I will never forget my stint running track during high school. I loved running and I hated running all at the same time. It was exhilarating, fulfilling, intimidating, fun, hard, and everything else in between. What can I say? It was my great escape from the world. When I laced up those track shoes and my spikes hit that latex surface, it didn’t matter what was going on at home, or the fact that I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart, or that I was struggling in algebra class. In that crisp air I became another person. I knew at every track meet, I had one mission, and that mission was to win.
It was one track meet in particular that I continue to treasure in my heart to this day. It was the OCC Championships and the whole time my heart was in my throat or maybe it was in my butt! Whatever the case, it wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I was a nervous wreck. I had become use to being one of the best female runners on my team, but not my division. My anxiety didn’t take away the fact that I had a job to do so I did it. I laced up my track shoes and headed to the track for the girls 800 meter run. I remember staring up and down the staggered start. The girl behind me looked like Goliath from my view and the girl in front of me had legs that looked like they belonged to a horse. Doubt began to sink in and I thought to myself, this is it! I’m about to be found out! My season of grace is over. I’m clearly not as good as I thought I was and I’m about to get crushed!
Reflection time was over and the gun had went off. I shot out the gate and then something had happened. A cool breeze had brushed across my face on that steamy and hot day. It was in that moment that I had decided to take my eyes off the other girls and just run my own race. Immediately I was in the lead. The distance began to grow further and further from the other runners. My coach began to scream, “You’re running too fast Miller, slow down!” The assistant coach thought differently. He ran down to get closer to the action. He coached me through the 2nd lap to help me maintain my lead. He screamed out breathing techniques and reminded me of my form. My coaches’ former apprehensions had turned into joy at the last 100 meters as he screamed, “Oh my goodness, she’s gonna do it! Run Miller…RUN!!! It was a surreal moment as I crossed the finish line and claimed a victory for our school.
Over the years, this experience had become more than a race, but a life lesson as I began my own journey in ministry. There were three lessons I learned in particular.
1. Run Your Own Race
Playing the comparison game is a waste of time! You will always lose in ministry and in life when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. What God has put in you is unique and necessary for such a time as this. What’s in YOU is NEEDED!!! YOUR gifts, YOUR talents, YOUR insight for the department you’re in. Remember, the grace on your life is different from the grace on another’s. Don’t try to walk in someone else’s grace and miss the joy of your own. In that situation, everyone loses! Choose to run your own race and maximize your impact!
2. You’re Going To Have Naysayers…Just Deal With It!
Repeat after me…“There will ALWAYS be Naysayers!” People who can’t see what God has placed inside of you. People who don’t believe in you or your vision. People who don’t think you have what it takes to win. This is just apart of life so deal with it! Jesus experienced his own share of nay-sayers, even within his own family! As my husband likes to say, “Let your Naysayers be your Motivators!” Don’t allow the negativity of others cause you to water-down the call and mission God has given you. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep dreaming for more. Keep working towards that vision. Keep building people. Keep being the light God has called for you to be! And if someone can’t handle your light, hand them some shades and keep shining bright!
3. Be Around People Who Push You To Be More
Even though the nay-sayers will come, God will never leave you hanging. He will always send strong people in your life who will support you, cheer you on, believe in you, and push you to be more. This is your team! This is your inner-circle! This is your tribe! When others think failure is inevitable, these people will get closer to you and coach you from the sidelines to help you push past every obstacle. In the words of my good friend, “Someone is assigned to help you.” So let them help you win!
Life is a race, but Christ has equipped you with every good thing you need to win! Happy running friends!
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
-1 Corinthians 9:24