Before I married Matt, I would compete in about 10 races per year.
And had it not been for my leader, Dave Ramsey, offering everyone in the company $500 to a charity of our choice ($1,000 if you broke two hours) for running the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon, I’m not sure when I would have run another race.
I definitely hadn’t planned to run the half marathon that year, but knowing I could earn $1,000 for a ministry I cared deeply about made it too tempting to pass up. I talked to my husband, and then decided to sign up.
On the Friday night before the marathon, I was Instagramming the classic pre-race photo of my running outfit when I asked my husband, “How long has it been since I raced?”
He responded, “Two years.”
“Two years? I used to do about 10 races per year!”
“Yeah, the last time we raced was the week before our wedding.”
I sat there amazed and, to be honest, a little bit disappointed.
I would’ve never guessed it had been that long. I couldn’t believe I had let years go by without doing something I genuinely love to do.
How We Lose Ourselves
I didn’t plan to let that happen. I didn’t plan to stop racing when I got married. I didn’t lose that part of myself on purpose. But we never intentionally plan to lose a part of ourselves, do we?
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Over time, little by little, we stop doing the things we love. It happens gradually, and not for any particular reason. But one crazy week follows another busy month, and somehow years go by without a race. Then, we realize we’ve moved on and left something behind—something we still love.
But here’s the thing: The hobbies and activities we love are a part of us. God intentionally created each of us with unique gifts and passions. And just like any parent, God loves watching His children shine as we step into them. When we get too busy to enjoy those gifts and passions, we don’t just give them up. We also feel like something’s missing—like we’ve given up a part of ourselves.
But the good news is, there’s a way to get back to the things you love.
Rediscovering Your Gifts and Passions
How do we get back to racing, painting, sewing, building, playing the guitar, or swimming—no matter how long it’s been?
As I discovered for myself, we just do it.
We sign up for a race, sit down in front of a canvas, buy the materials, or get in the pool and just do the thing. Because it’s in the doing that we remember what it feels like to connect with this part of ourselves.
People often experience this after attending church when it’s been a while, or after finishing a good sweaty workout when they’ve been idle for months. They’ll say things like:
“Man, I forgot how good that feels.”
“Gosh, I forgot how much I love that.”
Related: What Fills You Up
Over time, we forget these things. But all it takes is doing it once to remember what’s been missing. And the best part of getting back to doing what you love is that you’re not the only one who benefits from it.
After I set a personal record in the half marathon (that’s right, I broke two hours!), I walked over to mile 19.4 of the full marathon and jumped in with Brandon, my friend from my small group.
I had run the full Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon before and knew what an incredibly challenging race it was, both physically and mentally—and this was Brandon’s first. I didn’t know how long I would last, and I hadn’t even trained for the half marathon properly, but I knew I could be there to encourage him during the toughest part of the race.
What happened next didn’t surprise me though. I ran the rest of it—seven more miles—with him, all the way through to the finish line! Even though I ran 20 miles in total that day, it wasn’t that hard because I absolutely love to run. And I was offering that part of me—the love-of-running part of me—to my friend and using it as a tool of encouragement to help him reach his goal.
When you’re doing what you love, you remember how much you love it. And when you remember how much you love it, you can’t help but offer it to others as well.
So, what passions are you going to get back to this week? Don’t let another week go by without rediscovering that lost part of you. Believe me when I say: The world is waiting to watch you shine.