Rest = Strength

Jennifer_Stephens_3Last weekend Fit First participated in the Cowtown 5K, Half marathon, and Marathon. What an amazing experience and accomplishment to share with our community. Fellow runners supported each other along the course with words of encouragement. The community was a comforting sight, especially as the miles increased. Neighborhoods had viewing parties and supplied the participants with water, Gatorade, bananas, and my favorite Starburst. Children lined the streets with signs that made me laugh and little hands to high-five. Throughout Fit First’s training I have used the hashtag “better together” and I know that without the support of the community many of the participants wouldn’t finish the race. It is amazing what a word of encouragement and a familiar face can do for the body. Each time I passed someone who was yelling my name or saying “keep going” I could feel the renewal of energy. We are truly better together!

5kgroupfinisherNow that the Cowtown is over, I went to the orthopedist and was advised to allow my body to rest in order to become stronger. As we work out, we cause tiny tears in the muscle fibers, which the body then repairs and adapts and allows the muscles to grow (hypertrophy). Allowing our bodies time to rest allows our bodies to get stronger. But if we do not allow our body time to rest and heal, over time an injury can occur. For many years I just ran through the pain. I never allowed my body to heal from all the miles I ran, which resulted in buildup of scar tissue and IT Band Syndrome. During my training for this past week’s marathon, I was receiving treatment from a physical therapist twice a week just so I could finish the marathon.

finish line 1As I was walking home from the doctor’s office, I began thinking of how allowing my body to physically heal is the same as allowing my body to spiritually heal. Over time little tears occur in our souls from hurt, loss, pride, and failures. When we keep pushing through day by day the tears continue to build up and we become weary. This past year I have become busier in my life with work, papers to write, books to read, and the many other obligations that I have agreed to lead. Each day I spend a little less time in prayer or in silence and a little more time being busy. I didn’t notice it at first but as I became weary and anxiety began to build up, I noticed that not only had I taken time away from resting in God — I had quit doing it all together. We must rest in God and give our souls time to heal. Just as we must give our bodies rest in order to heal, we must also allow our souls to heal as we rest in God. As we rest and heal we find our strength in God. As we enter this time of Lent, let us allow our souls to rest and draw close to God, allowing God’s presence as we search and find peace and healing. As we rest, the healing will result in strength.

Fit First’s purpose is to continue to grow in strength together as we build relationships and conquer new mountains. I hope you will join us in this life journey and see what is next.

See you on the trails!

Jennifer

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