by Shannon Perrett
In the year I turned 40 I gave myself the goal to be ‘Fitter at 40 than I was at 30.’ I had always loved going for a morning walk and so I decided that three days a week I would turn my morning walk into a morning run. Well, run maybe a little bit of an exaggeration. The truth is that I walk, and then jog and then walk etc. I thought that I was kind of taking the easy route, until I came across a training video with Lisa Curry where she actually referred to this method as ‘Fartlek’ training, which is a Swedish term meaning ‘speed-play’. I figured it if was good enough for an Olympic Athlete, it was good enough for me.
So one morning I donned my active wear and pink joggers (‘course I’m convinced you’ll enjoy exercise more if your shoes make you smile) and headed out for my morning ‘fartlek’. Just as I was getting into my jogging rhythm and feeling a little proud of my progress, I heard someone coming up behind me. I looked in their general direction to give a neighbourly ‘morning’ to a fellow runner and I was slightly horrified to see that it was a shirtless man, who was easily in his mid-sixties. I was mortified, not just by the fact that he wasn’t wearing a shirt, but by being passed by someone who was my dad’s age.
To add serious insult to injury, a nearby kookaburra started laughing it’s head off at the same time. I couldn’t help but feel like they were laughing at me and my pathetic attempt at fitness. I stopped in my tracks and was about to walk home in defeat when I realised that I was completely missing the point. I wasn’t jogging to be as good as that 65 year old man, or to post my progress on Strava. I was exercising for me and for my own well-being. I needed to make sure that I was running or even walking my own “race” and had to keep a clear focus on my goal and not compare myself to others.
Paul reminds us to do the same thing in our Christian journey. In Hebrews 12:1-2a he writes, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
While acknowledging that we do have witnesses observing our journey, Paul calls us to keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate goal. We don’t need to look to our left to see how our fellow runners are running their race. We need to ensure that we not getting held back by comparison or sin. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus and run towards Him as if our lives depend on it, because in actual fact they do.
Shannon lives Far North QLD, with her husband and 3 gorgeous girls. After serving for 6 years in Papua New Guinea, her family relocated to Mareeba where they continue to work with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Shannon is thrilled to be part of the Anew Conference team. She is passionate about encouraging women to pursue their God given identity in all seasons of life – especially the chaotic ones!
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