comfort” those who are going through similar situations (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). As believers, we’re also to come alongside each other and share our burdens (Galatians 6:2).

Being open makes us vulnerable, but it also invites potential to empower others to focus not on what they can’t do, but on what they can through the strength of Christ.

#3: We can use all circumstances to glorify God.

In my guest closet, there’s a whole box of high school trophies I need to toss, because they’re taking up space and collecting dust. For the moment, the only purpose they serve is to remind me that if I strive for personal recognition, my work is meaningless and will be forgotten.

In other words, self-glory fades fast. If we live for recognition, we’ll find our achievements empty and pointless. But if we use them as opportunities to build relationships and point people to Christ, then we’ll find true satisfaction.

The purpose of sharing both our setbacks and successes are to reflect God’s grace and give Him glory for anything He allows us to accomplish.

What “I’m-Possible” goals do you have, and what are you going to do with them?

Written by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell

My goal is to encourage readers to find faith in life's everyday adventures. I pray that God’s light will shine through my books, blog, and personal walk to point people to Jesus Christ and His awesome plan for them.

6 thoughts on “Embrace the Possible: Lessons from a Half Marathon

  1. So encouraging, Kristen! I’ve got a couple of goals that I’m believing to achieve before the end of the year. The only way I’m going to make it happen is by trusting God!

    1. Thanks, Alex! You’re absolutely right. I wish you all the best in your goals. May God provide wisdom, endurance, and direction to help you achieve them.

  2. Great stuff Kristen! Loved this part;

    “God often uses our ordinary passions to demonstrate his extraordinary sufficiency.”

    1. Thank you, Garrett! Yes, God is so generous and good to work through us using the very passions He’s inspired. I appreciate your comment. Blessings to you!

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