It occurs to me that I tend to set my sights high as far as what I expect from myself athletically. Walking-wise, if I’m not doing a half marathon, or training for a half marathon, why bother. What I’m coming to realize is doing that can lead to missing out on opportunities to connect with other women who still want to get out there, but for whom going long isn’t part of their plan. So earlier this week when my co-worker/friend asked me to do the local Run for Mercy, I was wishy washy about it – yes, no, ok I’ll sign up. Only a 5k, geez, what’s the point (in my head, not out loud). I fought a cold all week so I had a good excuse but decided to ignore it.
Yesterday morning was beautiful as I rolled over to the event. The Run for Mercy is a fundraising event that benefits Mercy Multiplied, a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to helping young women break free from life-controlling behaviors and situations. It was inspiring to hear testimony from young women whose lives had changed because of the residential or outreach assistance from Mercy. I saw a friend I’d been thinking about just last week and hadn’t seen in a while…things were looking up.
As we started the walk I realized it was going to be a time of connecting, not training. While at first the driver in me tried to get my friends to walk a little faster, I settled in to their pace. The thing that I was reminded of is that although I basically do “couch to half marathon”…but don’t always do the hard core training part…and don’t really think about the difficulty of the event…everyone has different. That’s a good thing and great gut check for me. I got to talk with my friends and as we walked through the beautiful park I also got to talk with a girl who told me she was 30 days sober. WOW – that is an accomplishment. To have the courage to change your life, to rely on God and then get out and walk a 5k…it gave me chill bumps. She walked in with us and I saw her on the way out, thankful to have finished the race.
What’s my “so what” about all this? For me, the so what is the reminder that I need to slow down at times or I’m going to miss the connections God puts in front of me. I can get so focused on driving for the big goals in life that I ignore the beautiful rest stops along the way. And if I want to be an encourager of others, I have to go at their pace, whether it be athletically or through other connection points. The same is true with my own life – that idea of slowing down and listening, experiencing, just being – I don’t take time to do that and I need to.
Turns out I did achieve a goal yesterday, it just looked different than I thought it would, but that’s how God works sometimes, it’s a good thing.