Each week my triathlon coach plans my workouts and posts them online for me. I like to look at the workouts in advance so I can plan how I’ll fit them into my busy schedule with my large family and also so I can psych myself up for the really challenging workouts.
This past week I checked my workout log and saw that I was scheduled to do a particularly hard bike ride. There is a lovely park with a lake near my house. A road in the park circles the lake in a 4.5mi loop that is *very* hilly. That makes for a great bike workout, especially when your coach asks you to ride each loop faster than the one before! The workout this week involved 8 loops ~ a 4 loop pattern, twice. So loop one was an easy warm up; loop 2 was at moderate intensity; loop three was at a solid tempo pace; and the 4th loop was the fastest. Then I got to repeat those 4 loops, on tired legs.
Not only that, but I did this workout a few weeks ago and was instructed to beat my times from that previous ride! Yikes!
I did have the advantage this time of knowing that I could ride that hilly loop 8 times because I’ve successfully completed that workout in the past. I wasn’t sure that I could better my times though.
Fortunately I also went into this workout knowing that my coach, who has worked with me and trained me for numerous races in the past, knows me well and has never given me a workout that I wasn’t prepared to execute.
I am in a tremendously difficult season of my life right now ~ and that’s putting it mildly! It is so, so easy for me to look even a short way into the future and gasp with dismay at the tasks I’m going to have to navigate. Internally I’ll be thinking, “Wait, what Lord?!! I’ll *never* be able to _____________!”
This past Wednesday, as I rode my bike in increasingly faster loops around the lake I realized this: Just as my coach won’t assign me a workout that I’m not prepared to do, neither will the Lord give me challenging situations without preparing me first.
My longer endurance bike rides at this point in training for my IronMan are about 3 hours. I almost always have a run scheduled when I get off of my bike. At that point in my workout it’s so easy for me to think “This is *hard*! How on *earth* am I going to bike twice this distance and then run a marathon this September?! I’ll *never* be able to do that!”
The truth is that today is not September 11 and I’m not supposed to be ready to do that today. I have confidence that my coach will have me ready when the day to race arrives. For now my job is to “do” today and trust my coach’s planning.
Perhaps you are familiar with Corrie ten Boom and her book The Hiding Place? Her family was instrumental in saving many Jews during World War 2. In that book Corrie relates a conversation that she had with her father about death and her fear that she couldn’t face what might be in her future.
Her father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed and gently began to ask Corrie a question: “When you and I go to Amsterdam–when do I give you your ticket?” She sniffed a few times before responding with “Why, just before we get on the train”. Her father then went on, “Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need–just in time”.
~Corrie ten Boom
As I (successfully!) completed my 8 loop bike workout challenge last week I was encouraged to remember that the Lord holds my future in His hands. He alone knows how very difficult my life is right now, and He also knows just what I’ll face tomorrow and the next day. He will continue to give me the grace I need for each hard situation, not in advance, but when I need it.
I know first-hand what it is to walk a very dark path. Perhaps you do too? But I’ve also experienced God “showing up” for me over and over, especially during the past 3 years.
When I tell you that I’ve experienced the Lord’s grace in my hard and very dark places and that I am confident that He’ll continue to meet me in my neediness, I am not saying that everything is going to be easily navigated. My training plan is hard now and it won’t be getting easier as I approach my race day, but I know that my coach will not give me any workouts that he isn’t confident I can do.
Just as I am faithfully showing up each day and doing each workout, in the same way the Lord reminded me, as I circled that lake this week, that all I am called to “do” is today, and if that is too overwhelming, all I really need to do is “now.” I can trust that He will provide the grace I need, just when I need it.
A friend posted this on Facebook and I’ve written it on a PostIt note and stuck to my computer as a gentle reminder:
Don’t imagine yourself in the future because that is you without the grace for the moment.
~ Kay Peycke
Aren’t you glad that He provides the grace we need, exactly when we need it?