Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Several months ago, or maybe a year ago, I wrote about running your own race. Not to get caught up in what the person next to you is doing as it can serve as a distraction to get you off the course God has set for you. If you did not get a chance to read it, STOP here, go read “Run Your Race”, then come back.
Well, I had the nerve to start back up at Planet Fitness and what was so refreshing about my experience was even though I was in a familiar location, using the same equipment, God gave me new revelation. Plug…do not ever get tired of reading the same scripture as God can always give you a new word. We sometimes take for granted since we have heard the scripture before, we turn a deaf ear to it. No, God still has something to say to His children…. LISTEN!
As I mentioned I was back at Planet Fitness, back on the good ole elliptical machine. One of the beauties of COVID is there is space between each machine, so there was less chance of distractions by me looking to the left or right. I even thought I was safe from meddling at someone in front as I would not be able to read the numbers on their machine. Ha! However, we should never sleep on the enemy, he is craftier than any beast which the Lord God made. (Genesis 3:1)
Here I go, started the machine, turned on my worship music, AND closed my eyes. You see even I know the gates to my mind and heart is through the eyes, so I wanted to do everything possible to protect myself (Matthew 6:22-23). Continuing on with my workout and after some time had passed, I opened my eyes and there she was.
Perfectly positioned in front of me to the left, was a young lady and for the sake of myself (my own ego, pride, whatever you’d like to call it) had to be in her late 20s to early 30s. She was working out, but this was not an ordinary workout. She was getting it! I mean getting it! It was not her speed, she was dipping it low, dropping like it was hot, and this was ALL on the elliptical. As I type this, I am grinning and laughing because it was so funny. I had never seen anything like that before, and I for sure was not skilled enough to do it...I had my water bottle and inhaler on deck!
But carrying on. I stared at her so long, I got tripped up in my own rhythm; and then of course The Lord spoke. I heard Him so plain and loudly, “You cheatin' (yes, it is spelled correctly).” Cheating? By now, I understand more about placing myself in the position of competition with another person or comparing myself to those on social media, so how was I cheating? Surely, I heard something else and not cheating. But sure enough, the Lord repeated Himself, “You cheatin'.”
Now, we often think of cheating as methods to get ahead of someone, or to get a better grade or score on something, but the Lord said, “You are cheating yourself!”
Mercy! I am cheating myself of what He already has in line for me. What God was saying, because I was more fascinated with someone else’s workout, I am not developing the skills in Him necessary in order to carry out those things He has spoken specifically to me. Christ has imparted within us gifts and talents to be used for His Glory to edify His kingdom, but those cannot be shown while fascinated with others. (Ephesians 4:7-16)
Since staring too long, I unknowingly slowed down, and now it will take much longer to attain what He originally had planned for me. JESUS! “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." Remember when I said I got tripped up in my rhythm, even to almost falling, "He still upholds me with His hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).
Along with cheating myself, I am also cheating those along the way God would use me to bless. Focusing so much in another direction allows the enemy to whisper lies that turn into discouragement. But, we can overcome the lies of the enemy by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimonies (Revelation 12:11). Sharing our testimonies with others, gives them encouragement to overcome the lies of the enemy. Cheating myself out of an early victory. We can be our own enemy. Sure, we like to blame the devil for everything, but when we reveal things of interest, the enemy likes to use our own desires to entice us and draw our attention away from what God has for us and what He would have us to do. (James 1:14)
When I initially started on the elliptical, I did not see the young lady, she showed up some time during my workout... when my eyes were closed. AND if the whole
experience of her being there wasn’t interesting enough, she finished and was cleaning her machine before I was done. Here me. I have no idea how long it took her to get to a level of her workout. Sure, her dipping and dropping seemed seamless; however, I do not know the blood, sweat, and tears it took for her to make it to this level.
No one knows your journey, hence YOUR journey. We are all on a path God created before we were formed in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The question remains, will we run our own race? Or will we choose to become fascinated and stare at another. Because if we are not running our own, we will be cheating.