So, let me begin by confessing a slightly embarrassing endeavor…I have decided to learn how to run. For those who do not know me personally you may ask yourself, “Learn how to run? What’s there to learn?” For those of you who know me you are probably thinking, “Is she crazy?” Even I wonder what I am thinking. I am out of shape, weight challenged, and have never been able to jog for longer than a minute at a time.
Inspired by the efforts of some of my much younger friends, I set about alternating walking with jogging. Let’s just say that it has been a very long, unattractive process. Imagine the panting, wheezing, plodding and whining that accompanied my jogs. I have finally managed to jog one mile without stopping, although it takes me much longer to do so than if I WALKED one mile.
All that just to give context to my most recent adventure.
I have found a great way to run in my neighborhood AND avoid running up hill…not an easy feat given where we live. I walk up hill to a small church at the end of our street. The church parking area is an oval loop, five times around it equals one mile, and it is a fairly level running area! When I’m done I walk back down the hill toward home as I cool down.
The last few days I had struggled to maintain my pace and practice my mile. I trudged along barely getting through all five laps. I knew I needed to pick up my pace or make a change to my pattern. I thought this would be much more difficult to do than it actually turned out to be. All I needed was a little extra incentive.
I was on lap two of my five lap routine, breathing hard and glad no one was around to witness my less than graceful running style, when I was joined by a very grumpy goose.
He flapped his wings furiously in a braking fashion, lowered his landing gear and skidded to a halt in the middle of the parking lot and my makeshift running track. I was surprised to see a lone goose far from the local watering hole. He seemed equally surprised to see me running around his landing area.
I have learned that I am not good at getting started again if I stop before my mile is done, so I continued plopping my feet on the pavement in spite of the new onlooker. I had three more laps to go and I was not going to let a goose stop me.
Lap three, he honked and hissed as I passed him.
Lap four; my passing triggered an energetic head bobbing and even louder honks and squawks.
By lap five I was fully aware of impending danger. Mr. Grumpy Goose was now honking, squawking, bobbing his head AND following behind me!
Let me just say, unlike other days when lap five is my slowest and most difficult to complete, I finished my jog in a full run. Yep, goose inspired adrenalin helped me shave 2 minutes off my time!
I walked away unscathed and feeling victorious. I still smile when I picture that goose trying to bully me off the parking lot. I could have let Mr. Grumpy Goose stop me moving forward. I could have let the squawking, bobbing bird change my course. I chose instead to keep moving forward and focused on finishing my run, even if it meant changing how I finished it. The end result was positive. The challenge of Mr. Grumpy Goose helped push me the little bit I needed.
I know God allows challenges in our lives much like Mr. Grumpy Goose. Unfortunately I tend to think a challenge is a sign that I should stop or change. Sometimes a challenge is there to propel us forward, quicken our pace or solidify our determination.
As we face each grumpy goose God allows along the way, may we be encouraged and not discouraged in our journey.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgment.” 1Timothy 1:7
Lord, help us to overcome our challenges so we may finish our race and hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”