A Box of Progress
I recently found a box under my bed that has all my race medals in it. Yeah, I used to be a runner. And no-nothing was chasing me I was doing it for fun. But seeing that box and what it contained gave me a mixed bag of emotions and memories.
I remembered how much I hated getting up in the morning, figuring out what to wear (living by the ocean has its drawbacks when it comes to weather), filling a bottle of water or two, tieing up my laces, picking the route, how long, what kind of terrain, setting up the playlist, making sure to set up the tracking app, lacing up my sneakers, opening the door and getting the warmup done so I could FINALLY run. I would exhaust myself mentally with all the tiny steps that needed to be done before I could even start doing what it was I was wanting to do.
But then my feet hit the pavement and I was in another world. Anything that was keeping me down, all the memories that I didn't want to remember, all those negative self-talk reels they all disappeared. Out there it was just me and the pavement, sand, or woody trail. No one was telling me I couldn't, that I wasn't good enough, that I would never win.
Winning a race, for me, was never the goal. The goal was pushing through my own mind and excuses and doing what I told myself I was going to do. Each medal in the box is a reminder of how I was able to push through the obstacles that I set in place because of my human nature to want to do the easy thing and go for it. I knew that once I got in that runner zone I would be happy I did the to-dos to get there. Every time I crossed a finish line was proof to myself that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. Every cramp, every "please God don't let me puke" was worth hearing the cheers of complete strangers as I crossed that finish line.
It has been a long time since I have pushed myself out the door to run, I replaced that runner's high with some bad habits along the way, and seeing that box of progress is reminding me that struggle is part of every race. Whether it's a race to the finish line or the race that God puts before us. It's not going to be a straight, flat runway there are going to be some steep hills, some "God don't let me puke" moments along the way. There are going to be days that it's raining and I don't want to go but the word of God tells us "Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever." Hebrews 13:20-21
It is God who will equip us to do what He wants us to do, some of that equipping might be disciplining us, facing trials, hills and wind; but IN those times, if we push through, if we still show up and do the work, progress is made.