I saw people posting these side-by-side selfies recently and thought, 2009 to 2019? Nope! The contrast would no be flattering to me. Ten years ago, I was the fittest, thinnest, and most confident person I have ever been. I had just finished a stint as a health and fitness blogger for a major US women’s magazine; I was shattering goals, and recently got engaged to the love of my life. As Brandy would say (I know, I’m dating myself), I was sitting on top of the world…
I’ve also faced serious health issues, personal tragedy, and deep loss. Bouts of frustration and disappointment. And depression so acute at times that I did not want to get out of bed. I can’t count how many days I sought to eat away my sorrows or to escape my mounting anxiety in the pages of somebody else’s story.
I don’t recount this so you can feel sorry for me.
I can see that God took that unflappable, overconfident 24-year old I was back in 2009, and used circumstances to break me.
To break off misplaced confidence in myself, in my abilities, and in my accomplishments.
God is good! My faith and hope are increasingly in Him.
So back to that 10-year Challenge. I was recently scrolling through my old Facebook profile photos to see if I could find a flattering enough comparison to participate in this challenge. I saw a picture of me in 2009 – at the finish line of a half-marathon. Could that really have been me? So disciplined and determined. I felt so disconnected from that girl. And ashamed that I’m the opposite of fit these days. There was no way I was going to post side by side photos.
But then the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts to remind me of a vision I had this past summer. I was at a prayer service, but I couldn’t pray. Instead, I was worried about how I was going to handle my daughter’s transition to preschool and starting grad school in the same week, among other things.
That’s when I saw a vision of me hunched on all fours, a racer at the start line, before the gun goes off. It was not a half-marathon, it was an Olympic race. And God said, “I’m releasing you. Run as fast as you can (and I saw myself running) and don’t hold back! Now is the appointed time.”
I remember being overcome with so much joy and such an awareness of God’s presence at that moment. I knew everything was going to be OK.
I’m still that same girl that ran the Philly Half in 2009, I’m just running a far more critical race.
Thank you, God, for the reminder.
(And yes, it’s time to dust off the running shoes. Pray for me!)
May we all be reminded of what we’re made of in 2020. And may we each run our race, secure in who God has made us to be.
Happy New Year, friends!