For a short amount of time in High School I ran track. Initially it was a way for me to stay in shape in preparation for the summer, but also a grueling cardio working in preparation for Spring concert/musical. I remember my freshman year specifically. Meeting my coach for the first time - He sits us down on the bleachers, tells us what to expect, and gives us his best one piece of advice, first; Don’t look back.
The late-great Wille Suber, described the track and how our physical bodies would feel as we trained. He warned about the physical experiences at particular points along the track, “the start always feels good, as long as you don’t false start. You will naturally fall into the lean of the curve. Your breathing will gel to the rhythm of your stride, tucking your arms and pumping your legs all the way through the finish line.” He would tell us things that we couldn’t fully understand without experience. Things like, “Depending on what lane you’re in you’ll have to adjust your pace to stay in the lead, as you enter the straight away, of the contestants you’re running against. As you run, be aware of the people around you, but don’t you turn to look at where they are, if you do, they will pass you... because the body can not run forward and look back at the same time.”
A crazy thought- lesson that I never imagined I’d use. But shortly week after week I began to understand his words a lot clearer. You must determine what direction you're headed and focus all your might, mind, and strength in that one direction. The Bible speaks about a double minded man in James “When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable. Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?” Honestly I hated track. I recall it only being seven girls on the team, which meant that we all had to participate in four events in order to even be in a position to win the entire meet. I didn’t like running in circles, I hated the feeling of my legs feeling like jello, or the possibility of losing my lunch, publicly. So during my Junior year, I shifted to training for field events, specifically to throwing the discus. This helped me to focus and refine my craft. I grew in love with discus, polished my spin, got better equipment, and started to set records. I studied my competition regularly. I was laser focused on placing in the top three at the regional track meet. So when I placed second, it was just like I had envisioned it in my mind. I made a decision and I didn’t look back.
Thankfully I’ve approached much of my life the same way. But every now and then I get off rhythm and in my feeling about the speed at which my race is being run. As I run my race, I consistently:
Make the necessary adjustments, to pace, position, and preparation.
Here’s something else I’ve seen on this earth. Races aren’t always won by those who run fast. Battles aren’t always won by those who are strong. Wise people don’t always have plenty of food. Clever people aren’t always wealthy.Those who have learned a lot aren’t always successful. God controls the timing of every event. He also controls how things turn out. Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Proceed forward, don’t be concerned about the quality of anyone else’s performance, but
I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. Philippians 3:14.
Run my race facing forward and in excellence, doing what God has called, trained, and equipped you for.
But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength. They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up. Isaiah 40:31.
Limit your comparison to others, use their work as a framework and indication that “GOD is in the neighborhood”. Never compare their success with yours, remember you can never fully know the details of their TEST-imony.
Don’t look back to where I’ve come from or you might fall back into it. The greatest thing about your past is that you made it through it and it taught you perseverance and patience.
I’m reminded by the words of Kari Jobe song...be patient and be still….catch your breathe, then run, get your stride, and don’t look back.
Julieian-Alexis is a speaker and writer who is passionate about teaching women who to live life chosen and set apart. She loves all things modern with user-friendly comforts. You will most likely catch her learning something new on YouTube, cuddled up with her husband, kids, and dog on the couch watching a movie with some popcorn in hand.