Today, my “This Is What a Preacher Looks Like” T-shirt journeyed with me to the gym.  I woke up this morning knowing that today was the day and wondering if I had it in me.

I have never been a runner.  My body is not really built to be running around, but about a month ago I decided to take on a new challenge.  As a part of my overall goals for getting healthier I started the “Couch to 5K” plan.  People kept asking me: “What 5K are you training for?” It never really occurred to me to train for a specific 5K. I just wanted to see if I could run.  I’ve been going to the gym regularly for the last year but needed to take more steps to be healthier.  This was just a new challenge.

The first few weeks I was not sure if I was going to make it.  Or to be more specific, I wasn’t if my knees and ankles were going to make it.  But with the help of biofreeze and my chiropractor, I made it.  And running got easier and easier, and I really began to look forward to the days when I was supposed to run the plan.

Today was a great challenge.  I felt poetic putting on my “This Is What a Preacher Looks Like” T-shirt.  Not taking the moment too seriously, I added my socks, the ones that have monkeys saying, “Holla!”  I felt ready.  And I did it. I ran twenty minutes non-stop today.  But today was not the end of the program. Within a matter of weeks I will still be expected to run thirty and then forty-five minutes.  But, today I hit a new goal.  I’ve never run twenty minutes in my entire life, at any weight or age.  I grew up doing church activities, not athletic activities.

On a chalkboard by the front door in my home, I have the words, “Live with no fear.”  Two women have given me words of wisdom over the last few years.  Wanda Kidd once told me that I exuded fear in the way I live my life, especially my love life.  I needed to “live with no fear.”  I don’t think she realized how much I have taken those words to heart.  Suzii Paynter told me recently when sharing advice for all women: “We need to allow God to dream big dreams for us as women in ministry.  Those big dreams have not been fostered in us.”

In the last few years, I have chosen to not just allow life to happen to me.  I want to be intentional with how I approach my life and my ministry, and now, my health.  Too often, especially as women, we get so caught in our busy lives that we just allow life to happen to us.   We forget that we have a choice, maybe not about all of life’s circumstances, but how we will respond and the new experiences we will create.

For me, running is a tangible example of achievement in a world of slow personal growth and ministry of which I may never see the benefits.  It is a reminder that I am capable of more than I ever thought I was.  I mean . . . I am a woman in ministry.  I can handle just about anything.

Charity Roberson is the Raleigh Area Baptist Campus Minister, Raleigh, North Carolina.