Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All In

Yes, lady and gentleman, it's official.  It's taken me 41 years and nearly 7 months to determine what most who know me were already aware of.  I have lost my marbles.  Not just some of them - ALL of them.  Yes, for many of you, this is not all that surprising.  But for some, let me explain.

A marathon is defined by Merriam Webster's as "a footrace run on an open course usually of 26 miles and 385 yards, also known as 26.2 miles.  First held at the revived Olympic Games in 1896, it commemorates the legendary feat of a Greek soldier who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC, a distance of about 25 miles, to report the Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon, after which he dropped dead."  Are you starting to understand the 'lost my marbles' statement in my opening paragraph above?  No, you say?  Well let me help make it crystal clear.  I decided to sign up for the Bank of America 2013 Chicago Marathon.  26.2 miles.  On foot.  With no one chasing me (that I know of, at least).  

Now, I've run marathons before - 5 to be exact.  Well, 4 and 3/4 if you count the Marathon of 2007 (reference this article in which I was quoted from a Time Magazine web reporter - didn't you know I was famous? http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1669408,00.html).  But it should be noted that my overall time increased from 4:45 in my first one to something around 5:35 in my last one.  I've had the worst leg cramps imaginable in each of these, and hobbled to the finish line in all but one.  Once my sister and wife insisted I go to the hospital for fluids and muscle relaxers (which, in hindsight was probably a good decision).  

So why am I doing this, you ask?  The last marathon I did was in 2009.  What would possess me to climb back on the horse and run another marathon?  It's simple, really.  I love to run!  I love passing by different things as I run.  And running with 45,000 other people in downtown Chicago on an October morning is hard to beat.  Not to mention the crowd of people that comes out to watch, cheer, and provide some of the best moral support any runner can ask for.  I miss the training.  I miss hitting the pavement early in the morning or late at night.  Also, a lifelong friend of mine is doing it with his brother and sister-in-law, as well as a high school friend and a college friend (these are just the people I know of).  It should be a blast.  

A couple of days ago, I ventured out for what was just my second run of 2013.  It was a two and a half mile run, and it hurt.  I'm not quite in the shape I used to be, but I will get back there between now and October 13th.  That much I am sure of.  I need to stay in shape just to keep up with my son.  Who knows?  Maybe one day he will run one - maybe with me.       


Friday, April 5, 2013

Doubt

I believe in God.  I believe in Jesus Christ.  I believe that He suffered, died, and rose from the dead to save us from sin.  I also believe that He alone can save us.  I believe in heaven and hell.  Many of you reading this will stop right here, close the blog, and walk away, possibly uttering something not very nice under your breath.  But if you read on, I am more than willing to discuss any of these issues with you.  My faith, my belief in these things, opposing thoughts and views, etc.  Feel free to comment on my blog, my facebook page, message me on facebook, or email me at bphayes1971@gmail.com.  

But I have to admit to you, my two readers, that I often have doubts.  I want to be transparent about this.  So, my two faithful readers, as you are reading this you might want to ask yourself the question 'What doubts do I have?'  I'll list some of mine below.

How can I be 100% certain I am going to heaven? 
It is by faith in Christ that we are saved, not by works.  But is it possible to 'sin your way out of heaven'?  In my heart, I know that Jesus defeated sin and that by accepting his promises, living with Him in my heart and repenting, I am saved by an unbelievable love and grace.  But my head still wrestles with it from time to time.  I think simply by asking these questions, though, that I am saved.  Because if I wasn't, I wouldn't care.    

Gay Marriage
I know what the Bible says about homosexuality and what the church teaches.  I have heard/read arguments on both sides of the fence on this issue.  I have seen some very harsh judgement, and I cannot say that I'm okay with that.  I know what the Christian stance is on the issue, but I would be lying if I could say that I'm not conflicted on the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage.  Many of you reading this may not like this much.  But, this is me being transparent, remember?

Am I Good Enough?
Yes!  A thousand times yes!  Because God says I am.  But often times, I listen to the wrong voice - the voice of doubt.  I believe that voice is Satan working on me.  The voice that a certain group of people don't like me.  The voice that says I'm not good enough for God to love me.  The voice that says I am not a good husband, father, son, brother or friend.  Yes, you found me out!  I hear voices!  Kidding, sort of.  I've struggled with all of these thoughts from time to time.  When I am focused on God, I know better.  If God loved me enough to send His Son to die on a cross for me, then how can I not be anything but thankful?  

These are just some of my doubts, the things that I struggle with from time to time.  If I continued to list them, this blog might never end.  Do you have doubts?  If so, what are they?  Feel free to leave a comment.  I know at least two of you read this, so hopefully I'll hear from at least two people.