I try not to check my distance too often while I jog, because running is often as much in my head as it is in my feet. I tell my legs what to do…they don’t tell me.
On this particular day, however, I was listening to a podcast, not paying attention at all to how far I’d gone. Turns out I hadn’t even made it out of the neighborhood on my trek to 7 miles.
As I glanced down to see my distance, I realized where I was.
I was at the most depressing part of a jog. The part where I realized I’d just left the house, but I still had a long, long way to go. I was at the point where you look down to see how far you’ve gone, only to realize that on your ensuing 7 mile jog, you’ve only traveled .5 mile.
The rest of the jog, which took nearly an hour, felt like it took 4 days. Every hill was tougher. Every burst of sun more blinding. Every corner with shade was too chilly. Every puddle deeper.
It was depressing. I felt unproductive. I felt like the journey ahead was too far to go. I felt like I’d never make it.
Which is why it’s never good to measure success on the first half-mile.
Don’t measure the success of your recovery from addiction on the 2nd week, when you feel like you might break.
Don’t measure the success of your small group on the 3rd meeting, when the group still hasn’t gelled.
Don’t measure the success of your new idea on the first person you pitch it to, who tells you it’s dumb.
Don’t measure the success of your spiritual goals at week 4, when you’re still struggling with wanting to want God.
Don’t measure the success of your marriage in month 3 during a fight, when you’re tempted to walk away from it all.
Don’t measure the success of the church you’re visiting on the first visit, when you were frustrated.
Don’t measure the success of your career on your first job, which you struggled to find any satisfaction in.
Success isn’t measured .5 mile from the starting line.
Success is measured at the end of the race.
Whatever race you’re running right now, keep fighting. Keep running. Keep clawing. And don’t give up.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. – Paul, 2 Timothy 4:7