Finishing Strong (Even When No One is Looking)
Updated: Sep 8
"...I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:14
There were only 18 minutes left in my workout but I was ready to go home.
I was hot, tired, and sweaty. My gym had divided us into three groups and my group had finished the weight and treadmill circuits and we were now rowing off the pounds using the water rowers. As I breathed heavily on my water rower, the second group ran ahead of me on the treadmills.
I had been a member of this gym since the previous year, and although I didn't know many names officially, we each wore a heart rate monitor that connected to large screens overhead, and every now and again, I would hear a coach call out someone's name and then be able to match the new name with the giant screens that displayed a person's name, heart rate, calories burned and the number of splat points they earned each workout. (The goal of every workout is to earn at least 12 splat points which are tracked by your heart rate monitor).
Splat points are a big deal at my gym, and so when I noticed that Jennie's heart rate monitor was no longer working and she was unable to track her splat points or see her workout stats, I began to watch her closely as I rowed and she ran on the treadmill.
I could tell she was annoyed. She tugged at her heart rate monitor. She complained to her neighbor next to her on the treadmill on how her screen was blank and she couldn't see her data. She even called over the coach to seek assistance; but all the while, Jennie kept running. And she kept running hard!
I looked at her in amazement.
Honestly, I would have quit.
What would be the use? There would be no need to run so hard if, in the end, you wouldn't be able to revel in the success of your stats and numbers.
For the remaining minutes of the workout, Jennie was unable to see her results. The screen on her treadmill and also overhead was blank, while her neighbors' screens were bright with splat points, and calories burned. I knew Jennie was frustrated but she never stopped running.
I thought about all the times I felt encouraged to keep going and to work really hard when there was a crowd of people cheering me on; and the times I felt tempted to stop or take shortcuts when no one was watching.
I think we all find ourselves faced with temptation every now and again to not work out so hard, or do our best when we think we won't get credit or the looks of approval or encouragement from those around us.
But I believe God is reminding us to always do our best and work hard in the faith, even if no one is watching or if it all seems for naught.
This was Jennie's approach. Even though this workout wouldn't result in a "statistical satisfaction" of being able to see how many calories she burned and how many splat points she earned, Jennie kept running.
Maybe you have been tempted to not run as hard as a wife, mom, or daughter. After all, what is the point? Your family used to rave about how good your food is, now they barely say "Thank you." Your kids used to hug and kiss you and want to spend time with you, now it's almost like you are chopped liver.
You could sigh and say, "What's the point?" and not make dinner, or clean up around the house, or do the laundry but I want to encourage you to finish well and finish strong the things you know God has called you to do.
Everything you are called to do -- it does matter and it is important, whether or not someone shows appreciation, says "thank you" or you receive credit.
As women of faith, we can look to the Jennie's around us for encouragement, and to Jesus most importantly, because He was committed to finishing strong. Despite knowing that He would die a horrible death on the cross and endure mocking, taunting, and beatings, Jesus was committed to fulfilling His purpose here on earth. Whether there was a crowd of fans and onlookers, or just Him alone in the garden praying to the Father, Jesus was willing to complete His assignment well and strong.
At the gym, right before our coach called "Time!" to end our workout, Jennie's stats supernaturally appeared on the overhead screen!
That's right, all of her information - her heart rate, calories burned, and coveted splat points were there. It appears that despite her information not displaying on the screen, her heart rate monitor continued to work and record her information. Jennie finished the day with a great workout, great stats and a tremendous victory in knowing she wouldn't allow a setback to stop her from working hard.
Jennie doesn't know me. I doubt she even knows that I watched the entire scene, and how God spoke to me through her determination. (I know, I know, I should tell her and I probably will). However, Jennie is a great example to remind me that there is always someone watching. There are always people watching to see what you will do, and how you will do it.
Your kids are watching.
Your husband is watching you.
Your church members are watching.
Strangers are watching you.
They may not ever say anything, but people are always watching, so will you be encouraged to always do your best. Work with a spirit of excellence, and be determined to fulfill your purpose to the best of your ability.
This article was published in Jewel Warrior, a Christian women's online devotional. Please subscribe to receive encouraging devotionals each day from women from around the world. Jennie is not her actual name
Hi, my name is Kacie Starr Long. I am an author, speaker and I love to use my voice to point people to Jesus. When I'm not writing, I'm either working out at Orange Theory Fitness or sewing. God delivered me from food addiction and I have a sewing ministry for women who have been previously incarcerated and at-risk teens. I am the proud wife to Alfred T. Long, Sr and together we lead a non-profit that serves prisoners and their families. Connect with me at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via my YouTube page for more daily Christian teachings and encouragement.