When You’re Tired of Running the Race

Once, my sister and I signed up for a half marathon.  She trained in one city and I said I was training in another.

Race day came.  I was petrified and ill-prepared.  I am not a runner girl.  I never even came close to the recommended mileage but I did do my part on carb-loading.  I felt sure my stubbornness and pride would see me finish.  I was committed, oh yes I was. I would complete this race if I had to drag my butt with my own hands across the finish line.

The first time I had to walk during the race, I was disappointed with myself. I walked and just caught my breath.  But then Gwen Stefani started screaming in my ears and I was really feelin’ it…pointing at random people in the crowd and letting them know I ain’t no Hollaback Girl.   I felt good.

For a moment.

Then I got a stitch in my side and had to stop again.  I’d get that under control and start running.  I would eat the gummy bears that people handed out for an energy boost and wait for something that never came.   It was like that the whole race.

That last mile? Straight uphill.  I felt, and looked like, I was on a treadmill.

Then something incredible happened.  You runners know what I’m talking about: I saw the finish line.  The crowd was cheering me on (me and the first guy to finish his full marathon.  Did I mention I was running a half?).  I didn’t care.  I waved to everyone like a sweaty fool.  I crossed that line beaming.  I felt like I was beaming but maybe I just showed a little tooth.  I was exhausted like I’ve never been before but had accomplished a difficult thing.  Something I had to push myself to finish and that was not comfortable most of the time.

So why was I smiling? And why did I want to do another one?

I still don’t know.

They passed out pizza to all the runners and I will tell you, I have never tasted anything quite so special.

Why I am telling you this story about my awful, wonderful race-running experience?

Because I need to hear it.

Do you ever get tired of…doing good?

Maybe those words don’t ring a bell.

Do you ever get tired of making hard decisions that are good?  Do you get tired of sacrificing for your family because it’s better for them but not necessarily for you?  Do you ever want to throw your hands up when it feels like you’re not making a dent in the line of help just waiting to be served by you?

I don’t know about you, but all of those kind of ring my bell at one time or another.

Galatians 6:9 says, ‘And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.’

I read that and I think, ‘That’s not helpful.  I am so there already.’  I am overwhelmed with things I want to do, things that need to be done, things I neglect to do.  And I’m just…weary.

So what do we do?

I suspect it might be just like that awful, wonderful race-running experience:

We keep putting one foot in front of the other.  We might walk until our song comes on.  We take our gummy bear breaks and we catch our breath.  We will get our second wind.  And we should enjoy every single second of it.  Because there’s a hill that’s coming up after that and we will have to slow down and walk again.

But we stay in the race, don’t we?

And you know what’s at the end?

Something so much better than pizza.

Hear that?  Our song is up next…let’s keep running.

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  1. Samantha Bramhall | 3rd Jan 14

    You have no idea now badly I needed to read this. I’m at the hill and it seems to continue going up and up with no mercy… and I’m ready to just stop and sit down. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      Sam, like it said…I needed to hear it, too. Today…just one foot, right? You’ve had a rough few weeks and to carry the load when you need to be carried awhile…it’s just tough. I’m praying for you, sister. Thank you for these words which are encouragement to me.

  2. Meagan | 3rd Jan 14

    Nail on the head. It’s crazy/sad/exhausting how with only 3 days into the New Year I’ve wanted to thrown in the towel regarding a few things. But life is a race. We need to chew on those gummy bears (dark chocolate) and wait for that second wind. I love you and the way you articulate you ideas!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      Meagan, I feel you, sister. I am feelin.you. I love you. #darkchocolateismygummybear

  3. Mary | 3rd Jan 14

    So, I read your wonderful blog entry and then this verse was part of my Bible reading this morning. Guess God’s trying to tell me something?!

    But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chron. 15:7

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      Mary, God does that to me…speaks in themes to make sure I get it :). Ah….He takes the time to encourage, doesn’t He? I am loving the addition of ‘be strong’. We have to build up to be strong, part of perseverance. I love that. Thank you for sharing. And your steady encouragement. I always feel you there 🙂

  4. Lori Lehrmann | 3rd Jan 14

    Favorite part was envisioning you pointing at random people in the crowd with ol Gwen singing “I ain’t no hollaback girl” in your ear! I loved this!! Thanks for the push!! Love you sista-friend!!!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      This is a true story. I love you and I have missed you like crazy. Ready to have a conversation when these shorties get back to school! Can’t wait to see what you have coming up. We are in this together.

  5. Amanda | 3rd Jan 14

    I was letting the dog outside this morning, and then came into the kitchen and saw the dishes that needed to be put away, and I just sighed. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had a caffeinated beverage yet, or because I didn’t sleep well, or because I was hungry and grumpy, but I thought, “wow, the same ‘ol routine–woo hoo!–only three days into the new year and feeling lackluster…will I wake up tomorrow and it will be 2015 and I’ll be a year older and feeling even more lackluster?”. And then I opened up my email and read your blog and other’s posts and I realized that it is the “one foot in front of the other” that keeps us going. And enjoying the little sparks of light (gummy bears, chocolate or silly grins from our kiddos) that are mixed into our daily routine that makes it all worthwhile. : ) Thank you for your honesty and encouragement–it was JUST what I needed to hear. 🙂 (ps. I still despise doing dishes. Lol!!)

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      So…when I wrote this, I thought, ‘Ugh. I’m just a nut. This one is just for me to sort some stuff out.’ And like you, the comments on ‘Me too’? That is what has made this so cool. I guess it’s no fun to go around and talk about burnout (Debbie Downer ;))…but sometimes we just need a pep talk and an ‘I hear ya, sister.’ I hear YOU. I just love reading your comments…I think there is a writer in you. Just sayin’…I can picture every word. Oh and hey…I will trade you dishes for laundry?! Love you, girl.

  6. SB | 3rd Jan 14

    You ain’t no hollaback girl….. You’re my encouraging, ever so hard working, beautiful wife and I will be there for every hill and mile Lord willing! Keep it up and thank you for the encouragement I needed today as well. BB

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 3rd Jan 14

      Thank you for these sweet words. You’ve always been there through every hill and side-stitch and I’ve caused a few of yours ;). We are a good team. I love you so much.

  7. luanne | 10th Jan 14

    Melissa…how did you know I was going to come to your blog today with the need to read “keep running”!? Jon and I have really been struggling lately with this whole new career thing not panning out after years of praying about it. Thanks for the reminder…I needed it.
    Love your words….

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 13th Jan 14

      Lu, I need the constant reminder myself. Sometimes it’s just…exhausting, isn’t it? I know this situation from our end…and I know how to pray for you and Jon! Even on days when it doesn’t FEEL like it, we know enough to know that God works even the challenges in our favor, don’t we? I just love you.

  8. Jill Tucker | 13th Jan 14

    Encouragement I need today, because the kids are finally back in school and it is too quiet, and I am a little sad, and I feel like going back to bed. Think I’ll find something better to do. Love you!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Jan 14

      Jill, I am always on stand-y to give you live, round-the-clock encouragement. It’s only fair because I cry to you often. You call me when it’s too quiet (and you aren’t supposed to be writing ;). I love you, sister.

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