My sister Peggy lives in Texas. I cherish the few times a year that we see each other. One of our favorite activities is taking long walks together. We have happily chosen to walk side by side from the time we were teenagers until now in our forties. Many many miles have passed between the two of us!
At Christmas last year, Peggy casually mentioned that two of her friends had made an adventurous goal of walking a marathon in every state. This immediately sparked something in me, and I said to my sister, “Where do we start?”. She 100% agreed and we began planning. (If we do one a year in every state, I will finish my last marathon when I am 94. Now that’s a “feat”…no pun intended.)
I must admit, I had a few valid concerns about marathon-walking with my sister. First of all, Peggy’s last name is Lively, and the name fits her disposition to a tee. Her energy level far surpasses mine. Also, Peggy and I are built very differently; she was blessed with long legs, mine, well, not so long at all. I (fretfully) kept these differences in mind while I trained for the Country Music Marathon (April 3oth)…
And so, we begin…walking and occasionally jogging…mile 1, mile 2, mile 3…uh oh…wow, she’s speedy….mile 4, mile 5, mile 6….what in the world have I gotten myself into?!!….mile 7, 8, 9…and why did we not choose basket-weaving or pottery-painting once a year?! It was obvious to me that I needed to make some adjustments if I wanted to stay at this pace. I always knew I could not walk fast; but I also know I possess the “gift” of running real slow. So while Peggy lengthened her lovely stride, I shortened mine and shuffled along right by her side. We were quite a sight. (While her last name is Lively, my last name Baxter means tenacious; and this is what I needed to be in to finish this race!). I am delighted to say, many many many miles later, we crossed the finish line, holding hands.
What did God teach me through this exhausting yet exhilarating experience? I now understand in a deeper level that we as Christians are all in the same “race”… life. And while racing, our eyes should be looking straight ahead at our one common goal Jesus Christ:
…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
If we look to the right or the left, we begin to compare. We find ourselves saying things like, “I should be doing life the way my neighbor, friend, sibling, or parent is.” Or, “I’ll never measure up.” And even, “I can’t, so I quit.” Look at the shepherd boy David. He used his wiring, a sling and a stone, to slay the giant, not the wiring of King Saul who offered David his personal armor.
My friend, keep your eyes on Christ alone. How has He wired you from within? Are you walking in the way He created you, or are you struggling to be like the person by your side?
My sister and I have the same heart; we share the same Savior. Ironically, we started a ministry together a couple of years ago that we “happened to” name Walking with Hope. Our unified desire is to share Jesus Christ, the only living hope, with those that need an encouraging Word throughout life’s journey. You can check out her website at www.livinlively.com. But we are also different. She must walk her way, and I must walk mine. And with joy, we will continue to encourage each other all along the way.
One more bit of information about the marathon, if you have attended any one of the Walking with Hope functions in my home, Peggy and I “took you with us.” In my runner’s pouch, was a notecard of about 100 names. And as we walked, jogged, and shuffled through the marathon together, we prayed for you… to walk in your wonderful wiring, with your eyes fixed on Christ alone.