I walked roughly 48.5 miles this past weekend. It was, besides childbirth, the most challenging thing I have done in my life.
The funny thing is, I signed up for a 62-mile race. So, I fell short by 13.5 miles. Which on a normal day would be a walk in the park. Not this time, though.
Once upon a time, missing the mark would have left me dissatisfied. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Not quite enough. Lacking, insufficient. A failure.
But, funnily enough, that’s not how I feel at all.
As the years roll on by, so quickly and without a breath of hesitation, so too grows my assurance in who I am as a person. No longer do I need the assurance of performance to determine my self-worth.
All my life I’ve used my scores or my percentage on an exam or my time on a workout to determine how good I feel about myself. These numbers indicated to me how well I was doing in comparison to a set standard or to those around me. But at the end of the day, they’re all numbers. And I’m so much more than a number. And it’s so futile working towards numbers — you feel great when you’re up and down when you’re down, and honestly, we were made for so much more than that.
So, friends, I didn’t finish the race I set out to, but the truth is I was still a winner at the end of the day.
I learned that my mind could remain positive when the odds were stacked against me.
I learned that my body could burn with pain but I could still persevere.
I learned that my feet and body can scream with pain yet my mind remains a safe haven.
I learned that I could be a team player, even when I was the weakest player.
I learned that I could be the weakest link in a team, and still be the strongest I have ever been.
I learned that it actually is okay to be the weakest link. Every team will have one and sometimes, the role shifts depending on the obstacle or the timing — and it’s okay to be that person. All that is required is to bring YOUR best.
I learned that everyone needs a support crew to cheer for you and spur you on. Don’t take these people for granted and don’t be fooled — the people doing the work behind the scenes are the true heroes. Don’t forget to sing their praises.
I learned that sometimes, you have to encourage yourself. Give yourself a quick pep talk, wipe your tears, and just get the job done.
I learned that I can lean on others for support.
I learned I can still encourage others, even when I’m suffering myself.
I learned that the mind is so much stronger than your physical limitations.
I learned that I can make the best decision for my body and for my team, and be okay with it, even when it is different than planned or expected.
I learned that it’s okay to stop before you break.
I learned that it is okay to cry and still be strong.
So, while I may not have finished the race as a whole, I finished my race. I ran (or very slowly hobbled) my race and I am so happy with that.
Friends, you can win your race by giving it your all. You may not win every medal or trophy presented by human hands, but we are not running this race for the approval of man.
You may not finish in the time you hoped or make the distance you were aiming for, but remember, you are so much more than a number.