Danielle Macaulay TITLE-min

Lessons I Learned on Ditching my Crutch

Be prepared – I am going to vent about one of my biggest pet peeves today. 

I love my local YMCA. We regularly make use of the aerobic classes, pool, rock climbing wall and kids adventure room. It feels like our family’s second home. My favorite though, is running on the track. It’s up high on the second floor, looking down over the gymnasiums. It is fun to watch the cute toddler gymnastics classes, teenagers shooting hoops, the high energy Zumba class or the retired folk enjoying a game of pickle ball while I burn calories up there. The YMCA is a wonderful atmosphere and it’s fantastic that people are out taking care of their bodies (and minds!)

I need to get one thing off my chest, though: Walkers should never walk in the runner’s lane on a track! I tell ya! It unhinges me every time I have to slow down my pace just because someone isn’t paying attention to the signs. This is comparable to going 20 miles per hour in the left lane of a highway!! Also, I have literally seen people running the wrong way on the track, completely oblivious to everyone around them going the opposite direction and the giant red arrows pointing the way. I’m baffled. Pay attention to the rules, people! You’re an accident waiting to happen. Ok. There. I said it. Now, cool down, Danielle.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. I feel much better While there could be a lesson in that (maybe on patience), what I really want to tell you about is the time that I was all set to run, but when I arrived at the YMCA, I realized I had completely forgotten my music. Shoot! My music is everything when I’m running. I’m no serious athlete who pays attention to cadence – I just need stellar songs to keep me distracted, motivated, and simply…going. Usually blaring Tobymac does the trick. And, ok I’ll admit that Katy Perry singing “Baby, you’re a firework” may have led me across the 10K line a few times. Don’t judge.

Before that, whenever I realized I didn’t have my tunes, I immediately mentally packed it in and either just walked or went home. This day was different. I had a goal that I was working to meet, and I couldn’t waste a workout. So, I entered the track full speed ahead, but a part of me expected to only make it around a few times. As I jogged around the first corner, I spotted some military men and women, who were running as a pack. It was clear that they meant business. I couldn’t help but feel for the “Boot Camp” fitness class full of moms in the gym below. No one wants a real boot camp present while you attempt to lose the baby weight.

Ok, I was feeling for myself too. I in no way, shape or form wanted to work out (especially without the crutch of my music) alongside the military. After half a lap though, I somehow caught up to the brawny group and found myself behind the last member. Now remember, here I was feeling vulnerable that I did not have my music to lean on and help me run faster and longer. Yet, I kept running, focused on the goal I was working to achieve and continued directly behind the the military pack. Surprisingly, I did not have the desire to quit. I wanted to keep going. I actually felt energized. This group inspired me. I ran and ran and continued to run until I glanced at the clock and realized it had been much longer than usual. I needed to get back home to send my boys off to school, and so my time was done.

It was on the drive home that I realized that without my music, I had run faster, stronger and longer than I had in quite a long time…and it was because I stayed in the dust of ones who were faster and stronger than me.

This got me thinking. What else am I relying on that is actually holding me back? And, I wonder how improved a runner I would be if I always trained with stronger runners; if I stayed in their dust, so to speak.  And, who else would make me rise to the occasion in any facet of life, just by following in their footsteps?

You see, we can go at our own pace and be alright. We can set goals for ourselves and meet them – and maybe even exceed them. But, what if we surround ourselves with people who’s very presence make us better…better than we could ever be on our own?

How many of us go about our day believing we aren’t equipped to do greater things than we give ourselves credit for? How many times have we walked when we could have run? What crutch have we let stand in our way of success? Who will you follow to make you better?

We do ourselves a disservice not to evaluate what is holding us back. Crutches create false confidence. They make us believe they are helping, when really they could be holding us back, if we rely on them too long. We are better off leaning on The Lord and, like the disciples, getting our feet a little dusty as we follow Him. Trust that when you ditch your crutch and follow the One who is greater, He will take you places you never believed you could go. It just takes one step out of your comfort zone to find out.

May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi

“(S)he who walks with the wise, grows wise” Proverbs 13:20

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