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