Your One Brave Act Today

Years ago, my dad and I used to run together every morning. We ran a few 5Ks and tossed in some 10Ks and a couple half-marathons. The Los Angeles Marathon was coming up, and even though Dad’s schedule didn’t allow time for him to train, I decided to go for it.

Your One Brave Act Today
(Photo: By Jon Rawlinson (The Long Road Ahead) CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Hitting the Wall

I had only one concern—“hitting the wall.” Marathon runners will tell you that hitting the wall feels like a near-death experience because the body’s store of energy is totally depleted and the body begins to shut down. Some marathoners limp, others fall or pass out, a few shake uncontrollably. The physical fatigue is flat-out miserable—and that’s not counting the mental struggle between choosing to collapse or move forward. As a result, one must mentally push on and force the body to follow . . . mind over matter.

Race day came, and I did everything runners do to avoid hitting the wall. I grabbed water at every mile marker, gobbled on bits of nutrition bars, and got a good pace established.

All was well . . . until mile 16.

Unexpectedly, I smacked square into the wall. I slowed my pace, asked my friend and fellow runner to slow down and walk with me, and fought hard to finish the race. Physically exhausted, I realized I had to focus on the final goal—finishing the race . . . and 10.2 miles later, I crossed that finish line and fell down with delight!

Other Walls in Life

Hitting the wall doesn’t just happen in marathons; it also happens in life. From out of the blue, having done all the right things, we can become totally depleted in soul.

How am I so sure? I hit one the other day.

The house was still and silent, as bits of dust sparkled through the sunlit window. I was reading a book my daughter gave me for Christmas about doing one brave act each day for a year. While flipping through the motivating, moving quotes, a swell of emotions surfaced. I swallowed, wishing I could suppress what was surfacing. Instead, I was engulfed with exhaustion. I hit the wall and a burst of wet sorrow spilled onto the page. Drizzly tears dampened the book’s cover, and my brave act for the day was admitting I needed rest and allowing tears to fall.

Photo by marcos_bh on freeimages.com

Photo by marcos_bh on freeimages.com

Help When Hitting the Wall

I don’t like asking for help, but quite simply, a number of life changes in 2014 had exhausted my physical, emotional, and spiritual resources. I couldn’t keep running or distracting myself; my soul needed to be replenished. In the silence, I reflected on the marathon many years back and what it took to finish the race.

  • I asked for help.
  • I slowed my pace.
  • I focused on the eternal finish line.
  • I took walks.
  • I asked God to fortify my soul as only He can do.

Just as I was working through the silence, I received an e-mail from my son who was also hitting the wall. 2014 was a non-stop year for him as well.

He wrote:

Hi Mom,

It’s me, Jon! I am in my teacher’s office and I’m really sad and I came in here so I could cry in private. My teacher told me that many people have some of the feelings and life changes like I have had—but not all at one time and life is hard sometimes! She said that I am doing great and that she is proud of me. We talked about some good things, and she let me cry too. I love you! Thanks, Mom!

—Jon

Your Turn

At some point in time, we all hit walls—maybe right now you or a close friend is hitting some kind of wall. How do you handle such hardships? Those who have hit walls before understand the experience without being told the details. We just . . . get it. Have you allowed the walls you hit to impact your soul? Are you able to help another who has depleted his or her spiritual, emotional, or physical reserves? Maybe your one brave act today is to let go and hit the wall, be vulnerable, and ask for help. Or maybe it’s time to embrace one who needs help.

Either way, hitting the wall requires a few steps to make it to the finish line. Remember?

  • Ask for help.
  • Slow our pace.
  • Focus on the eternal finish line.
  • Take walks.
  • Ask God to fortify our souls as only He can do.

Let Me Hear from You

What is your one brave act today? Sometimes courage or bravery doesn’t show up like a mighty, majestic, fierce fortification; it shows up when we slow down and let silence surround us. I wrote my son back and told him he wasn’t alone, I was so proud of him, he was going to make it, and that I loved him deeply. I say the same to you.

As we look toward the finish line, what is your one brave act today?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • A great post, Colleen. We’ve all hit that wall. Your suggestions for getting over it are some I’d like to apply. Thank you.

    • Wayne,
      Great to hear from you. It’s amazing to me that the suggestions are so simple, refreshing, and rewarding in the long run, but hard to do for many reasons. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable, say no to some things that seem important, or just slow down; staying busy keeps us from acknowledging needs and caring for our soul quite often. I would love to know which you do try and how it works out for you. In other words…what is your next brave thing???? = ) Have a great day. Colleen

  • Ann Holmes

    O, Colleen, you hit it out of the park by God’s grace!!! Thank you so much! SO much life today that I had missed your post so thanks for pointing it out! Wow, Jon!!! That’s a keeper!

  • VickiHD

    Colleen,
    LOVED todays post !!!! It’s so appropriate that it came out today since I just got done signing my husband and myself up for another 1/2 marathon. 🙂
    I hit the wall a lot last year and it was difficult to accept that I needed or actually had to slow down and take a break, refuel, and rest. I had to accept that I couldn’t go at the speed I was used to and I had to try and do life differently. It’s still challenging to keep life in balance. But spending more time in prayer, and reading is helping with that. Making a conscious decision to turn things over to the LORD has made a difference. My hope is by doing this, I will be able to tackle problems and hit the wall with a little more grace than before.
    Keeping this in the running theme….God is our coach. But we have to show up and put in the time for our training runs. Like you said, “focus on the eternal finish line”. But luckily it still just one step at a time.
    Have a great week and hope your training goes well.
    Blessings,
    Vicki

  • I really enjoyed your post, I occasionally forget that the wall exists, that it is out there waiting to popup in front of me. Sometimes I think we hit the wall so hard we are stunned for awhile and don’t realize what has happened. A think that can especially happen with special needs parents because so often the demands for our focus and attentions are so great. I think it takes an extra effort and awareness of the wall being there to help prevent us from slamming into it.

  • Jolene Philo

    What a great post, Colleen, and perfectly timed. For the past month and a half, life has been a repeated series of hitting the walls. It takes all my gumption to pick up the phone to call Mom’s insurance companies, financial institutions, and residential care center to tie up loose ends. And thank you for adding a link to DifferentDream.com’s Tuesday special needs link up once again.

  • Jolene,
    Oh my…the process of caregiving is endless…and you are a caregiver to several so I can’t imagine the exhaustion. You are so kind to write and offer to share the blog on your link. I’m happy to know this was encouraging to you. It sometimes helps to hear someone else say they hit the wall too. I understand and pray the Lord will fill you with His supply of strength as you press on with your many demands. Have a great day. Colleen