Back in November I went to a Toby Mac concert with my sister and my niece. I'm not really a concert person, but when I saw who all would be performing, I was pumped. I love Toby Mac and I LOVE Mandisa. Before the concert I only knew a few of her songs and that she was on American Idol at some point. Now I follow her on Facebook and I am regularly encouraged by what she has to say and by who she is.
My favorite favorite favorite song of hers was/is Overcomer and I listened to it often while training for and running the 50 miler in November. God has been so good to me (why, I'm not sure) and I have not had to really overcome much in my 34 years of life so far. But as many of you running moms know, getting back into running after having a child is not easy. I enjoyed the challenge, but it was tough and I wondered (and still do) if I'd ever be the runner I was before having Eloise. Not that I was amazing or anything, but I'd worked hard to get where I was, and after pregnancy, recovery and motherhood... I just wasn't sure how in the world I'd get back there. I still wonder.
So I approached the 50 miler never really believing I was trained, never being quite sure I could do it, doubting and telling myself untruths like, "You just aren't that kind of runner anymore, Jane." But I did it. And I didn't do half bad!
Then a month later came the Rocket City Marathon. I signed up to run this race with my friend, Shannon, who was aiming for a 4:15. Well... I was not recovered and Shannon had trained for a much faster marathon than what she'd first predicted. But I wanted to be true to my word so on race day, I showed up ready to run with my friend. At mile 16 she left me, as I told her she must if I couldn't keep up. And then I had 10 lonely miles of tired legs and that little voice telling me, "You haven't trained for this. You shouldn't be doing it. You aren't this kind of runner anymore. You are slow." Etc. Etc. Etc.
So I replaced that little voice with the words of Mandisa's song, Overcomer.
"The same man, the Great I AM, the One who overcame death - He's living inside of you. So just hold tight, fix your eyes on the one who holds your life. There's nothing He can't do..."
"Don't quit, don't give in, you're an overcomer. Don't quit don't give in, you're an overcomer."
"You're an overcomer. Stay in the fight till the final round. You're not going under..."
Sometimes I shake my head and think, "God doesn't care about your silly marathon time. He's got starving, abused children to take care of!" But His word tells me that He does and to bring it all to Him. So I quieted all the doubt with this wonderful song and I finished that marathon strong. It wasn't an impressive time and it wasn't a personal record, but because I knew how I felt out there and what I'd overcome, I was very happy with it. And grateful.
That song was my theme for those months of training and racing and doubting and striving. And any time those voices show up again, I play that song in my head or in my ears. Being an overcomer isn't always about running, but because I am a runner I have seen that I can overcome. I can overcome physical discomfort and distress, I can overcome the weather, I can overcome the desire to quit, I can overcome weariness. So when those voices tell me other things like, "You aren't a very good friend. You probably shouldn't have another child because you are too selfish. You are so uninteresting, what could you possibly have to say? You aren't devoted enough. Go ahead and have another brownie. You are too tired today...." I remind myself that I am an overcomer, with the Spirit of the One who overcame the world living in me. And there's NOTHING He can't do!
I don't know Mandisa personally, but I love that girl. Here's her song if you haven't heard it. I guarantee you'll feel like conquering something if you give it a listen (or dancing or both). Even if that something is just the dishes or the laundry or forgiving someone or being patient in traffic. You're an overcomer too.