I used to be a runner. Back in December of 2009, I ran my first training mile. If I remember correctly, it was a bone-chilling 22 degrees and it took me about 17 minutes. I was inspired by the TV show Biggest Loser and decided the night before I wanted to run a full marathon. Twelve months later on November 27th, I did just that. I ran 26.2 miles with a 12-minute pace.
I was disappointed with my time.
My goal was to run a 10.5-minute pace. I was reminded by my family and friends that I finished the race, but in my mind, five hours and sixteen minutes was 54 minutes too long.
Ten days ago, I ran a similar route to that first one-miler, but went further this time. I ran four instead of one. It was fifty degrees warmer and took me over an hour to run. This time, I didn’t care about time. It felt great to run and even better to walk because I was doing something and something is better than nothing.
This past weekend, I went to YoungLives Camp (for teen mamas) as a childcare worker. It was both rewarding + challenging. While I was there, I got to hear a message from my friend Pam. She began by reading from Hebrews 12, verse one.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
She talked about running your own race at your own pace. Prior to camp, I wrote that same verse on a sticky note and stuck it to my bathroom mirror. I wanted to remind myself to not try to be like anyone else, but to just be me, to run my own race.
It was a good reminder.
I’ve spent too many years comparing my life to others. Why can’t I be more like her? or Why won’t God take away this or that? or How can I get to a better place in dealing with pain or disappointment? or Why am I not further along in my faith? More recently, I’ve been asking a new question, How do I find rest? TRUE rest.
How do I get that? I know where to find it, but how do I experience genuine rest? What does it mean in Matthew 29:11 when Jesus says “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls?’ “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I’m discovering it has to do with this thing called solitude. Soul care. Something I’m becoming a little more used to doing.
It’s just what us humans need for perseverance to run the race of faith.
It’s about finding a quiet place, away from the busyness, to simply be with God-to listen and to rest. And then THEN return to that race, the one marked out just for you. Take it at your own beautiful pace.