Friday, June 25, 2021

In the Zone

Only 19 miles to go to the finish line. I just need to focus, one step at a time, pace, form, hydration, nutrition… hey there’s a bird!  Back to the zone, focus, you got this, just keep going… I wonder what I’ll have for dinner after the race.  Ugh!

I think we’ve all had that experience. We need to be in the zone, but we find our minds wandering aimlessly.  It takes every bit of effort to reign-in the wandering mind and regain a sense of focus.



I’ve been told about meditation and mindfulness for years, and I’ve tried practicing them many times, and the key word is, “tried.” I used to think I’m the least mindful person in the world, until I realized that many people struggle with the same thing.

I find the same in my prayer life. I start with the best of intentions, I focus my thoughts on God, but then my prayer for my neighbor, who has cancer, turns into a prayer for her family, and I pray for her husband. Then I wonder if her husband ever got the boat fixed, which reminds me that I need to change the oil on my boat, and I wonder if Saturday will be a nice day to go on the boat, and I sure can’t wait for warmer weather… Again, ugh!

God’s Perspective

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you” (Proverbs 4:25).  The physical part of focus is easier than the mental part, but the physical part is a great enabler for the mental.

The Bible also tells us to lock-in or fix our thoughts on Jesus.  Hebrews 3:1 says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”  Locking in on Jesus allows us to have a very specific, narrow mental focus. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  This too helps remind us to keep our focus away from temporary, earthly things, which often consume our thoughts and mental energy.

Satan, the enemy of our lives, wants us to be busy and distracted.  In fact, busyness is one of his most powerful weapons, as it is a very effective tool for keeping us from spending time with God and focusing our lives on Him.

Hitting the Zone

If you ever watch an athlete at the pinnacle of their sport, you’ll see an incredible focus.  Anything less will result in defeat.  A baseball batter must have the ultimate focus as he aims to hit a baseball coming in at 90 miles per hour and sinking, curving, or even rising at the end. A football receiver must catch a ball being thrown dozens of yards across a football field, while in stride, and while preparing to be hit by an anxiously awaiting defender.  

In my endurance races, I’ve found that there are times when my mind can wander, but there are times when I need to be dialed in with laser-like precision.  When my favorite cycling instructor pushes us up on wattage or cadence, she will always call out, “Watch your number – if you stop watching it, it will fall.”  And she’s right.  

Whether it be in training or in a race, when I need to hit the zone, there are a few things I need to do:

  • Eyes – I need to have an environment where I can physically see and focus on the goal with my eyes. That may be a certain number, like wattage or cadence, on a bike ride.  It may be my pace or cadence on a run.  No matter what, I need a place to focus my eyes.
  • Ears – I need to have an environment where I’m not distracted by what I’m listening to.  I can’t focus while listening to music; others can.  I can’t focus as well if I’m on a bike ride but listening to the cars coming up on me and wondering if I’m safe.  I need to be safe and free from sound distractions that will take away my focus.
  • Body – I need to have an environment where my body is immersed in what I’m trying to focus on.  On the bike, I need to be in a tight aero position, and on a run, I need to be locked in on my running form.  When I stray from these, my mind goes also.
  • Mind – this is the tough part, but I need to create a sense of urgency and intensity, and I need to focus on a purpose.  Whether it be holding a number on the bike, holding a pace on the run, or simply just putting one foot in front of the other, I need to convince my mind of the importance and create the necessary focus.

Prayer Zone

Having struggled mightily with my prayer life for years, I finally learned how to improve my focus.  Deep down, I believe that God wants our focus, but He also understands when our minds wander during prayer. I believe God would rather have us pray and get distracted than not pray at all. 

In a recent running race, I had taken on one prayer request per mile to bless others while keeping my mind focused on God for the race.  I was amazed at the results.  I was able to focus my eyes on the path ahead – no distractions.  Other than the sounds of nature, there really weren’t any audible distractions.  Physically, my body was locked in on my running form, and I really had to just focus on continuing to put one foot in front of the others.  Lastly, I attempted to keep my prayers very direct and focused. I didn’t try to tackle the whole list at once or recite War and Peace.  It was just simple, straight-forward, personal conversation with God.  As a visual, I imagined Jesus was running next to me, and He and I were just talking, like friends.  It worked.

Your Zone

If you struggle like I do, I urge you to think about the other factors associated with your prayer life.  Where are you praying?  What are your visual focus points and visual distractions?  What are your audible opportunities and distractions?  What are the various body postures and activities that enable you to be in the zone?  Try it out, see what works, and make it yours.  Most of all, think of it as a conversation with your best friend standing (or running) next to you.  After all, He is.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at


Friday, June 4, 2021

What's Your Why

This past winter, I felt a nudge to do a fifty-mile run.  I’ve been competing in endurance events for the past seven years for my favorite charity, the Hope Water Project, so this seemed like a natural evolution to my racing portfolio, even though I didn’t think I was physically capable of succeeding.  I’ve been down this path before – first with a marathon, then with an Ironman. Somehow, I believed that with the right training, and with the faith that God would show up when I needed Him most, this might be possible. So, I decided to go for it.

Once I mentally committed to doing a fifty-mile race, I did my research and created a training plan.  At that point, I picked a specific race and began preparations.  As I began fundraising, I heard one question from nearly everyone with whom I discussed this race, “Why?”


What’s Your Why?

I’ve often looked at people who’ve done ultra-marathon races and asked the same question, “Why?”  Why would someone to sign up for a race that they didn’t know if they could finish and risk thousands of training hours on failure?  Why would someone to sign up for a race that takes an inordinate amount of mental and physical energy in terms of planning, training, preparing, and then racing?  Why would someone sign up for training and a race that will likely incur injuries along the way and physical pain both during and after the race?  

Like any major decision in life, we look through the lens of our 3 Ps: purpose, passion, and priorities.  If you haven’t thought about this before, let me implore you to take a few introspective minutes and think about your 3 Ps. 

  • What’s your purpose?  What motivates you?  When you wake up every day, what gets your blood pumping?  What’s the one thing that will be most important when you someday look back on your life?
  • What are your passions?  What do you love to spend your time on?  What are those things you do that energize you the most? If money and time were unlimited, how would you spend them? 
  • What are your priorities? What are the things that are of the most value to you?    How would you rank things like faith, family, health, work, hobbies?  

In my case, my purpose is to positively impact the lives of others for God’s kingdom, and in this case, a race is an opportunity to raise money for the Hope Water Project.  It’s also an opportunity to train and race with others, using sports as a platform to drive positive impact and share God’s love.  Lastly, it. aligns with my passions for health and endurance sports, and it fits within my priorities of faith and health.  To me, when I felt called to do a fifty miler, the decision was a no brainer.

God’s Perspective

In the Bible, God has a lot to say about purpose and why we’re here.  Starting in the book of Genesis, God created mankind to live in the presence of God (Genesis 2:15).  More than anything, He wanted us to live in relationship with both Him and others.

God also made us to reflect His image and His glory (Genesis 1:27). God wants us to live our lives in a way that reflects the fact that we are made in His image.  He also wants us to glorify Him in all that we do.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Above all, God wants us to seek Him.  His door is always open for us.

One of the greatest priorities is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.” 

God’s sense of purpose for our lives, and eternities, is clear: be in relationship, reflect God’s image, glorify God, seek His kingdom and righteousness, and make disciples.

What’s your purpose in life?  Why do you believe God put you on earth?  How are you seeking the kingdom and living a life that reflects and glorifies the Father while spreading His love?


In the weeks preceding the race, I experienced a myriad of injuries that impacted my training and caused me to question if I could make the distance.  In my final weekend of heavy training, I was able to run 31 miles, but at the end, I was struggling to keep moving and was in so much pain that I wondered how I’d ever last another mile, much less 19.

As race-day approached, a friend suggested that I solicit 50 prayer requests, one for each of the 50 miles of the race, as a way to connect with God, pray for others, and keep my mind in a positive place on race day.

The Race

The field of runners was limited to 200, and the course was a winding, hilly, two-mile path that covered the full spectrum of terrain, including gravel, dirt, mud, grass, and stone. The race started in a chilly but sunny 28 degrees, and as the day went on, I was able to shed layers as the temperature climbed into the mid 50s.

The first 31 miles of the race were challenging due to the hills, terrain, temperature, and my pre-existing injuries.  However, I’d run that far before, so mentally I knew I could do it.  The real question in my mind was around what would happen in the last 19 miles.  There were two battles taking place at that point.  There was the physical battle, which required that I continued running fast enough to make the 12-hour cutoff while managing my nutrition, hydration, and pain.  There was also the mental battle, which required that I focus on my why, prayer, and my strength in Christ.

Physically, I continued to execute on my race strategy, which included nutrition, hydration, pain management, and pacing.  Mentally, I used the strategy of 50 prayers in 50 miles to keep the focus on God. It truly felt like I spent 12 hours straight in prayer. I also leaned on my why.  I took every opportunity possible to connect with others on the course, and I knew that if I could achieve my goal, I could glorify God and appropriately give Him the credit for success.

Every minute of the last ten miles was rough.  The pain was intense, my pace was slowing, and I was battling the cutoff clock.  I truly believe my close connection with God was working in my favor, as I continued to pray earnestly throughout the race and kept thinking about my why.  I felt God’s presence as I prayed each of the 50 prayers, and I truly felt that He would help me cross the finish line.

As I approached the 50-mile goal, I realized that I was going to make it.  Tears of joy streamed down my face as I reached the finish line, nearly 12 hours after the race began, and I simply looked up to the heavens in thanks.  I knew that this wasn’t my accomplishment – I had leaned on the power of God and the strength of the Holy Spirit to carry me.  

God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

If you’d like to contribute to the Hope Water Project, please visit my donation site at

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

Friday, May 14, 2021

Choose Joy

As I crossed the finish line at the Tulsa Marathon, I felt surprisingly strong and incredibly joyful. The events that morning were the most atypical of any marathon I had experienced. 

If you’d have told me that I would eat donuts, stop to take selfies, enjoy a mid-race slice of pizza, and partake in jello shots during a marathon, I’d have said, “You are nuts!” None of those activities are consistent with optimal athletic performance. However, I truly enjoyed this marathon because I set aside optimal athletic performance in exchange for quality time with my daughter, Lexi, as we raced together, laughed together, and enjoyed life together.


Live With Joy

The most fascinating experiences of my life have been those where I’ve seen joyful people who, by most earthly standards, have no business being joyful.  

On each of my three mission trips to Haiti, I struggled to wrap my head around how joyful the Haitians were.  These beautiful people live in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and they have limited food, clean water, sanitation, educational opportunities, health care, or material wealth.  Yet, I’ve never met people who were so fun, stress-free, relational, and truly joyful.

Happiness Isn’t Joy

Happiness and joy are not synonymous.  Happiness comes and goes based on circumstances and external factors.  True joy is an emotion that comes from within and can be celebrated despite what’s going on around us.  Joy comes more from who we are connected to than our circumstances.  No matter what may be happening around them right now, joyful people are able to look at what lies ahead.  

As a parent of young children, I had always believed that I wanted my kids to be happy.  Later in life, someone argued that you shouldn’t want your kids to be happy, you should want them to be joyful.  Their logic was based on the premise that happiness is a fleeting feeling, while joy is at the core of who you are.  Bad things will happen, and no one can be happy all the time, but if one is deeply rooted in joy, those bad things will be less impactful.  

The Lesson

The defining moment to me came just a few miles into the race.  Someone had bought a box of donuts and was in the middle of the road offering them to runners.  It didn’t even register to me, but Lexi stopped and grabbed a donut.  She asked if I was having one, and I said no.  I was content with my water, Gatorade, and energy gels.  Lexi nudged me and encouraged me to have fun, so I threw out my race nutrition plan and had a donut.  We laughed as our frigid hands could barely hold the donuts.  Just a few blocks later, some spectators were offering jello shots and pudding shots to the runners.  Lexi and I looked at each other, laughed, and said, “Why not?”  For the first time in my racing history, I wasn’t racing against myself or a clock.  I was just out there enjoying the experience and having fun.  We continued to stop for non-approved race nutrition and extra boosts of jello and pudding.  We also took quite a few pictures along the way and didn’t worry about our times.  Our goal was to run the race together and have fun while doing so.

As we approached the last three miles, Lexi was in apparent pain.  Her training injury was haunting her, and she wondered if she could go the distance, but that didn’t change her outlook.  She continued to laugh and smile, although there were moments I couldn’t tell if she was actually laughing or crying from the pain.  Nonetheless, we made it to the finish line, and she completed her first major race.  

I learned a lot that day. I learned a lot about the priority of joy and the difference it can make in everyday life.  In particular, I learned to always be joyful and to always compete with joy in your heart.

The Challenge

It's so easy to get caught up in our circumstances.  We strive for happiness, and when our circumstances challenge us, that happiness quickly disappears.    

I challenge you to start each day by looking in the mirror and seeing yourself for who you are.  You're a winner.  You're a child of God.  You're unique.  You're programmed for success.  You have what it takes. 

Make joy a daily choice.  Opt for joy not because of your circumstances, but often, in spite of them.  Not only will you love your new outlook on life, but your healthy attitude of joy will become contagious and positively impact everyone around you.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at


Friday, April 16, 2021

Stop, Imposter!

I have no business writing this. I’m not even a real writer.  In fact, I often hear those words, “Stop, imposter!” While I’ve authored two books and dozens of blog posts, I still don’t consider myself to be a real writer.  I’m not as talented as most writers, I’ve never had a New York Times Bestseller, I don’t always have the greatest ability to put my stories on paper, and I even struggle with things like grammar at times.  Apparently, I’m not a real writer.

At least that’s what the enemy convinces me of every time I sit down to write.  I’ve also noticed that the more my writing involves stories of faith, the stronger the voice against me, “Stop, imposter!” 


We All Feel Like Imposters

Imposter Syndrome is a real thing, and we all suffer from it to some degree.  I’ve been a triathlete for the past seven years, and as such, I’ve completed the Ironman distance triathlon multiple times, and I’ve run a dozen marathons.  Yet I often look at myself and think that I’m a phony.  I’m not as fast as other runners, so I must not be a real runner.  I’m not a great swimmer, so I must not be a real triathlete.  

Ironically, when I hear new runners claiming that they’re not “real runners,” I’m very quick to remind them, “You run, so you’re a real runner.”  I’ve even done the same thing with other writers.  They somehow feel unqualified to write because they’ve not yet authored a New York Times Bestseller.  Yet I give them the same advice, “You write, therefore you are a real writer.”

Imposter Syndrome

In a May 2015 article, Scientific American said, “Impostor Syndrome is a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” It often strikes smart, successful people, especially after a noteworthy accomplishment.

Unfortunately, most of us have these thoughts at times, whether in our family, our profession, our hobbies, or even our faith.  We always seem to feel like everyone else has it all together and knows exactly what they’re doing while we’re trying our very best just to keep up.  Evidence suggests otherwise.

God Also Says Otherwise

The term Imposter Syndrome may not have been around 2,000 years ago, but in the Bible, God seems to address the idea of being confident in who you are quite a bit.  He continually reminds us that we are good enough and that we have what it takes, which is exactly the opposite of what Satan tries to say.

The apostle Paul was perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time.  Yet if one person could be considered an imposter, it would have been Paul.  For the first part of his life, Paul was a religious leader committed to persecuting Christians.  He would routinely order them to be beaten or killed.  When he had an encounter with Jesus, everything changed. Paul then wrote much of the New Testament in the Bible, and he spent his entire life spreading the Gospel of Jesus across the Mediterranean rim.  He very easily could have felt like an imposter, given his history, but in the book of Romans and in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, he talks about his confidence as a child of God.

  • “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Cor 3:4-5 NIV).
  • “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16-17 NIV).
  • “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor 4:10 NIV).
  • “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9).

Confidence in the Calling

I felt called to write, and I firmly believe that calling was from God.  It wasn’t a loud, audible voice, but I did feel a very persistent nudge to write books and blogs about my faith.  Knowing that calling, I’m a real writer.  I have a hard time accepting that fact, but I know God has given me everything I need to be a writer.  I may never become a best-selling author, but a real writer doesn’t need to be a best-seller.  A real writer just needs to write.

It’s taken some work, but I’ve also started considering myself a real runner and a real triathlete.  I may never win a race, but you don’t have to win races to be a real runner or a real triathlete.  To be a real runner, I simply need to run.

Wherever you struggle, I challenge you to see yourself how God sees you.  I challenge you to see yourself for what you do, not what you don’t do.  I challenge you to see yourself for the effort, not only for the outcome.  And lastly, I challenge you to see yourself for pursuing your passion, not for giving up a dream under false pretenses.  But why would you take it from me, I’m not even a real writer.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

Thursday, April 1, 2021

I Believe in You

In 2014, I joined a triathlon team and signed up for a full Ironman triathlon. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, all in a single race Here's the problem, I didn't know how to swim, I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid, and the last time I ran I had torn my calf so severely that I was told I'd never be able to run again. 

The coach offered to work on my running form with me, and I was willing to try.  He also assured me that his spin class was great training for the bike.  The part that scared me most was the swim.  I didn’t know how to swim, at all, and I didn’t have to just learn how to swim in a pool. I would have to learn to swim 2.4 miles in an open water race environment with hundreds of other swimmers nearby.  I didn’t think it was possible.


I Believe in You

My lack of experience or even basic know-how didn't faze the coach. He simply said, I believe in you.  I will teach you. Funny how much power is in those four words: “I believe in you.” The next day, I met the coach at the pool, and he began teaching me how to swim. It was incredibly powerful that he said, "I believe in you."   It was equally powerful that he said, "I will show you how to do this."

He started by teaching me how to float. Methodically, he then had me add one step at a time - the kick, the reach, the pull, and the breathing. In a matter of days, I could swim a length of the pool. In a matter of weeks, I could swim multiple lengths of the pool. In a matter of months, I could swim 2.4 miles without stopping. He also worked with me on open water swimming, and he even ran drills in which we simulated the start of a race, with everyone swimming over each other. 

Learning to swim had very little to do with me.  It had everything to do with having confidence that I could learn something because someone said they believed in me, and they offered to show me how. I've since swum multiple 5Ks and multiple Ironman triathlon races.

Talk the Talk, Walk the Talk

Every one of us wears multiple hats and has the potential to influence many circles.  We have our families, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our community activities, and many other social circles over which we can cast our influence.

Too often, it’s easiest to discourage those who are in our inner-most circles.  Those are the ones who likely need it most.  Our words have power.  Imagine if instead of telling your co-worker that this project will fail, you tell them that this project is difficult, but they are exactly the right person to make it successful and that you’ll be by their side to help.  Imagine if instead of telling your kids to clean up their pig sty room, you start by encouraging them with a “we can do it, and I’ll help show you how.”  Imagine if instead of telling your friends how hard something is, you show them the ropes and tell them that they have what it takes.

The opportunities are there on a daily basis.  Each opportunity is a chance for you to positively impact their life by letting them know they have what it takes and by pouring your time, talent, knowledge, and abilities into them.


Think about the power my coach’s words had on my entire life's trajectory. Had he not believed in me, I never would have gone on to become an endurance athlete, I wouldn't have made new friends in the endurance racing circle, and I wouldn't have been able to positively impact others through endurance sports. Had he not believed in me AND shown me how, the spark he ignited likely would have fizzled out with no action. It's the power of his words and his supporting actions that changed my life and positively impacted others.

In the Bible, Proverbs chapter 18 verse 1 says, "Words kill, words give life."  

  • How have you given others life with your words? 
  • Where can your power of belief empower others to become the best they can be? 
  • How can you use your empowering words of belief, plus your action, to shape the destiny of others?
You already have what it takes to shape destinies.  You just need to unleash the power of the spoken word.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at


Friday, March 19, 2021

Now That's a Bad Idea!

Several years ago, my friend, Mike, and I were discussing our mutual weight loss goals. I was easily 50 pounds overweight and struggling with high everything: blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, sugar.  You name it – if I had it, it was high.  He encouraged me to try a spin class at our company gym. As an avid weightlifter and powerlifter, the word cardio had always been a four-letter word to me.  I was big and strong, but unfortunately, I was also obese.  My concept of fitness was focused solely on the musculoskeletal system, and it completely ignored the cardiorespiratory aspects.  The idea of a spin class terrified me.

I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone, but Mike convinced me to try it and I found I actually liked it.  The power I had acquired from years of squats and deadlifts translated nicely into power on the bike.  

After class, the instructor stopped me to chat for a bit.  He said I had great power, which could make me an excellent cyclist.  I was skeptical but agreed to come back.  After the second class, the instructor again told me he would like to work with me, and he asked me to join his team of Ironman trainees.  Whoa, time out!  This was a bad idea.


Are You Kidding?

I had never heard of an Ironman, and I certainly didn’t realize I’d just walked into a cardio nightmare.  The instructor explained to me that the spin class was designed for Ironman trainees, and that most of the class consisted of seasoned triathletes in pursuit of an Ironman triathlon. An Ironman triathlon is a 140.6-mile race that entails a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike segment, and a 26.2-mile run.  Yikes.

He asked me to join.

Not Happening

The answer to my spin instructor about joining his team was easy.  No.  The word triathlete is broken into two words, “tri” meaning three and “athlete” meaning a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.  In this case, the word “tri” also implies three sports: swimming, cycling, and running.  I had no experience as a cyclist, I didn’t know how to swim, and the last time I had tried running, I tore my calf so severely that the health care professionals all agreed I would never run again.

This wasn’t going to happen.

God Called

I went home feeling good about the fact that the instructor seemed to think I had potential as an athlete. But I felt better about the fact that I emphatically said no and didn’t commit myself to something for which I neither had the aptitude nor the desire.

Until…I got restless. That evening, I became very restless.  I was new to my faith and didn’t fully know the voice of God, but it was Him. This restlessness turned into a nudge, and I felt like I should be considering the sport of triathlon.  I just couldn’t figure out why God would nudge me to do something like this.

Suddenly, the words “Hope Water Project” began racing through my mind.  Hope Water Project (HWP) is a non-profit, started by Kensington Church, that aims to share the love of Jesus by drilling wells in communities that lack access to clean water.  Athletes sign up for endurance events and solicit donations for their participation.  That whole night, I hardly slept as my mind wrestled with the idea of triathlon and HWP. 

I Ran from God

My saving grace was that at the time, HWP was an organization of runners and walkers, not triathletes.  Thankfully, they didn’t participate in any non-running events, so I thought I was off the hook. I kept praying to God that if it was His voice asking me to act on this triathlon madness, that He would stop.  I did NOT want to do this.

Every argument I came up with was met with some type of counterargument.  The more I resisted, the more I felt like I was being nudged to do it. I spent the day dreaming up excuses and running from God, but the more I went in the opposite direction, the more I felt the nudge.  After thinking about it and praying on it all day, I finally concluded that I had no more good excuses and that maybe I needed to listen. I broke down and somewhat reluctantly joined the team.

A Great Idea?

In hindsight, this turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I learned a new sport (technically, three).  I was pushed outside of my comfort zone.  I lost weight and became much healthier.  I met some new, lifelong friends. I raised money for a great cause ( Everything about this sport has changed my life for the better.  Most importantly, endurance sports have become a platform for me to share the love of God with those who are lost and broken.

In the process, I also learned a few key lessons in life:

  • Life is lived outside your comfort zone. I was afraid to step out, but once I did, everything changed.
  • When you hear God’s voice, act on it.  I never heard an audible, booming voice like we all imagine. But I did feel those nudges from inside and knowing that Hope Water Project is a faith-based ministry, I’m sure those nudges were the voice of God.  I didn’t know what I was doing; He did.
  • Life a life of impact.  Becoming an endurance athlete has provide me a platform for sharing the love of God.  It’s introduced me to people whom I’ve been able to positively influence both spiritually and personally.  It’s enabled me to make a difference and to have an impact on those around me.

Sometimes the best ideas in life start out seeming like bad ideas.  When something seems outside your comfort zone, rather than respond with a knee-jerk reaction, take your time and think about it.  Maybe it’s outside your comfort zone for a reason.  Maybe God’s asking you to do something.  Or maybe, just maybe, there’s an opportunity to make an impact far greater than you ever imagined.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

Monday, March 1, 2021

Embrace Your Impossible

For hundreds of years before 1954, running a mile in under four minutes was deemed physically impossible.  It didn’t just seem impossible; it was scientifically determined that humans were incapable of doing so.  Then Roger Bannister did this on May 6, 1954 with a time of 3:59.  Within a year, someone else ran a four-minute mile.  Now, it’s almost routine.  

No words in history have imposed more false limitations than the words "I can’t” and "impossible."  The brain always moves in the direction of one’s dominant thoughts.  Yet our lives are filled with those words.  Trust me, I know.  I can’t control my diet.  I can’t lose weight.  I can’t reduce my blood pressure.  The words “I can’t” aren’t just words - they’re a crystal-clear set of instructions for your brain.  They tell you that something is impossible, and your subconscious goes into autopilot.    



In the Bible, Matthew Chapter 19 (NIV) talks about the impossible.  The story in Matthew 19:16-28 talks about a wealthy, young man who was asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After Jesus shares a few commandments, the man answers, in a way that suggests a bit of arrogance, that he’s met all of those conditions.  Then Jesus replies in verse 21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Jesus isn’t saying that selling all your possessions is a prerequisite for eternal life; He is simply making a point that we can never do enough to earn eternal life.  His disciples then ask Jesus the obvious question, “Who then can be saved?”  (Matthew 19:25).  He replies in verse 26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Jesus is reiterating the point that man cannot earn eternal life on His own.  He needs God.  He needs a Savior.  That Savior is Jesus Christ.  

When grounded in faith and connected to the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the power of God within us, and nothing is impossible.


Running a sub-4 mile was impossible, but Roger Bannister didn’t get that memo.  In Matthew 19, we’re led down a path that suggests that earning or doing our way into Heaven is impossible, but with God anything is possible.  I’ve had a few impossibles in my life.  

  • When I was over 250 pounds with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high sugar, and a high risk for cardiovascular disease, people told me getting healthy was impossible.  
  • When I severely tore my calf in 2010, I was told that it would be impossible to ever run again.
  • When I joined a triathlon team in 2014, just four years after being told I’d never run again, not knowing how to swim, and not having ridden a bike since I was a kid, everyone told me a triathlon would be impossible.
  • When I approached race day of my first Ironman triathlon, I was injured and was told by many people that it would be impossible to finish the race with my injury.

Being told it was impossible was all the motivation I needed. I leaned on experts to create action plans, and I relied on God as my source of inner strength.  By the grace of God, each of these impossibles became possible.  Next time someone says you can’t do something, take it as a challenge. 

Winning Mindset

Impossible is usually just a self-imposed limitation. If babies behaved like adults, every single one of us would have stopped trying to stand and walk after our first several failed attempts.  We would have failed a few times and said, "This is impossible."  Fortunately, babies don’t know the word “impossible.”  

Matthew 17:20 (NIV) says, “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed ... nothing will be impossible for you.” Each and every day, miracles happen, and the impossible becomes possible.


What’s your impossible?  Maybe it’s overcoming an obstacle at work or in your family. Maybe it’s dealing with an addiction or illness.  Maybe it’s a far-reaching goal.  Whatever it is, start by putting your finger on it and understanding why you believe it’s impossible.

Once you’ve identified your impossible, think about your approach.  Do you have a plan?  Are there experts you can lean on for help?  Are there others who’ve done this before and can advise or coach you?  

Lastly, think about your inner source of strength.  Are you trying to do this alone, or are you putting your faith, optimism, and positive thinking to work?  

Ephesians 1:19-20 (NIV) says, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”

If you believe, you already have the power in you. Make today your day.  Make your impossible, possible.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 
Check out In Our Weakness We Are Strong on Amazon at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

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