What’s your schedule like today? Do you feel as though you are running as fast as you can? Me, too! And over the years, I’ve learned if I’m running as fast as I can, and someone gives me a push, I don’t run faster. I’m more apt to fall down.
In my life’s race, I’ve often said my master’s degree is from Eastern Michigan University, but my Ph.D. is from The School of Hard Knocks. I would have loved being surrounded by cheerleaders calling, “You can do this!” “I’m proud of you!” “Don’t quit. The goal is just ahead!” Sadly, I listened more to pushers than to cheerleaders. And those pushers wanted me to fit their concept of what women should do and be.
During one of those times of struggling with what others demanded, I found a visual aid to remind myself it’s okay to run at my own pace. What is that item? A Mason pint jar filled with antique buttons–tiny pearl ones from a baby’s gown, coarse browns from a work shirt, bright blues from a Sunday dress, and my favorite, a bold red, green, and purple button that may have “fancied up” an otherwise drab winter coat. I found the jar in an Iowa antique shop during a much needed break from a high pressure job, a grumpy boss, financial challenges of having two children in college, relatives who wanted me to move back to my hometown. You get the picture. So in that dark little shop, I found the button jar positioned next to one filled with identical white pearl buttons. I ignored the matching collection and purchased the jar filled with contrast and color—and imperfect fasteners.
Now whenever I get in one of my “I’m not good enough” moods, I look at my jar of buttons to be reminded that life would be rather boring if we were all the same–and all running the same race. A simple thought, certainly, but one packed with encouragement as I face each new day. And I’ve learned to bob and weave as those folks who want to push me to do more rush toward me. But my most amazing realization is this: The folks shouting their demands and trying to push me to run faster are running as fast as they can, too. So I don’t argue with them now. I just try to toss occasional encouragement and kindness their way as I run my own race.
So how about you? Do you need a cheerleader today? If so, listen to me: You do have great value! Remember, the Lord loves us so much He died for us. Good things are ahead–if we set our own God-given pace and stay in the race. He did not bring us this far to leave us alone. He is our Savior—and our cheerleader. So run with confidence. Don’t quit. The goal is just ahead.