Last week was a bit of a rough week for me mentally. Since getting back from Panama a little over a month ago, I’ve had several “tweaks” of my achilles tendon on my right leg. It happened again last week Tuesday when I started picking up the intensity for 70.3 Texas in April. I felt the slight twinge for the first time about 4 miles into my run, which was just under half way through the run. I ignored it thinking it was just in my head and kept pushing it. I’ve taught myself to push through discomfort, and figured this was just another test. By the end of the last interval, I knew that twinge wasn’t just in my head, because even though I ignored it, the sharp pain was more than just a little twinge.
Later that day I realized that my achilles probably never got fully healed when I aggravated it a month ago. The thought of having to sit this entire season crossed my mind. It scared me… no, it paralyzed me. I didn’t know what I would do… or who I would be.
Fast forward to Saturday night when I attended church at Destiny Church. That night the Youth Pastor, Steve, spoke on the topic of pride in a series called “Kingdom of Me.” This series has been about how we as humans try to build our own kingdom with earthly things only to have it come crashing down on us. The saying “pride comes before fall” is a well known phrase, and is probably no stranger in our lives. The example Pastor Steve used came from 2 Chronicles where King Uzziah was blessed tremendously with a large army, riches, and peace. However, it didn’t take long for him to forget where all these blessings came from and how blessed he was.
Near the beginning of the sermon, Pastor Steve gave the example of how football players dance or show off in some other way after nearly every play they are involved in to let people know how awesome they are. However, pride doesn’t always show outwardly. Pride manifest itself inwardly when we start looking at our accomplishments and thinking “man… I’m so great. Look at everything that I have done and build up for myself.” Or maybe for public figures, such as athletes, they think that the world owes it to them and they should be given everything for free. Or it could be even as simple as liking the attention that he/she receives from being able to do what they do well.
I began analyzing my thoughts swirling in my head that dealt with “who would I be if I can’t race,” and “without racing, people won’t care who I am.”
In the past, I’ve told people that I don’t really like the limelight much. Sometimes I just want to go somewhere and hang out with people and not be introduced as Mike the professional triathlete. At times I just want to blend in and be “normal.” But what may not be public knowledge about me is that I like marching to my beat and blazing my own path. I like working hard and reaping the rewards of the time and effort that I put it. I enjoy looking back on where I came from and where I am now. Then the secret I was keeping from myself surface… I crave the attention from people. I realized that I was harboring pride in my life. Ouch! For someone that likes to think that he doesn’t struggle with this issue, this was a harsh reality.
Has this whole achilles issue been a way to get my attention… it’s very likely. It made me realize again where I came from as a freshman in high school struggling with an eating disorder and the desire to be notice and how God provided friends/family to get me through that time and eventually introduced endurance sports to me as an outlet.
I was reminded of who I am. A person that’s been given grace/mercy and a gift to share with others.