Perhaps a bit TOO ambitious…

Tonight around 140 people began a journey together. It was the first night of Fleet Feet’s “No Boundaries” Couch to 5K program. They divided us into three groups: turtles, gliders and the “more ambitious.” Since I had been working on running for 7 weeks already, I figured I would challenge myself and step up to the “more ambitious” group with my friend, Julie. Our dance card for the evening consisted of 6 intervals alternating 2 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking.

When the groups shook out, I quickly realized that, size-wise, I would make two of every other person in my group. Then the running commenced and I drifted to the rear fairly quickly. Bless Julie’s heart for hanging back with me. However, two things became clear to me. First, the faster pace was something I needed because I am WAY too slow. Second, I was able to do the run.

There were friends I had not seen in a long time as well as many new faces I look forward to getting to know. Encouragement abounded. I can already tell that this journey will be very fulfilling and I eagerly anticipate sharing the successes with my new friends.

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The Voice of Truth

As I previously posted, six weeks ago I started a training program to run a 5K. My schedule over the past three days, however, prevented me from getting my “Day 3 of Week 6” run done. This morning I was determined to get with it. Today’s training regimen called for a five-minute warm-up walk followed by [GULP] a 25-minute run! Just last week I was able to successfully run 20 minutes without dying. But that was last week and today came on the heels of a LONG weekend of student ministry activity (including student ministry food like pizza, doughnuts and fried… everything.)

At the 15-minute mark I hit a wall. I made the mistake of looking at my watch and seeing that I had 10 minutes left, to which I audibly growled, “NOOOOOO!” I pushed on for another couple of minutes, but at the 18-minute mark I gave in. I started walking giving in to the voice in my head telling me that my heart was about to explode and my lungs were bleeding. Instantly, I was dejected. Then it happened. After about a minute of walking, the playlist I was listening to on my Droid kicked into Casting Crowns, “The Voice of Truth.” For the uninitiated, this song describes the constant battle that wages within us between the Truth of the reality of life in Jesus Christ and the lies that the enemy, Satan, would like us to believe about ourselves and this world. It is one of my all time favorite songs. Not only that, but the arrangement of the song lends itself to a very emotional and uplifting swell at the chorus that can transport one to that “Rocky Balboa” moment if you know what I mean.

As the verse gave way to the chorus, my anticipation and energy was building. I pressed the ear buds a little more firmly into place and commenced what I call the “Tiger Trot.” A not quite sprinting, yet definitely not walking pace, completing the run. Amazingly, I neither perished nor passed out. When I had time I went back and looked at the real data on my Droid.  At the time that I gave in and started walking, my heart rate wasn’t any higher than it was three minutes into my run. No joints were aching. My feet felt fine. There was even existing precedent for me running farther than that already. Clearly, the problem was not physical. The problem was in my head.

Upon further reflection, often this is exactly what we experience in our faith walk and in the church. We listen to and give credence to the voices that say:

“We can’t do that.”

“We don’t have the resources for that.”

“We’ve never done it that way before.”

“That could never work.”

“I could never be bold enough to share my faith like that.”

“That may work for them, but it could never work for me/us.”

It’s not that we try and fail. We never even try. Satan laughs. The Word of God [i.e. the Voice of Truth] in 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is Jesus talking. Even when we think we cannot, He tells us that we can. He made us. He knows what we are capable of and what HE is capable of through us. In fact, according to Colossians 1:27, the mystery of God is “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.”

We must stop thinking that we can’t do things and start ringing up victories in our lives for Him. Where God guides, He provides. We are the church of God and, “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Grace and peace.

Tracking Tiger

If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! If you have “tracked” my blog before you may know that it has been a coon’s age since it was last updated. You may also notice a brand new design. Think of this as tigerbrooks.com 2.0. I was not satisfied with the first generation and I will say that this one may evolve even more, but we are getting there. I appreciate you taking the time to visit.

The title of this post, however, does not just relate to tracking my blog. In June of 2009, my wife Paige and I began a journey toward better health and wellness.  Over the course of time, after developing better eating habits, walking, hiking and some weight training, I lost 55 lbs.  In the Spring of 2010, I slacked off and coasted until Christmas, gaining back about 15 lbs.

Paige made the transition from walking to running in January of 2010 and it has revolutionized her overall health. I scoffed at the thought of starting a running regimen at age 40, throwing up all kinds of excuses from being a big guy to protecting my knees. But as I have observed Paige and her dramatic physiological strides, not to mention, the enjoyment and confidence she has gained from running, I have been won over. Last month, I started a “couch-to-5K” program by downloading an app to my Droid phone. I am currently in week 5 and I can tell with each passing week that I can run greater distances without stopping or… well… keeling over.

Next month, I will be joining a number of folks for the “No Boundaries” program through Fleet Feet in Kingsport. The goal will be working up to running in First Baptist Church’s AmazinGrace 5K in May. So the deeper meaning behind the “Tracking Tiger” title is the opportunity to follow my progress and cheer me on, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, the challenge to join me in this effort. If I can motivate someone to begin the transition from sedentary and unhealthy to “moving” in the right direction, I would be ecstatic! There is something to be said for accountability and camaraderie. If I can do it anyone can. When I started in June 2009, I was 6′ 5″ and 317 lbs. Now, I am still the same height, but I am many strides south of 317! It has been a rocky road with many potholes and detours, but I am keeping on keeping on so that I can be fit for the work to which God has called me. You are not too old. You are not too out of shape. You are not too late.

There will be an informational meeting about the No Boundaries program Tuesday, February 22 at Fleet Feet in Kingsport. Click the link to find out more. Go by the store and they can get you information and fully outfitted. It doesn’t hurt that you can listen to 88.3fm WCQR while you are there!

Here’s to your health! God bless!