I was over half way through my "run" when my pace slowed. I was tired and wanted to quit. Truth be told, I hate running. Every time I do it is a sheer force of my will. I tell myself the torment won't last forever and the end goal is worth the temporary pain. So even though I knew I was going slower, I kept trodding forward, determined to make it back to my house. But I'm not gonna lie. I was FRUSTRATED.
Why am I not getting ANY better at this? I've been at it for nine months. I've tried running inside and outside, shorter distances, longer ones, running several days a week or only a couple. I've even been doing some interval training to boost my speed, but sadly, I'm still plodding along at an embarrassing clip.
So while I trudged down the road, I prayed, asking God what I'm supposed to learn from this.
What is the matter with me, Lord? How can I not be getting any better at this? What am I doing wrong?
His voice was clear, His message unexpected.
Your life has always been a slow, steady burn. It's who you are. Slow and steady wins the race.
I thought of myself at 10, a shy, overweight, awkward little girl, wanting to be more, better, different, scared of anything unfamiliar or new, enjoying the safety of home.
At 15, I was uneasy with boys, aware my physical appearance did not measure up, but blessed with good friendships with girls, trusting God to guide my every day, counting on Him to make me something more than I was.
At 25, I believed God to be the God of miracles, navigated the waters of marriage, accepted the responsibility of being a teacher at a Christian school, shouldered a burden of being perfect knowing how far off the mark I was.
At 30, I was a mother of two, wanting to be less self-conscious, carrying unwanted "baby weight," sensing my need for God in all areas of my life, still feeling there was so much to learn, so many things to surrender to Him, wondering when I'd ever feel like a grown-up.
At 40, I'd built a track record with God and knew I could not go through life without Him, especially while raising four very different children. But I felt battle worn by life and its accompanying pressures, wishing I could find my triumphant walk with Christ.
And now, certain I'd be lost without Him, I still feel inept and little (so very little), but I rely on His Spirit to make me what I'm supposed to be. I accept the things I cannot change and feel Him chipping away at the others. I recognize a committed, dynamic relationship with God is created one choice at a time, one trial at a time, one defining moment after another.
The changes God's touch have wrought on me have not been dramatic, but slow and steady. Put together they form a lifetime transformation, a renewing of a flawed, weak person into a vessel for God to work.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
My time may never improve in my running, and I won't ever "arrive" in my faith journey, but I press on, for the scenery along the way is beautiful, refreshing breezes nudge me forward, and the results most definitely overshadow the pain, the suffering, the training.
It will be worth it.
Slow and steady wins the race.
How do you motivate yourself to keep "running?"
Photo Credit: dusanvf