Every year in Marietta, Georgia, there is a huge community race called The Gobble Jog put on by Must Ministries that raises money to help the homeless and impoverished in the greater metro Atlanta area. This race is one of the biggest community events in Georgia of the year, if not the biggest, and pulls in thousands of runners, quite a bit of money, and is family friendly from packet pick-up to the after-race fun-fest.
About three years ago, this fatty decided that, on a whim, I was going to run the 10k portion of The Gobble Jog. I was a big bad man and the 5k just wasn’t enough. Now, it didn’t mean anything that I hadn’t run in years and I didn’t plan on training. I was just going to do it.
Surprisingly enough, I completed the race in just over the time that I wanted, but I had finished the race none the less. By the end of it my body was shutting down and the last quarter mile was literally hell on earth. I am just so thankful I didn’t make a show of it by puking everywhere. I am glad I did the race, but it was one of the hardest physical feats I had done up to that point.
Now, three years after the fact, and 30lbs lighter, I am going on daily jogs and once a week I jog over 6 miles to start off my day. There is such a difference in my running and health game from then until now. My heart rate doesn’t spike during the runs, I can actually breathe, I feel great, and most importantly, I don’t feel like losing last nights dinner at the end of the jog. I realize that just as getting healthier happens one day at a time, its the same for how I grow as a father.
A little over three years ago my son was born and I thought I could hustle through life as a father. I thought that just because I was generally a good person and followed the rules, that I would be a great father and that it would all go smoothly. I think we as dad’s can all agree that we have been there and that this thought process is just absolute garbage. Nothing can prepare you to go from not having any kids, to having one kid and being entrusted with the very great responsibility given to you by God to be your child’s ambassador. As Paul David Tripp mentions in his book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, none of us were brought in as able people. Not David, Abraham, Isaac or any of the other big boys in the Bible. God has designed us to be dependent on him. It’s when we rest in this dependence that we realize that we can actually run this race of fatherhood.
This race towards fatherhood is not a 5k, half marathon, or even an ultra-marathon. This race towards fatherhood is a lifetime of ups and downs, hard work, and hopefully a great start to the legacy that God desires for us to leave on. This race towards fatherhood takes training, practice, patience, endurance, and a million other things that help bring a little more peace to the process. So here’s to a lifetime of training, and to the fact that at the end of this race, no matter how hard we run it, we’re not going to lose our lunch, but instead leave a legacy that matters.