On Mother’s Day, I ran a triathlon. This was the second year in a row that I had done it. It was a breast cancer charity race. I did it to honor a friend who lost her life to the disease. I did it to honor her, her daughters, and all the women in my life.
Although it wasn’t the most intense race ever, I still gave it my all as I spent hours, days, and weeks swimming, biking, and running. I’m the type of person to give my all to whatever I do (well… I’m not always the best about ironing, getting dust from under my bed, and oh, a few other things!) but I did train extensively for the triathlon. At times, I was tired of training. Tired of spending another hour or so carving time away from my family, my chores, my “alone” time. But, like so many things in life that must be done, I did it anyway. I found the time, where there was none to be found.
But when I rounded the bend toward the finish line, and there was a crowd of people on either side of the course, I said to myself that it was all worth it – the struggle to get out of bed to train, the sore muscles, the time away from my family, the things I gave up (peanut M & M’s!) – all worth it. As I said before, I didn’t do the race to have multitudes encouraging and cheering me; my purpose was much greater than that. But I can’t say that the cheering masses weren’t a big plus. To have someone applauding your efforts… I mean, how often does that happen in our daily lives? No one cheers me when I fold the laundry or when I get the sticky goo off the kitchen floor. When my kids are unhappy with me because I make them do their math, no one is clapping to say that I’m “almost there – you’re doing awesome!” No, that never happens.
These are the things running through my mind on one of my post-race runs. I’m finishing up my run, coming down the final stretch, just wishing the crowd was there for me again to spur me to run faster and stronger. I think how, when I crossed the finish line on race day, I immediately walked back to the sidelines to cheer on the rest of the triathletes running that last leg. I envision my friend Kim running toward the finish with all her heart and soul, and I’m literally 6 inches from her, screaming at the top of my lungs “Way to go, Kim! You’re almost there! You’re doing GREAT!” And she didn’t hear one word I said, not one iota; she was so completely focused on achieving her goal. This is the thought ruminating in my brain: “she was so completely devoted to finishing, she didn’t hear me.” Then, I heard it – God’s voice in my head. And He simply said to me, “You do that all the time to me. There I am – the great I AM! – cheering you on, encouraging you, shouting to you, and you don’t hear me. You block me out, lump my voice in with the crowd, because you’re so intent on reaching your goal.”
Wow! It was like a thunderbolt, and I finished my run in sobs. I do that. All the time. I am missing His voice in my rush to accomplish what I deem the goal. It’s my finish line I’m trying to cross, not His. If only I could shift my thinking, my hearing, my awareness. I would hear His voice leading me to His goals for me. And who wouldn’t love Him on the sidelines, motivating us to succeed. After all, If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31