If she focused on what was behind her--I might win.
It was the Thanksgiving Turkey Lurkey 5K race. Over a decade ago in small town Indiana, with a small group of runners, I had a shot at first place. In my age/sex category I had only one competitor. With those odds I had a 50 percent chance of a medal. Something that had eluded me my whole life.
Only one lone female stood between me and a trophy. The problem was that she had the body shape of a runner. While I was both solid in build and low to the ground.
Not to mention I really didn’t like running. And I never came close to experiencing any runner’s high—that feeling of euphoria when endorphins flood the brain. The only good feeling I had from running was when it was over.
The gun sounded. The runners were off. I plodded along with the slower pack while the more elite runners sprinted past. Within a couple of minutes I felt tired. It was going to be a long 3.1 miles.
Halfway through the race I spotted my competitor up ahead. I picked up my pace closing the gap. I made sure she could hear me as I was fast approaching.
And then my threat to the medal turned her head to see who was behind her. As she looked over her shoulder, she began to slow. This allowed me to sprint past her.
When I rounded the corner and was out of sight, I slowed. I scaled back to a steady pace that I could sustain to the end.
I learned a key lesson that day. A principle that also applies to life.
Focus on what is ahead and not on what is behind.
As women we are tempted to focus on the past. I know I am. And we cannot move forward if we are wallowing in negative memories. There isn’t one of us that has a stainless record. We’ve all come short of ideal. Sinning, making mistakes, and choosing poorly.
My Achilles heal is rethinking how I parented. I wish I would have cherished more of the moments and been less stressed about the insignificant.
And those of us who have suffered from significant loss know that it is easy to dwell on our yesterdays. Rethinking decisions that can’t be undone. Living in regret. Immersed in guilt.
We are to grieve while doing our best to take small steps to move forward. It’s not helpful to stay stuck looking at our lives from a rearview mirror.
We are to gaze at what is ahead. Believing that good things are yet to come. Life can be good again.
Even after devastating heartbreak.
And yes, I did medal that crisp November day.
Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13).
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