By Rebecca Greebon
My children have a habit (or perhaps we could use the word “tradition”): when we go to their grandmother’s house, they get out of the car at the end of her long driveway and run as fast as they can in front of the car to the house. I have no idea why this is fun. We live in Texas. It’s hot. Really hot. And I don’t really get the whole running thing as a general rule. Nevertheless, this is one of their favorite things to do, so we humor them.
One evening after my middle child’s soccer practice, we drove to Oma’s house to pick up my oldest son. My two younger children began bouncing in their seats as we drew closer to the property, their chorus of, “Please, Mommy! Can we get out and run?” resonating through our Suburban. I slowed to a stop as we entered the gates, unlocked the doors, and prepared to cruise behind them.
This time, I was struck by a thought as I witnessed their unevenly matched race.
My son took off like a shot, as always. He is nine years old, and an incredibly fast runner. He leapt from the car, legs pumping almost before they hit the ground. My five-year-old daughter was close behind , yet had to pause as she struggled to close the heavy door. Once she wrestled it shut, the race began in earnest (she’s a fast runner herself). Yet in spite of her speed and determination, there was no contest.
It didn’t matter at all.
I watched her, little arms pumping and tiny legs flashing as she flew down the path after her brother. At some point, she began to lose steam. I could see her chest heaving and her speed waning as her tired legs flailed with less coordination than usual. She seemed on the verge of giving up when she glanced up and saw her sibling turn to look back at her as he ran. He flashed her a grin, turned to face forward again, and kicked up his pace a notch.
Do you know what that little girl did? Taking a deep breath, she lowered her head, clenched her fists, and literally willed herself to accelerate. I watched, fascinated, as she dug deep for the last of her reserves in a final kick any track star would find inspirational. She didn’t stop running until she reached her destination, and when she got there, her smile was like the sun.
It was beautiful, and it made me think.
What a great representation of our calling on this earth.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” (NIV).
We need to discard all of it—insecurity, doubt, any sense of not being good enough, all our fear. Release the fatigue, emotional baggage, stress, and heavy-heartedness. Let go of unreasonable expectations, past failures, hurts, and lost battles. Dig deep and find the core of who and what we are, the brightness placed in our hearts by the Father…and find a way to run with it, all the way to the finish line. Refuse to stop, to lose heart or hope, to settle for anything less than a big finish. Don’t worry about how fast everyone else is going, or whether they run better or differently. Be inspired by those who are ahead, smiling and challenging us even as they run their own course. Let them motivate us, not intimidate us.
It won’t be easy. It will likely hurt. It will often wear you down to the end of your stamina, and you will be barely breathing as you struggle toward the next leg of the journey.
But it’ll be totally worth it. This is a race we all get to win.
That’s something worth smiling about, don’t you think?
Rebecca Greebon is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and child of the One True King. She has a passion for sharing with others how amazing they are, how much they are loved, and how blessed every day is, even when we are lost or distracted or completely over ourselves and the world. Rebecca blogs at theriverchick.com.