Living with Open Hands

I only have 16 days until the Country Music Half Marathon. My training was going pretty well until recently.

An Outstretched Hand, Palms Up - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #14064507

Photo courtesy of ©

I didn’t run at all during Holy Week. I had two authors in town, plus all the additional services at Church. (In our Church, we have lots of services. We often say, “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the liturgy.”) I just had more to do than I could physically get done.

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On Monday morning, I ran five miles. I could have run another two. I was surprised how good I felt. I didn’t seem to experience any impact from taking a week off. I assumed I would just pick up and run this week what I had planned to do last week. No such luck.

On Monday evening, I came down with a bad cold. I stayed home from work Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn’t feel like doing much, and I didn’t want to infect anyone else.

I got up this morning and felt even worse. The cold has moved from my head to my chest. But, I’m going to the doctor this afternoon. Enough is enough! This is the first time I have been sick in about two years, and I don’t like it one bit. Hopefully, the doctor can help. I don’t want this turning into a secondary infection.

So, I’m not sure what this will do to my training. It certainly isn’t optimal. I want to taper off the week before the race, so next week is basically all the time I will have for training. Gail had this same cold two weeks ago and it lasted four days. If mine follows a similar course, I maybe close to the end.

Oh well, this is one more reminder of why you have to live life with your hands open. You can tighten your grip on anything—especially your plans. But life is not that predictable. And just when you think it is, something happens to remind you it isn’t. As the Scripture says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

As a result, I’m going to “go with the flow” and try to do the best I can. I am learning to keep it all in perspective.

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  • Kyle Chowning

    Proverbs 16:9 is a profound scripture.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Michael, I’m sorry to hear about you being sick. Something that works well for me are those “Cold-eze” zinc lozenges. I have two small boys (1 and 2) and I’m working on finishing my degree, and I simply don’t have time to be sick. Normally one of my kids gets a cold, then the other, then my wife, and by the time my wife finishes we’re so far behind on everything it’s not funny. Those lozenges normally get me through it without getting sick myself, and when I do get a cold they bring me through it very quickly.

  • VL

    You will finish the race and do great. Remember it is about the Journey. Just look at what better physical shape you are in now than in December.
    I have certainly learned the open hands lesson. I am hoping to finish the Half under the 4 hour limit! :)

  • Lindsay Terry

    Hope you feel much better today! I have prayed for you and your family. I would like to hear the news that your daughter, who had such problems on vacation, is as “fit as a fiddle” now.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your goals, and your life in general, “warts and all.”

    You encourage us.


    Lindsay Terry

  • Woody

    Hey Mike:
    I’m a fellow Christian publisher employee who loves to run. I totally relate to your frustrations with schedules and sickness and how that can wreck your progress as you train for a race. Hope all goes well with the half marathon next week – is this your first? Enjoy! I ran the Chicago marathon a few years ago and will be running a 25K in about a month. Glad to finally have spring weather here which makes the outdoor runs much more pleasant! May God give you the “feet of a deer” in the race (Ps. 18:33)

  • Christopher Scott

    Michael, we’ve all got to learn to go with the flow.

    God takes us in many directions we never think we would have gone in. Even if we pray and seek His will, often he takes us on unexpected turns.

    Good job for you being willing to “go with the flow.”

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  • JST Books

    liquid zinc can reduce the severity of the common icy & help people recover faster.

  • Kelly Levatino

    I wrote a post a few weeks ago called Living Open-Handedly and happened to use the same photo :) Living open-handedly expresses to God that we trust Him. Even when things don’t make sense to us, we trust He will give us what we need when we need it, and we trust He will take away what we don’t need anymore in His perfect timing as well. It’s a freeing perspective :)