Yesterday I ran the hardest 3.1 miles ever. Not that I have run a lot of 3.1 mile courses…this being only the second. But there were times I wanted to give up. The hills were relentless; mocking me. Causing me to doubt my strength. Wondering if I would ever get to the end. I remember thinking that I must be nearing the halfway point when I saw the 1 mile marker. It was so deflating, to think that I was so much further than I really was. And to see another hill looming ahead of me. I saw other runners who didn’t seem to be nearly as fazed as I was. They continued to run up the hills, when I had to stop and walk. They passed me on their way to the finish line. They just kept pushing. And I struggled. Boy, did I struggle. I was running up one hill when I saw someone who had already finished the race, returning to his home. I hadn’t even gotten to the 2 mile point yet. He had already finished the 3.1 miles and had backtracked over a mile to where I was. How humiliating!
Eventually, I did power through and finish the race, but I had to stop and walk several times. I didn’t meet the time goal I had set for myself. But I did the best that I could. And I am grateful for that one woman in the blue tank top and long brown pony tail who looked at me and smiled as we both trudged up yet another hill.
The whole race is just another example of God’s work in my life. He has set out the race before me (literally). There are so many times in life that I just want to quit. I want to stop running. I want to give up. There are times when I will see others who finished the race with ease. I will mentally beat myself up for having to take the hills so slowly. I will berate myself for not completing the goal the way I had intended. And, then I will meet the one person who smiles at me as we struggle together. And I am so thankful for her that I can somehow find the energy to get up the next hill.
And now, looking back on it, I realize that I want to be the girl smiling at the one who struggles.
Thank you Lord, that I am able to run the race. I ask for your grace and mercy when I struggle and I thank you for those who encourage me along the way. Help me to be an encouragement to those I meet.