Sarah Johnson is an educational consultant, author, and educator. Her blog is intended for audiences who want to engage around the topics of balance, resilience, and faith.
Sarah is co-author of Balance Like a Pirate: Going Beyond Work-Life Balance to Ignite Passion and Thrive as an Educator.
Find out more about her at sarahsajohnson.com.
Rising Above Injury
Injury. A word I never throw around lightly and one that has hovered over my head within the past three and half years in various forms of threat. Over time, (1339 days to be exact) my body has demonstrated a miraculous ability to take the pounding of pavement in ways that defy logic. Until yesterday.
As I headed out on my nine mile run, things were seemingly set well. I had left early enough so that I would be back in time to be present as mom while my husband would have the gift of time with his friends. As I headed out the door, I popped on Jen Hatmaker's latest podcast--a highly engaging episode with Jo Saxton on Knowing Your Influence by leading from within. Conditions were perfect, and I had hydrated well enough. My mind was focused mostly on the day's activities after completing the run as I set out and less on the run itself.
Just shy of mile three, I felt the same twinge in my hamstring that I had experienced in the presence of my running partner a few days earlier. I figured then it was dehydration. After a few minutes of the pain intensifying, I began to sit in the realization that this was not just a twinge that was going to go away. If you could see inside my brain on long runs, you would see a reel of determination and stubbornness that has steadied me through this lengthy running streak as well as to complete two marathons pretty well. So, to say that it was an internal battle to stop running and do a run/walk back home completing only five and a half of the nine planned miles is placing it smack in the center of a blessed understatement. The entire way back I spent my mental energy on not injuring myself further, on coping with the idea of giving up marathon training, on promising myself I would begin cross-training and all the other smart things more intelligent runners do.
Throughout the day yesterday, I was more gentle with my legs than normal. I bought a compression sleeve for my knee, put it up for a bit in the afternoon, and noticed the pain. All. Day. Long. In the evening, I went to school to supervise sectional playoffs, an event which brings in over 1300 people and requires me to stand and walk a lot. I shared about my injury with several people. The entire time, thinking, "I am going to have to give up this marathon." And also this...
The idea of an injury sidelining me did not devastate me. In fact, I shared with my co-authors, Jessicas Johnson and Cabeen that due to being more balanced, this was not devastating me the way it would have even a year ago. That is truth.
But it was still hard.
Which is why when I went out for my run this afternoon and discovered once again the power of a strong spiritual connection through running, that I was completely humbled, grateful, and in awe of the good work being done in me once again.
When I set out, I was hesitant at first, but I leaned in and began with a prayer of gratitude to be able to run. I spent the first mile thinking about how I had begun to take the gift for granted again, internally cringing when I began to realize how lately I have been dreading runs in the dark. I began to listen carefully for the internal direction that has become so important in my life and brought about incredible transformation. There it was. The commanding, comforting, authoritative voice sharing with me the beauty in yet another lesson.
All of these had slowly begun to slide away with the plan for this marathon training. Instead of heading out with a clear mind, ready to seek His words for me, I was filling my thoughts with others' insights. Though valid and useful were these messages from others, that's not what my current season needs to be. I was checking boxes, running to get it done to be ready in June. But that's not what is going to get me to rise with his purpose in me. And the timing ties very well to the timeline of my departure from my current position, which is no coincidence either.
This marathon is going to happen. And I am going to absolutely rock it out of the park. How do I know? Because for 24 hours, I was injured enough where it hurt to walk or sit around. In this afternoon's run, where God reminded me of what it is I am to be working through in this season, I ran 3.5 miles at 8:00 minute pace, which is a full minute faster than what I have been doing this winter. I listened. Focused. Leaned.
And now, in this post, I give Him the glory again. My leg feels better tonight. It will be ok moving forward. I am assured of this enough to post it publicly, because part of what I am called to do this year is RISE with His purpose in me. And this was to do with running. And much much more. However, tonight, it is about gratitude once again for this gift of time to be with Him in nature with nobody else to cloud my thoughts or arrange my next.
At the end of this day that started with a clear message in response to the quest for direction, I am honored to choose to live life less safely so that I can feel the thrill of knowing His purpose rise in me.
Exactly one year ago today, I was given the spiritually driven direction to leave my position as a high school principal. I can literally still feel my heart pump as I recorded the words flowing from my hand onto my journal. The fear. The excitement. The questions.
Fast forward to today.
I just completed an interview for the In AWE Podcast that still has me reeling with its clear message to me in regard to the mission in what I am doing now. My guest was speaking about her own mission, but in that message shined through my own purpose, and I am so grateful to notice.
Though my professional path is still forming, what is clear to me today is that my passion and strengths are coming together in a way that will honor my life purpose for the rest of it.
However, I still have a lot of listening and hard work to do.
For example, on my run this morning, I allowed my path to be driven by the call from The Spirit, and I found myself heading down a road that I have avoided for quite a while. W…
After a year of #RISE where I learned to speak with purpose and step into my faith, the oneword for this year came to me first as a surprise. Honestly, my initial reaction was that I had already slayed the giant. I faced fear and left my career where I felt safe and purposed, stepping out where not many would go in a leap of faith and trust. Had I not battled through months of giants where I was searching for where God was leading me?
The answer is no. I simply rose.
Of course rising was not simple at all. When I wrote the post about my one word last year, I was full of trepidation to speak so openly about faith, and specifically about the Holy Spirit speaking life into me. After all, I had spent a chapter of my life muting that passion and living out of fear at times. What if people were offended or started calling me out? Placing myself out there as a person who leads with fait…
It happened again. Someone I admire and respect completed a suicide, and my wounds are laid bare all afresh. Suicide survival is a club nobody asked to be in, and admission comes with a lifelong process of reliving the devastation on repeat. I know this because my first loss occurred in 2000, and each time I think of the circumstances and absence of that person in my life, it feels like an exposed bone, throbbing anew. I dream of him and still experience that sensation when I wake up that he is on this Earth today until reality smacks me hard again. The feelings have receded over the 18 years since, but they remain and creep up with any new experience.
With this most recent loss, I find myself checking in on my brother's Facebook page, sorting through old photos. I stopped myself from watching his tribute video by a narrow margin and even thinking of it brings fresh tears. Though I am no longer in the acute grief stage, it sure feels like it when I cannot stop myself from going do…