The Fast And The Focused

She’s been a soccer player for years. The beautiful game is where she shines. The older she gets, the better she gets at it.

So she decided to run track this spring.

For fun.

Sydney is thirteen and has more energy in her little finger than I have in my entire body. Watching her play soccer–and she plays a variety of positions on the field–is fun and fascinating. New strategies are needed depending on where she is on the pitch. She’s been keeper, striker, midfielder and defender. And seems to do it all well.

Running is a little out of her comfort zone.

Don’t get me wrong. She runs a minimum of several miles during a game. But it’s the start and stop, sprint and cut with the ball that changes it up.

Running is more consistent. A known distance. An expected pace. Not a lot of unforeseen issues like you find in soccer.

A different kind of endurance.

For the track meets, the coaches put the girls where they believe they’ll do the best. The first meet, Sydney ran in the 4X100 sprint. Four girls each run a quarter of the distance around the track, passing the baton to the gal ahead of them. Sydney’s team smoked the competition in that initial race.

The coaches chose to let her run the 800 meter race.

It’s a tough race if you’ve not practiced the distance.

Syd hadn’t had the chance to practice much.

There were  eleven other girls in the race. A rapid pace held for the first lap. The second time around, the pace slowed. Syd, head down and focused, was pushing herself as  hard as she could.

This was not her comfort zone. I was so proud of her for doing her best. She came in fifth, not what she’d hoped for, but a grand showing for her efforts.

It’s so much easier to stay with what’s comfortable. To not push myself in ways that may have questionable outcomes that I can’t control. To not invite disappointment into my life.

Living safely doesn’t give me the chance to see what I’m really able to do, what I’m truly made of.

Safe living crushes dreams.

When I focus on the things that come easily to me, complacency becomes my reality. With that comes laziness if I don’t push myself to try harder.

God has intended more for us than that.

He gives strength and wisdom to forge new pathways. Purpose to life when I question why I’m here. Hope when I want to cave.

All it takes is faith.

Syd didn’t back down from a challenge on the track. She proved her toughness by finishing the race.

Life, like a super marathon, is made to be run. To finish well. Opting out of such a race leads to disappointment and loss.

To paraphrase Olympian Eric Liddell, we all have the chance to feel God’s pleasure when we run. Because He runs with us.



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