I’m not fast.
I’m not talented.
I just love to run and married into an insanely athletic family. We’ve got Olympians and Ironmans and all kinds of crazy talent in our gang…I’m just not one of them. But on a run the other morning I realized something that I hope will inspire you and shed a little light on why physical competition is so important.
So I have this little 5k loop in my neighborhood. Over the last 20 years, I bet I’ve run or walked it over 4000 times. Every once in a while I try and do the loop for time to see if my speed is increasing. This was one of those days.
I began clipping along with my usual aches and pains. Rounding the corner at about a half mile in, I looked at my watch and was disappointed in my pace. “Just quit, try again next week,” flashed quickly across my mind. But I reminded myself I was just warming up so I kept on.
At a mile I had a wee cramp. “Just quit. It’s not the best day to try and push yourself,” crept back into my thoughts. But I pressed on thinking I was nearly a third of the way through.
At a mile and a half there is a lovely water fountain near the beach, and again I thought of quitting and going to look at the waves. But I kept plodding and considered that I wasn’t really that thirsty anyhow.
At two and a half miles, I run this long lonely stretch on the backside of the neighborhood and I began again to think “Just quit and walk for a bit…no one will see you walking here,” and I really had to rationalize through why I should keep running! Still, I kept putting one foot in front of the other as fast as my short little legs would carry me.
By nearly three miles, I was finally telling that “just quit” voice to shut up! I had heard it enough to recognize the voice of complacency, fear, marginalization and compromise! I now knew that I wasn’t just fighting for a simple three mile run that no one would ever see the results or know if I had quit! I was fighting against a mindset that encompasses and defines our character–that which we believe and achieve when no one else even sees the struggle or knows the outcome!
And then I thought about you. My Believe With Me family. All of you fighting for what’s best for your family and struggling through raising up this next generation. And I want to tell you that my meaningless 5k solitary race around my hood will hopefully serve to help you recognize that small but powerful whisper that comes to nibble at your accomplishments by whispering that the mundane and unseen work you are doing is pointless, fruitless and unknown. Tell that voice to shut up! Soldier on never giving space to complacency or rationalization! Don’t quit in the small and insignificant things where you think no one is looking or will even know you overcame this struggle! That is what forges your character and builds your perseverance.
I finished the 3.1 loop. And this weekend I finished a half marathon. I am signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon. And look out devil disguised as complacency…because I do all my best fighting in prayer while running those miles.
Y’all join me and get out there.
It’s good for you.
Compete. Even if it’s just against yourself. The physical striving will push you forward in all kinds of other areas of your life!