Psalm 18:29 “In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.”
Labored breathing ignites. Weakness spreads through your body. Sore muscles ache with intense pain. Exhaustion soaks up the last drops of motivation. Overwhelmed with the miles left to go, your pace slows down to a shuffle. Negative thoughts saturate your mind. Impossible. I can’t keep going.
You’ve hit the wall.
Sometimes without warning, it’s when sudden fatigue and loss of energy overtake us runners. Some have described hitting the wall like this: A sledgehammer slammed down on my entire body. A charging elephant trampled me to the ground. My legs turned into concrete.
Once you’ve hit a wall, you must embrace some proven strategies to keep going. Slow down your pace and walk. Stretch out your achy muscles. Consume a sports drink or gel to refuel. Whatever you do, don’t just stop. As impossible as it seems, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Break up your remaining distance into segments. Tell yourself you’re going to make it to the next mile marker, street light, intersection or building.
Luis Manzo, a sports psychologist and running coach, recommends recruiting a running partner to jump in with you at a point where you anticipate a struggle in the run, almost as if fighting for you.
After years in the wilderness, Joshua and the Israelites came face to face with their wall. The city of Jericho, surrounded by walls 12 feet high and five feet thick, stopped them in their tracks.
It looked impossible. Insurmountable. Thoughts of giving up and turning around flooded their minds.
Yet God led them—through Joshua—to courageously conquer what appeared impossible. They were instructed to march around the city walls one time for six days in a row. It probably didn’t make sense to them. But they kept marching, one step at a time. Finally on the seventh day, God told Joshua to have the people march around seven times!
Imagine being in that crowd of people. Exhausted. Nothing left. Feeling stuck.
In that moment they could’ve walked away and given up hope. Yet they kept on going. Faithfully moving forward one step at a time. And there in front of their very eyes, they watched those seemingly impenetrable walls come crashing down.
In our own lives, we sometimes feel like we’ve hit a wall. We come face-to-face with something that stops us in our tracks, knocking us off our feet. Suddenly crushed to the core, we think, I can’t get through this!
What’s a real life wall look like? A troubled marriage. Diagnosis for cancer. Losing your job. Financial distress. A strained relationship. Your wall may look totally different though. But it’s anything that appears impossible or insurmountable. Whatever it is, there is hope. No matter how wide or how tall your wall looks, it’s not the end.
Just like the Israelites, we can choose to trust God’s unique plan, even when it doesn’t make sense. We keep moving, one foot in front of the other. We don’t run in the opposite direction. We don’t stand still as if paralyzed. We persevere and keep going. We let God do the fighting for us.
When we focus on the actual wall in front of us, despair and fear overwhelm us. But God promises to go ahead of us, making our path straight.
READY? Identify a wall you’re facing right now. Are you standing still or running away from it? What’s the next step you can take to get through the wall? Are you willing to keep going even when God’s plan doesn’t make sense?
GET SET. Hebrews 11:30 “It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” (Also read Joshua 6:2-16)
GO! Dear God, I thank you for your faithfulness and patience with me when I’m facing a wall in my life. Help me to focus on your truth and strength instead of the obstacles in front of me. Help me to walk obediently with confidence, just as the Israelites did when Joshua led them around the city walls. Amen.