Running My Own Race

(my own sweaty, slow, beautiful race…)

By the time I ran my first 5K, I had been running for a few years, and each week a 5K was probably one of my shorter runs. But when I lined up for my first race (more like shuffled along with the amped-up crowd, wondering what in the CRAP I had gotten myself into), I was so overtaken by the moment – the adrenaline and buzz of it all – that when the race started, I took off. I was keeping pace with Skinny Legs Lady and Super Outdoorsy Guy and I’m An Exceptionally Athletic Kid…until about a mile into it, at which point I began to lose a lot of steam. That’s actually a gracious way of saying I stopped running and started walking. I had a cramp in my side, I was gasping for air and I was confounded by my situation. I was a runner. I ran, like, ALL THE TIME. I tried to blame it on the mountains, since I was used to running at a lower elevation, but I was worn out and it was my fault.

I had run everyone else’s race. And it bit me in the butt.

There have been moments recently when I’ve felt like I was running someone else’s race…but in Life. I’ve felt like a late-bloomer, having just found my confidence, calling and greatest gifts in my 30s. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach my full potential, since I’m a little older than the “fortunate ones” who are figuring things out WAAAAAY earlier than I did.

With this in mind (and at the risk absolutely beating a dead horse with this analogy…poor horse), allow me to explain to you why my run today SUCKED, but why that’s totally ok.

I went running in the middle of an incredibly humid day.
It rained on me, like, 5 times.
The rain doesn’t bother me, but I live in the lightning-strike capital of America (if not the world).
I expended a copious amount of energy on anxiety over the potential for being struck by lightning, then ran along the tree line (read: in straw and sand) as a means of self-preservation.
I could barely breathe the whole time, which rarely happens to me anymore.
My legs felt like anvils.
I could feel my belly jiggling, my everywhere sweating, and my Will To Go On being depleted with every Tree Line Please Jesus Don’t Let Me Get Struck By Lightning step I took.
Then a sad song (something about I’m Never Getting Over You I’m Sad So I’m Writing A Song) came on…and it was basically over.

But I did it. Every sweaty, rainy, splotchy step I took was my way of saying, “I have to do this, even if my way isn’t notable…like, not even a little bit.”

Today I didn’t run a race, but for this analogy, that’s totally what it was; and I had to run my own race. You have to run your own race, too. And not just the race. Life. You have to live your life as well as you can. And your modus operandi is probably going to look different than everyone else’s, and that’s ok.

I’m going to get really Christian on you for a hot second. We were all made in the image of God (super rad, if you ask me). We were all made for a purpose, even if our Today didn’t reveal what that purpose is. We all have different gifts, callings, and passions. This is a GOOD thing.

A world with one type of person would not only be MIND-NUMBINGLY dull, but it would just cease to function.

A world full of Doctors? Great. We would all be working for a pharmaceutical industry that didn’t exist. (Too far? Did I take it too far?)
A world full of teachers? We would crank out a bunch of people who are trained, but not practicing their trades.
A world full of Coffee Roasters? Well. We would be incredibly jittery, with no one to help us, except our fellow, very jittery, coffee roasters.
A world full of Used Car Salesmen? I think we can all agree that this is a terrible idea.
A world full of John Stamos…es? I’LL TAKE IT! Kidding. (but really…)

We can’t be who we’re not. Bottom line.

The weight of comparison is crippling. Please don’t compare yourself. Please stop picking yourself apart in the mirror. Please stop wishing you were as funny as she is, or as driven as he is, or as outgoing as that girl, or as athletic as that guy.

Because we (the world, your family, friends, community) need you to be exactly who YOU are.

I will never be a supermodel (mostly because of the size of my butt…I’ve embraced this).
I will never cure cancer.
I will never win an Oscar.
I will never be an advisor to the White House. I have enough gray hair, thankyouverymuch.

It’s not that I don’t want to strive for great things…It’s just that I  don’t see the need in striving for those great things.

I want to write and publish a book. Two books. Three books. Why not??
I want to release an album.
I want to travel to all 7 continents.
I want to run a marathon (slowly. #duh).
I want to continue to lead worship internationally
I want to be married one day.
I want to show younger women that being single doesn’t have to suck.

These dreams may be lofty for someone else, but I believe they’re part of the race God has called me to run. For that reason, they are completely attainable.

What are your Crazy For Someone Else but Perfect For You goals? What are you passionate about? What are you good at?

Do those things. Be that person… and love others all along the way.

I’ve been running my very own race. Maybe a slower clip, maybe looking around at the scenery (you know, scanning the horizon for lightning), maybe listening to some classical music along the way…but I’ve been running and God isn’t overlooking it.

So neither am I. I’ll take what today has in store. And tomorrow I will embrace tomorrow. This is my prayer for you, too.

– Marty

PS – Now, if I listed “Marry John Stamos” under my “attainable goals” column, would this be:

  1. weird
  2. misguided, at best
  3. school-girlish
  4. totally not weird at all, because you know someone who knows someone who knows someone and…oh look! “John, this is Marty; Marty, this is John.”

…….?

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