God is so good to me. He usually gives me 8 solid hours of sleep each night. Last night, however, I slept for an unbelievable 9 and a half hours. When I woke up I felt super refreshed and eager to hit the gym, where I had a monster workout.
This morning I found myself chatting with some guys about exercise and injuries. Many of them are coming back from injuries, which really got me thinking. Even when you're used to it, exercise is still difficult. Sometimes the pain you feel is not from an injury. It's the kind that comes from pushing yourself -- the kind you feel halfway through a marathon or halfway up a 14,000 foot mountain. I know I'm not alone when I say that I both love and hate this kind of pain. It is both exhilarating and agonizing all at once. You dig and dig and hope you don't fall apart.
As a runner and climber (though a complete novice at both sports), I would like the hard parts of my sports life to remind me to also seek challenges in the other areas of my life, to venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to the books I write or the talks I give. Overall, it's a good place to be in, this spot between exhilaration and agony, moving forward in life with purpose, embracing both your strengths and weaknesses, always striving to "excel in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). It's a fun and worthy goal to strive for, as we seek to become the best version of our own unique self.