The Race

I was afraid to enter the race. I had started, stopped, and started again more times than I could recall. I was afraid to enter the race again. I feared the rejection and criticism of the participants and spectators.

Other runners tended to be more compassionate. They knew how difficult the race is, but spectators terrified me – especially the race’s veterans who had already run the race and finished. I felt they hung over me like a rain cloud. I became negative, fearful, discontented, and critical.

I registered to race in spite of my fears but I did not show for the day of the big race. I became a spectator and critical judge of others who began, started again, and continued the race without me. I stopped training. I stopped racing. I stopped.

With my old registration in hand and my assigned number on my back, I started racing again on July 21, 2018. I was so far behind I couldn’t even see the slowest straggler. The spectators were watching the leaders and they did not even notice that I had re-entered the race. Perfect. My fears of criticism and rejection were as far from me as the race’s leaders and the ones who watched them. I just ran.

I ran day and night. I didn’t stop running. When I stopped to rest, sleep, or bind a blister, my mind stayed in the race. My mind raced. I was back in the race.

I had raced for sixteen days, day and night, before I stopped to look around.

I thought I saw other runners on the distant horizon. No, I told myself. They are probably just children walking to school along this isolated stretch of tropical highway. How humiliating would that be? I wondered where their race would take them. I hoped they would not make fun of me. Is that a tunnel ahead? I wondered.

There was only one spectator yesterday. I had seen him before. It seemed like I would never shake Chango. I didn’t see it coming last Friday, and he nearly nailed me. This time I saw him coming.

Mondays are challenging, and yesterday was no exception. I looked back to see how far I’d come and ahead to see how far I had to go. I became discouraged. I felt like quitting the race again. What’s the point?

Rx: Hebrews 12:1-2

That helped. How did I accumulate the weight of negativity, fear, discontentment, and poisonous toxic thoughts again so quickly? They were heavy. I dropped them, and started running again.

I ran the rest of the day. One day I’ll fly. My mind always races. My life is different when I focus on God’s goodness and truth instead of toxic thoughts.

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