Do Your Own Thing

This weekend my community hosted our annual Garden Spot 5K walk/run. What I love most about this event is that I see many people I know, but with whom I rarely cross paths. It’s a time of fellowship and fun.

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I walk most days with my dogs, but I rarely push myself, so I knew winning was unlikely. But when the starting horn blared, my competitive nature kicked in, and I was in it to win it! At least for my age category.

When I crossed the first mile-marker, my head was up, and I was pushing forward, with everything I had, knowing that no one in my age bracket was ahead of me. Then an old schoolmate, Jane, passed me. I was huffing, but and Jane was smooth and in the groove. She was barely sweating. I called out to her, but she couldn’t hear me because she was listening to music. In fact, she couldn’t see me. She was focused on the road.

As the gap between us lengthened, I slowly deflated. I finished the race in good time, but I didn’t push myself after Jane passed me. After the race, my husband patted me on the back and said, “You finished great. You still had gas in the tank.”

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As I considered what he said, I was disappointed in myself. Not because I didn’t win. But because I didn’t do my best. I’d forgotten something important — to run my own race. Comparison is crippling.

I congratulated Jane for placing third and teased her about passing me. She was a gracious winner and said, “This morning, Mickey told me, ‘You’ve got this! Do your own thing.’” Mickey, Jane’s husband, gave her good advice.

Maybe next year, if God continues to bless me with the ability and health to be in the race, I’ll remember Mickey’s words. Perhaps, when I cross the finish line, no matter where I place, I’ll feel good because I’ve done my best.

Comparison is crippling. “Do your own thing.” Push yourself to do your best, and you can have a smile as bright as Jane’s.

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#doyourownthing, #runyourownrace, #doyourbest

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

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