If You Ever Feel Like You’re in Last Place, Read This

February 16, 2015 | 11 comments

My eyes popped open to the alarm. It was o’dark-thirty, and every inch of me wanted to fall back asleep.

But I willed my feet to the floor, then shuffled through the inky darkness, to slip on my workout clothes and shoes. I drove the bumpy gravel roads to the gym where a dozen of us gather three times a week for “boot camp.”

Soon, music pulsed through the room, and by the time I started moving, I was glad I had come.

But there are moments during those workouts when I feel slow, uncoordinated, and insecure. There have been several times when I’m the last one to complete the timed workouts. And, just this morning, I realized at the end of the workout, that a little paper was peeking out from the hem of my workout leggings. I leaned in for a closer inspection and discovered that it was the paper backing from an Always with Wings! (Which I have to wear because, um, the miracle of past childbirth has significantly altered my ability to jump rope.)

The other day I was telling my friend how I get frustrated at times that I’m so slow, and at times, so weak and clumsy. But I also said that I refused to give up now, especially after all these months of pushing through the darkness at 5:15 a.m., in my best effort to stay healthy and fit.

I believe that’s a message, not only for workout mornings, but for life.

Every day, I have a choice: Will I run the race that God has set before me, or will I lament the fact that I’m not able to run like everyone else? I am not doing anyone any favors if I’m comparing.

I have to keep showing up and giving it my all, even on the days when I don’t think I can take another step or lift another weight.

Where are you being called to run — or walk — today? What is God inviting you into?

This is your race. He has invited you into the beauty of a route set out specifically for you. You are not called to run the race of Judy or Katie or Megan. You are called to run in your own lane, even if you’re getting passed on both sides.

I am sometimes tempted to covet the strengths of others, and when I do, I forget about my own special strengths, and my own special light, that I bring into a room. We all have both: strengths and light. And God is developing both within us, even today. How easy it is to forget that God has a pace He ordained for each of us.

It’s tempting to forget that life is not only about the destination, but the journey to the finish line.

Here’s the truth: It doesn’t matter if we’re the last ones to the finish line. It matters that we made it.

There is no mistake in your slowness. There is no mistake in your weakness. There is no mistake in what feels like your “awkwardness.” The only mistake would be to not risk making one. And the risk begins in the moment you are awakened to stand up in the dark, and to give it your all. Starting today.

The other day, my friend Becky posted a picture of her son on her Facebook wall. Her little guy was pumping his legs hard, trying to keep up with the big kids who were far ahead of him:

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Becky said that her son was so happy to be running, that he didn’t care that the gap between him and the others was widening. He kept looking back at his mom, smiling, and then he charged on.

Becky wrote: “It may feel like everyone else is so much further down the road. But just keep plugging away at your own God-given pace. We often make a big deal about the destination, but I think God wants to do big things on our journey.”

Here’s to the journey. Here’s to waking up to God’s daily invitation to live the life we’ve been given. Here’s to “keep plugging away.” And here’s to keeping our eyes on the Savior, who makes us strong and able, despite every weakness.

Your Turn:

What is God waking you up to, today? Does comparison ever keep you sidelined?

by | February 16, 2015 | 11 comments

11 Comments

  1. Doug Spurling

    Love it! If you don’t quit you win. A week or so ago I was talking to my grandkids (three of them under eight yrs old) about how the one who wins isn’t always a winner and the one who comes in last may really be a winner. Yesterday I overheard my five year old grandson say to his sisters, “If you say, ‘ha, ha’ and make fun of the other person you’re not really the real winner.” He looked at me and smiled. “Right Papa?”

    Reply
  2. Paige Estes

    Absolutely I can get sidelined from comparison. “Becky wrote: “It may feel like everyone else is so much further down the road. But just keep plugging away at your own God-given pace. We often make a big deal about the destination, but I think God wants to do big things on our journey.” I LOVE that. God pulled up some old hurt and pain that I had buried and not dealt with this weekend. We are working through it. I so want to be the crazy faithful girl, who takes the world’s hits and just keeps beaming and pointing to Jesus. But the thing I’ve been missing about “that girl” is that I kept focusing on HER. How faithful I should be in the midst of hurt. How smiley and sunshiny I should be with Jesus in my heart. What I missed about people like that, is it has nothing to do with THEM. Its HIM. He is the one who creates that and shows others. I’ve been so focused on who I should be, when I should be focusing only on who HE is. Something is definitely broken inside of me. And I can’t do one thing to heal it or fix it. Always Only Jesus.

    Reply
  3. Lisa Brown

    Jennifer thank you!!! I wish I would of read this first thing this morning. It’s been a tough day running the race. I compare just about everything i do with others. I’m tired of it. It takes practice to stop this horrible habit of comparing. The day that I run in grace will be the day that I run because I am free.

    Reply
  4. Mary

    There are days I rest in the knowledge that God’s got this and me! I feel safe and strong in His arms. The next day can look totally different when all my insecurities come racing out and I start looking over my shoulder at what the person next to me has and my world does not measure up. I am learning that my life, my calling, my race is all that matters to God and He will run next to me every step pf the way. It takes a lot of falling down and getting back up for me to learn the lesson that this is my race and it is good! Thank you for these words!

    Reply
  5. Martha Orlando

    I used to compare myself and my progress with others, but no more! We each have our own race to run and I remind myself how much joy there is in the journey. Blessings, Jennifer!

    Reply
  6. Alecia Simersky

    So timely for me. Thank you for the reminder to run my race and not compare my life with others.

    Reply
  7. Trudy Den Hoed

    “God has a pace He ordained for each of us.” Love this reminder. Thank you, Jennifer.

    Reply
  8. Shelly Miller

    It’s tempting to forget that life is not only about the destination, but the journey to the finish line. Needed those words today. Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Robin Dance

    Jennifer!!! YOU AND I ARE *BOTH* DOING BOOT CAMP AT DARK-THIRTY IN THE MORNING!! I love it! And I KNOW all too well how hard it is to get up, go out and DO all those things required of us! I’ve written about it, too…though I’ve yet to pen the spiritual comparisons :). Yours are perfect and spot on…and now, 7 weeks into it, when my body is starting to hurt MORE not less, I’m clinging to the why’s of why I’m doing it. It really is a stewardship issue for me.

    And I’m amazed by how beautiful you look post-workout. Goodness, hon, it agrees with you. xo

    Reply
  10. Michele Morin

    I’m a week behind on reading emails, so I guess you wrote this post for me . . . even though I’m bumbling upon it today. Thank you for your humble and gracious sharing of life with Christ through your writing.

    Reply
  11. Megan Willome

    I started going to boot camp once a week back in August, when school started. (Sometimes I go twice a week–the other days are reserved for yoga & swimming.) The fellowship has been priceless–just that mindless chit-chat that only happens at 5:30 in the morning with a bunch of like-minded crazies.

    Reply

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