Hi there! Sadie, here. I wanted to share this chapter from my book LIVE today because it is just so fitting for the year that we’re in. This is one of my favorite chapters and hope it speaks to you right where you are at today. I love this chapter so much that I’ll be covering this chapter and more in my new LIVE book club launching January 2021! Full of additional content, guided prayer, live chats with yours truly and more, you can join LO sister today and be ready for the book club. *PLUS: Take advantage of our Christmas Bundle and get (or gift!) one year to LO sis at a great price! Tis the season!
AND, get your LIVE book right now for 40% off at Books A Million! Click the image below to go to the deal.
*Valid until 12.19.20*
Now, enjoy this chapter from my book!
In high school I was good at throwing the javelin and shot put, so the track and field coach asked me to join the team. “Okay,” I told him. “But I can’t run.”
He said, “Okay. You can just do field events.” So we had a deal.
Track and field is a team sport, but the scores are based on indi- vidual performances. For each performance, athletes are awarded a certain number of points, which go toward the team total. The better each individual does, the more points the team gets.
As our team prepared for our regional meet, the coach gathered all of us and said, “We need as many points as possible in the region- als, so some of you will have to compete in events you don’t normally do. We’re going to have to have someone run the two-mile.”
As soon as I heard that, I tried to hide behind the people in front of me—like you do when you don’t want someone to call on you in class. I was so clearly not a runner, no one would think I would have been in danger of being called on. I was happy in the field events and felt confident I could do them well. I was not interested in doing anything else, especially the two-mile.
Now, I know some of you reading this book get up at 5:00 in the morning and drink juice the same color as the grass you run on. And you are laughing about my two-mile crisis. But two miles was more than I had ever tried to run around a track.
As my mind went back and forth from no way to no way, I suddenly heard the coach say, “Sadie, you’ll do the two-mile.”
Everyone on the team started laughing, including me (at first), because I thought he was joking. We all knew I would not do well in a two-mile event.
He responded, “Why is that funny?”
When an authority figure wants to know why something is funny, what you thought was hilarious just moments before is no longer funny.
Just a couple of days later I was lined up on the track. As soon as the race started, I knew it would not end well for me. It wasn’t long before everyone in the event lapped me. Even the middle schooler who was competing in the high school meet passed me.
The coach must have realized how terrible the experience was for me because as I rounded the corner where he was standing, he yelled, “Sadie, do not step off this track. You are going to finish this race!”
I was miserable—so miserable and so dramatic. I remember looking up at the beaming sun and clouds and saying as I rounded the sixth lap, “Oh, God, I have lived a good life, but take me now—or come down from heaven!” The humiliation of being lapped by liter- ally everyone else in the race was bad enough. But even worse was the revelation that I would have to run the last lap all alone, with all the spectators watching me struggle to put one foot in front of the other.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone running down the bleachers toward the track, and I heard the first lines of my warm-up song for basketball. My brother John Luke was headed straight for me with the song playing on his phone. He had come down from the bleachers to run that last lap with me! The spectators loved it! I loved it! Everyone who had felt sorry for me minutes earlier had re-engaged and stood to cheer us on. It was not a pity clap; it was an uproar. They were pumped up because they saw something that day that amazed them—my brother completely took away the humiliation of my performance.
What John Luke did for me that day was a perfect picture of what Jesus does for us all the time. He meets us in the place of our embarrassment and failure and redeems our story. He makes a pitiful picture into a beautiful, powerful visual we could never have created for ourselves.
If you are feeling humiliated for some reason right now, I want to encourage you. You may even be past the feeling of humiliation and feel you would rather die than face the last lap in front of you, but friend, keep running your race. Don’t stop when it gets hard or even when the middle schooler leaves you in the dust. Don’t let the most painful part of the story become the end of it. Keep moving ahead, even if you have to go slowly, trusting Jesus to redeem everything.
The apostle Paul wrote about this, saying, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14 nlt). That’s pretty impressive when we think about everything he went through— being thrown in prison, being whipped, facing death several times, being beaten with rods three times, being stoned once, and being shipwrecked three times (2 Corinthians 11:23–25). No matter what he had to endure, Paul never gave up.
Life is like a race. It takes humility to keep running when you feel the race will never end, but that’s exactly what God calls us to do. I don’t have much in common with Paul; I’ve never been beaten or shipwrecked, but I do know what it’s like to run a race that feels impossible to finish, and I am not just referring to that two miles. Life gets hard, but it is always worth the run. There are a lot of people who are watching and are impacted by your continuing to run, no matter how insignificant it may feel.
One reason you are living is that God wants to give you a story, a testimony that helps the world see who He is. Jesus trusts us with our stories. I think that is amazing to think about. Yet sometimes we try to bail right before our story gets good because that is usually when we get pushed beyond the limits of our comfort. Life becomes hard. Someone lets us down. Something we were really hoping for does not happen. A friend rejects us. All kinds of things happen to cause pain and disappointment, and sometimes they hurt so much that we just want to quit. However, it is so important that we keep pressing on because that decision to push past the pain and the fear will change everything for your life and will impact a lot of people around you. You see, if we don’t press through the hard times, then the hard times will be all we’ll know and all that others see in our lives. But if we push through them in the power of the Holy Spirit—God within you—we get to the good stuff. The difficulties make us stronger and our stories better. They are part of the way God transforms us, and our transformation is what leads to our testimonies.