I’m sure my eyes brightened like a giddy teenager. “I completed Week Four in my Couch to 5K running app!”
My husband chuckled, “And when did you start this?”
“The first week of March.”
More chuckling. (It’s September)
Undeterred, I continued, “That’s the first time I’ve run five minutes without stopping since high school! And I did it twice! Plus two three-minute stretches!”
A grin spread across his face as he placated me. “I’m proud of you.”
Off the Couch
And I know he was. But it wouldn’t matter. When I downloaded the Couch to 5K app in March, I had no intentions of ever running a 5K. It was the “off the couch” part I was after.
I have loathed running since high school, when my dad (my basketball coach) made me run at home during the summer to prepare for the upcoming basketball season. I have bitter memories of running outside when school started, up our rolling hills around the gym and running 10 laps inside when the weather turned cold.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people enjoy running.
But my distaste for running has a deeper root with me than with most people.
Not the Same as Others
I’ve struggled with asthma for three decades, and heavy exercise exacerbates the condition. Only recently have I discovered that asthma keeps my body from having access to the oxygen I need when exerting myself.
Asthma attacks in the middle of basketball games aside, my body — even at its fittest — has never been on a level playing field with my peers. (That’s why I had to run in the summer — to get my body where I could feasibly keep up with the conditioning come August.)
While my peers may still lap me if we ever run together, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. I’ve worked hard. My body feels better. And I plan to keep at it, even if I’ll never run a half marathon.
But you know what would steal my pride of accomplishment? If I compared myself to others without realizing my asthma truly had left me on a different level. Because I understand I’ll never have the lung capacity of a non-asthmatic, I recognize the smaller accomplishments as hugely significant.
Shedding Comparison, Embracing Our Less-Than
It makes me think of the widow Jesus commended who gave her last penny to the temple. Thankfully, in God’s kingdom, what we CAN and DO give makes all the difference.
How often do we compare ourselves to others who have more to work with than we do? Or haven’t experienced the trauma we have?
Someone else may have more resources, more evident spiritual gifts, a more stable family life, more friends, more social finesse, more smarts, more experience, more patience–you name it.
We all feel inept in one area or another. But just as I realize my asthma causes a real deficit in my ability to run, I accept it and do the best that I can do.
And in other areas, I have to accept my deficiencies in certain areas and do my best with my “less.”
Maybe if we all did that, we would self-deprecate less and cheer on each other more.
What do you think?
This post was an excerpt from my weekly Journey with Jill e-mails. To receive these bi-weekly emails, subscribe below: