By Lee Anne Grace
This past Saturday I traveled the short distance to Pontotoc for the inaugural Rudolph 5K. The Women’s Club did a stellar job of hosting the event. Despite the cold and rainy day, the number of runners who showed up demonstrated the thought and planning that went into the festive occasion.
I always learn something from every race I participate in, and this race was no exception.
Like many other runners, I have developed a checklist of things to do before every race begins. This past Saturday I became so captivated by my pre-race routine I forgot the most important thing: to actually be at the starting line when the gun goes off.
I cannot begin to describe the feeling of walking around a corner on my way to the starting line, and being greeted by a wall of fast-paced runners. I had missed the start of the entire reason I had gone to Pontotoc – to run the race. I ran back to the starting line and half-heartedly chased the runners to the finish line.
My experience of losing focus of the real reason I was at the race reminded me of my daily experiences and struggles to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. I tend to get so bogged down in the details of healthy living that I can easily lose sight of the main reason I choose to make healthy decisions. Keeping a daily food log, avoiding consuming certain foods because I’ll be triggered to binge, and trying to adhere to a rigorous running and exercise schedule are all important methods I use to achieve goals, but not the goals themselves.
When I find myself floundering to stay on track, it is usually because I have lost sight of the reason I choose to be very structured in my daily habits. It’s not about how many miles I can log in a week or how close I hit my daily nutritional targets. This is all important, but the main goal is be healthy, to feel great, to be able to enjoy a wide range of activities without being limited by my size. I strive to set a quiet example for my daughters, students and others by my choices, and to be transparent about my struggles.
In these last days of eagerly anticipating Christmas’ arrival, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the details of holiday preparation, much like my experience at the Rudolph 5K and with daily healthy living.
There are so many things on our to-do lists that before we know it, we’ve lost sight of the reason for all of these preparations, and we miss the entire point of the Christmas season.
This is often the case for me. Being a clarinetist and a music teacher, my December calendar is filled with performances, as well as school plays to coordinate and direct. I am prone to lose the whole point of the driving force behind the Christmas season: the celebration of God’s precious gift to us – the birth of His Son, the Christ Child.
As I was lamenting over my busy schedule, yearning for a few precious moments of “me” time – even a chance to get in a decent run – I remembered we have an awesome reason to celebrate: Christmas is the biggest, grandest birthday party all year, and rightfully so. The best part is that all of us are invited to this celebration!
The key is to not lose sight of whose birthday party it is. If I view the decorations, gift giving, parties and musical performances as just something else to check off my planner, then the preparations become meaningless. When I keep tuned into the reason for the season, then the participation in all of the festivities becomes a privilege.
Do you have a reason for everything you do? Don’t lose sight of it.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.