Life is a journey is a healthy perspective to develop. Each of us experiences the journey in our own unique way. Just as every runner in a race notices different scenery, connects with various people, and finishes with various times…. The journey is important.
Your journey matters because of what you notice, whom you impact, and the legacy you leave.
I have a client who enjoys running marathons with several couples in her and her husband’s friend group. I love that about them… and maybe someday I might even join in. Anyway…. A few years ago they headed to Texas to run on of their annual half marathons. My client, Jennifer, really wanted to run this specific race differently than she had in the past; where her only goal had been to finish as quickly as possible. This time, she wanted to look around more and enjoy the people she was with more as the time before all she had on her mind was the finish line.
As she was so busy being focused on the finish, she missed all the magic along the way that her running buddy noticed and share with her later…
“Did you see that family that came out with all the banners and decorations for us?”
“Wasn’t the small band on the side of the road great?”
“That one group on the bleachers with the blankets was so funny, right?”
She realized that in having her focus-on-the-finish attitude, she skipped looking around and just ran to the end, and then she thoroughly enjoyed her surroundings. She realized that a simple shift of looking up and around, even just periodically, would have completely changed the experience for her. She thought that if she looked up and around, enjoying the run, she would have slowed down too much and performed badly. In truth, slowing down would have made her experience so much richer.
So this year she decided she was going to look around more. She was determined to search out cool people and things to tell her friend about. When the gun went off, she ran with her head up, taking in the sights. Much to her delight and surprise at the end of the race, she not only collected some great sights and stories, but she also improved her time by 7 minutes!
Life is a journey. We can put our heads down and plow through all of the responsibilities, challenges, and activities and miss the good stuff, or we can take a look around and enjoy the journey…really taking it all in. Having fun along the path of life does not mean you lose all intensity. It simply means that you know when to lighten up and when to put the blinders on.
Jennifer had no intention of winning the race. Only a small handful cared about her race time. SO why did she previously miss all those sights and sounds? Because she didn’t choose to look around before she set out. She chose to finish as fast as she could just so she could be done with the race. She was solely focused on finishing. She decided to expand her focus for the race for it to become a richer, more fun experience. She needed to intentionally include looking around in her list of what she wanted out of the race to make sure that it had that impact on her journey.
View life as a journey. This is a great perspective to keep. If at the end of your life you want to be remembered for the difference you made in people’s lives, you’ll need to slow down now and intentionally look to see where you can serve and have an impact. It takes time to connect with people on an intellectual and/ or heart level. We tend to get caught up in the checking off the to dos because there’s such a sense of completion to that. Yet, the ultimate loss comes from not enjoying the journey made rich because of the relationships we share, nurture, and grow.
Relationships grow deeper in the slower moments of life.
How are you doing with your life journey? Are you noticing what’s happening around you and really savoring where you are in your current season, or are you moving forward with blinders on just to finish and move on to the next race? I’d love to hear your heart in a comment below…