The cinder track was bold red with freshly painted lines of white and numbers to mark out each lane. The spring-like day with blue sky was a welcome relief from cold and rainy days that had preceded my first track meet. Jogging in place my new running shoes made a squeak and the new leather pressed against the bridge of my right foot and back of my heel. Pushing wisps of wild blond hair behind my ears, I reset the thick ponytail and rested sweaty hands on hips pretending to focus on my feet jogging in place.
Mine was the least desirable lane six. I tried to breathe in deep enough to exhale some confidence and glanced around to size up my completion. They each looked thinner, more athletic and stared me down with fierce confidence. It felt as if I was a fraud, thinking I could somehow be a runner.
A man’s voice thundered for runners to “get set.” Pushing back into the blocks sweat rolled down the sides of my face. The gun signaled the start and I stumbled out of the blocks losing time as I fought to regain balance and find my stride.
I kept looking to see how close the other runners were. I was sprinting hard, arms pumping, fingers poised for momentum. There was a glimmer of hope in my ability. That faded as my feet became more like concrete blocks and my legs melted and became hard to control.
By the finish line, I was throwing up. Drenched in sweat, embarrassment, and humiliation. Instead of cheers and fist pumps of victory, I heard mocking whispers as I stumbled toward the school bus and found a back seat to lay down with knees pulled into my chest and head buried.
This wasn’t how I had written the script in my head.
I’ve re-run this grueling, ugly race in my mind too many times. For years, it ranked as one of my most embarrassing moments.
The failure of one race often framed how I lived my life race.
That was until I the Lord used it to teach me about my heart.
It’s true that I’ve lived much of my life like I ran that long-distance sprint.
Too often I write the script before I live it.
I’m guilty of comparing myself to those around me.
My motives have too often been centered around my own glory.
Once I began to read words of Truth, I was somewhat relieved that this life I’m living is not a long-distance, full-out sprint. It is, however, a race that is long and full of its share of difficult terrain.
But life is not about some wild attempt at forward momentum.
It is about the next faithful step toward the things I’ve been given to steward for Jesus. I get it all wrong and slip off the path by trying harder and striving to do more.
So much doing instead of being.
Ladies, this is a race where we step our feet out in faith to the journey and grow toward the finish line.
You most likely know this but it’s Who we belong to not what we do.
If we have come to know Jesus, beyond head information and have allowed Him access to our very heart and soul, He is the One we need to fix our eyes on. He is the One who wrote the script of our lives.
Jesus knows how it feels to bear the weight of scorn and shame. At the end of His earthly race He said, “It is finished.”
Since He is the Author and Perfector of all that concerns us. We run, I dare say, a freedom race.
In this race, there is room for everyone.
In this race, our capacity is greater than our ability.
In this race, we cannot be disqualified because it is Jesus who has qualified us.
And you must know this – you are the only one who can run your race.
As we step into our destiny race we need to throw off the things that are holding us back in this season of life. We can walk or skip or jog or crawl or roll a wheelchair along, or sometimes find a friend to carry our mat…
but we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.
It’s too important that we stay in the race, high-fiving the people running around us and cheering for those along the sidelines, inviting them to come along for the journey. May we enlarge our hearts with truth and love so that strength will naturally rise to assist us in this journey.
To win we need to finish well. So we commit our way to the LORD, trust in Him, and He will surely do it.
I’m honored to run alongside each of you for the glory of Jesus.
Are you afraid to run your race? What is holding you back? Let’s talk about this in the comments.