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.
Latest posts by rhondaquaney (see all)
- Run Well and Win Your Race - February 14, 2017
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Thank you, Rhonda, for your commitment to stay off the sidelines and in the race. This is such an uplifting piece!
For months I’ve been quietly running my race off the on-line grid Michele. The voice in my head was telling me I was on the side-lines. Perhaps I was….but I think that too often I take my eyes off Jesus and run some wild version of making progress, but when I set my eyes on Him this life-race takes on a completely different dimension. Thanks for hanging out in this community and taking the time to comment. You are a beatiful encourager!
Thank you for always encouraging us to stay the course, finish well. Reminds me of Jill Briscoe’s recent encouragement..all the way home..all the way home. It is easier to sit on the sidelines but not nearly as rewarding. All the way home!
Oh, Jill Briscoe!!! Probably ten years ago her words about prayer transformed my heart for prayer! Her wisdom is profound and her VOICE! This is so, so appropriate Kelly: “….all the way home…”
This is a beautiful piece. I admire your dedication to running! Thank you for sharing such an encouraging word.”And you must know this – you are the only one who can run your race.” Love it!
Well that race proved that I am not actually a runner, but I am a plodder, walker, mover, believer in persistence and cheering others on in what they do. Thank you for encouraging all women to run their race Diane. You are such a gift!
You finished that race! You didn’t quit! I think much of our victory in our Christian walk is found in simply refusing to give up! I’ve missed your beautiful writing, friend, and am so happy to read your words again!
“Refusing to give up..” -yes I believe that too Elizabeth. For me, it really has been to learn to rise again, & keep moving toward Jesus. Thank you for missing me. I have often slipped over to your place to soak in the light and beauty there. Your consistency and dedication to writing inspire me in so many ways. Love you!
What wisdom you share here. Thanks for your vulnerability and authenticity. And your encouragement to me to run my race-because I am the only one who can run it.
Debbie, I have long wanted to meet you. My maiden name was Putman. Not any that I know of around here! I’m so glad that you are doing what only you can do for the kingdom, with the voice only you have to speak it into the world. Your courage is evident.
Lovely piece, Rhonda–so descriptive. I’m not a runner, but the way you’ve described your race, I felt as if I were there! And of course, you do a wonderful job of explaining how Scripture applies the race to our very lives. You are so right: We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. I’ve done that a number of times, but God insists I get back in the race. Thank you for your encouragement to do just that! It’s not for the faint of heart, but with Jesus running alongside us, it’s more than possible.
You are such an articulate writer Lynn. I’ve always appreciated how you write with such clarity. I tend to write as well as live from my heart more than ability. Thank goodness there is room for all of us in this journey. These past months I’ve felt like I may have been on the sidelines, however it seems like the time pressing into the Word and quiet was actually not passive time spent. Thank you Lynn for the encouragement.
love your words and have missed them.
Awe Sharon! Thank you.
I have missed your words, dear friend!
How many times have I replayed events in my mind? It’s how the enemy keeps us down. So thankful you are back in the race. The world needs your beautiful words!
You are such a beautiful soul Mei. One of the great gifts of the on-line world, is meeting women I would probably never have had the opportunity to meet other wise. And you run your race so attractively for Jesus. Thank you for that.
So good!!! Such a clear picture – the glances sideways are debilitating and discouraging. It’s so easy in our social media, screen view world to glance way too many places resultung not a battle against feeling inferior.
Dear Lord Jesus, help me keep my eyes on you and heaven.
“…. the glances sideways are debilitating and discouraging.” Deep truth Kathy. You are running your race so beautifully. I love to see the glory and light of Jesus in you.