We waited, with hearts pumping in anticipation at the starting line. Then, the sound of a cannon boomed through the cloudless sky. It was our signal to start.
And we were off, feet pounding across the grass as music blasted through the speakers. Anna and I joined hundreds of other girls in GirlsOnTheRun.org, a nonprofit girls empowerment program and running club.
For many of the girls on the course, this was their first 5K. The air was electric with excitement as we shot onto the course. Our stride was steady, swift and hopeful.
The course made a giant loop around the city park. Spectators cheered along the route, holding up signs and applauding the girls who had worked so hard all season for this moment.
After we neared the end of the loop, the people on the sidelines began encouraging us with words like, “You’re halfway there!” “Only one lap to go!”
All around me, I heard the surprised voices of crestfallen girls who thought that the 5K ended after one loop. In that moment, they found out that they still had another loop to go.
Suddenly, girls began to lose their stride. Some began to walk. The idea of having to make a second loop seemed like too much.
You’ve felt it, too, haven’t you?
At the starting line of marriage, your “I do” carries all of your best hopes. But months or years later, marriage isn’t all that you thought it would be. It’s hard work.
You started a new job with great anticipation, but you are suddenly overwhelmed by the responsibility. It’s hard work.
You begin the process of writing a book, starting a mission, heading back to school to get that degree, but when you think you’re close to a breakthrough, you see a giant hill up ahead. It’s hard work.
Sometimes, you want to quit because it’s too hard.
But God has an answer for us. When our arms feel so weak to carry the load, He says he can carry it for us.
“The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you” (Isaiah 59:1).
What’s too hard for us, is not too hard for God.
God is saying to us: “Don’t give up just because it’s hard.” His Word tells us that He specializes in the impossible.
When hard times come in the new year, I might be tempted to quit. I will likely ask Him to take the hardest parts away. But deeper inside of my soul, where Jesus resides, I want more than an easier life: I want Him to prove Himself bigger than the struggle.
During our 5K, we refused to give up. We took the next step, and the one after that, while a great crowd of witnesses cheered us on.
We can do the same in the coming year. We can take the next step.
Take the next step. God’s arm is not too weak to save you.
Take the next step. A great crowd of witnesses is cheering you on.
Take the next step. When you step out with bravery you strengthen others who are struggling to take their next step. You’re showing them that it’s possible to do hard things.
Take the next step. Because Jesus will meet you in the middle of your hardest battles in 2017.
When I’m tempted to give up on the second loops of life, I remember that Jesus already did the Hardest Thing of all. He forfeited heaven and put skin on. He literally had skin in the game. He put skin on, because He wanted to make you strong, in Him. Even when it was hard, Jesus never once gave up.
That same power? Lives in you.
A Happier New Year Book Club
Do you want to make 2017 your happiest new year yet?
Join us in this brand new book club to explore what it means to live as your happiest, most faith-filled self.
This free book club will be hosted by yours truly! We’ll start January 3 with assigned readings, group discussions, an interactive journal experience, and more.