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Today’s Truth

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12, NIV).

Friend to Friend

The race started like any other race: runners at the starting line, fans in the stands, excitement, and anticipation thick in the air. But this race was a big one. An indoor track and field conference championship for the collegiate women’s 600-meter run.

At the sound of the gun, the runners took off – each with a heart longing to win the race – each competing fiercely for the prize. Just three quick laps stood between the four athletes and their destinies. It was clear from the beginning this race would be tight.

My family and I watched online as the long and lean runners vied for the lead. In unison, we gasped with horror when, as they began the final lap, one of the competitors caught the slightest edge of another runner’s shoe and went crashing down onto the track.

My heart sank when she fell. I didn’t know this fallen woman, but I do know what it feels like to fall and to have your hopes dissolve in a split second. I felt the despair of the crash with her.

The fans in the crowd all stood to their feet and rallied cries of encouragement to the young runner. The seconds that followed will be etched into my heart and mind forever. She could’ve walked off the track and everyone would’ve understood.

But she didn’t quit.

She got up and kept running.

Now a full quarter-lap behind the other runners, the fallen runner fixed her eyes on the track before her and ran like the wind. With just half a lap to go, this determined young woman overtook third place. Unbelievable. The crowd swelled with amazement.

Then, just a hundred yards before the finish line, she inched up to the other two runners and – at the tape – leaned forward to win the race!

No. Stinkin’. Way!

The crowd went wild. My family went wild. What a race! What a fall! What a recovery! What a victory!

The next day, as I took my son to school, he and I had trouble connecting. I was frustrated with him; he was frustrated with me, and what I’d hoped would be a warm send-off to a great day became an icy goodbye as he got out of the car. I felt like a loser-mom and lamented to God about it on the drive home.

As I poured out my frustrations in prayer, the Lord reminded me of the race.

Like the young runner, I got tripped up on the shoes of another runner and fell, mid-race. Now, I had a choice. I could stew and allow my disappointments to keep me from running, or I could call on the grace of the Lord, put one foot in front of another, and get back in the race.

The writer of Hebrews talks about a cloud of witnesses that encourages others in faith, and as I prayed, I could almost hear them cheering me on.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Game. On.

I got back up. I chose to run again by asking the Lord for the grace and strength to finish the day strong in Him. By the time my son got home from school, we had both cooled down. Grace ran before us. I asked him to forgive me for frustrating him and he did the same.

We all run. We all fall.

Each day brings fresh opportunities to experience the mercy, strength, and grace of God. When writing to the church of Philippi about the discipline of perseverance, the apostle Paul said this: “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things” (Philippians 3:13b-14).

Whatever you face today, friend, run.

Run to win the prize.

And when you fall; don’t throw in the towel, don’t point fingers, don’t stew, and don’t quit.

Get back up and keep running… in the mercy, strength, and grace of God.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for grace. Please help me to run in your mercy and strength today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What one thing can you do today to move forward from where you are?

Grab your Bible and read the book of Philippians. It’s only four chapters long. You can do it! If you don’t have time to read the whole thing right now, then read a chapter a day for the next four days.

More from the Girlfriends

Feel like giving up? Get back on track with Gwen Smith as your coach! Do you have some back-burner heart dreams that you’re ready to prioritize and make happen? Gain focus, bolster your courage and sharpen your competencies through 1-on-1 coaching. Spots are limited. Learn more at GwenSmith.net/Coaching.

© 2021 by Gwen Smith. All rights reserved.

9 Responses to “Get Back in the Race”

  1. Rhonda Jefcoat says:

    I needed to read this today! I teach college and this is our first week back. I have come home the past 2 days feeling like a horrible person because I have 3 large classes of new freshmen and I have struggled with patience.

    I know that they are new to college. I know they are still so young. I know they don’t know and/or understand how this whole new college experience works. But even knowing this – I’ve been frustrated with having to repeat myself over and over after just answering the same question.

    I have spent the past 2 days feeling like a horrible failure and seemingly it has compounded on itself. TODAY, however, I’ve asked God to be in control. To help me to get up from where I’ve fallen and to continue the race striving for the goal of winning over the sense of failure I have.

    Thank you for your devotion this morning – it was needed so badly as the reminder that God is always there, he is always faithful, he is always waiting on me to surrender my inadequacy and to build me up!

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Oh, Rhonda! Thank you for sharing this. You’re not alone, friend. We all stumble and fall. Super love when God gets all up in our business to help lift us up in personal ways, though, don’t you? Keep on running!!

      GWEN

  2. In 2019 I lost 50 lbs: from 270 to 220. Then the pandemic hit, all the gyms closed, and I’ve gained 10 lbs back. This reading was so apt as today is the first day I’ve returned to exercising (in-home this time), after struggling to find a routine. God give me the strength and Grace, truly

  3. Sabrina cann says:

    Thankyou for this devotion. I am a single mom trying to raise two boys for the LORD. I am struggling with being behind in their homeschooling, but not giving up. God will help us this year to get ahead I am praying.

    This devotion has been healing for me this morning and it had me sobbing and begging the LORD for his mercy and Grace. Just two years ago I remarried and the man ended up being a fake Christian, secretly he was addicted to drugs and had severe mental illnesses. He left me when I was 11weeks pregnant with my baby girl who is now 19months. A glorious jewel of a daughter she is just precious, beyond words- well worth the suffering. But I have fallen hard twice now! and the LORD has helped me get back up and is helping me to run. I just really resonated with today’s story . It blessed my heart that that women actually won. 🙂 I needed that encouragement and never expected that she could win. I pray God will help my 3 children to know him and serve him with their lives! then I will have won the race God has set before me. Thanks

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Wow, Sabrina! Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you are truly running in His GRACE and STRENGTH. And YES, girl. You surely CAN win!

      Stay the course with JESUS! Anything is possible…

      GWEN

  4. Catherine W. says:

    I needed to be reminded that it’s OK to fall down. I started my EMBA program this week, and it’s been challenging. My prayer is that I truly underhand the material to apply it in my career. I haven’t been a student in a long time and this feels very new to me.

  5. Jenny says:

    Hi Gwen,

    This devotion hit right at my heart. Here in Melbourne Australia we are in our 6th lockdown and I work at a primary school supporting young students who have learning disabilities or are just low in their academics. We have these kids on-site at the school, and I go in and assist them. Each day it gets harder as they need so much help, you see it in their faces and they struggle and demand so much attention. We only have a few staff to support these kids, and it is tough some days.
    Like the runner, I fall and I get so tired and dejected and lose my patience at times when I have 6 kids asking for my help at once.
    They are beautiful children and I go home guilty, frustrated with the weight of what this pandemic is doing to all our kids.
    Gwen you have reminded me the privilege and joy God has entrusted to me to help these kids. Thank-you! God has given me my course and even though I will fall, I WILL remember to get back up and praise Him for his grace and mercy every day.
    Love in Christ
    Jenny

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