Sunday, November 13, 2011

Run Your Race plus a Giveaway

Last Sunday afternoon, the weather was so glorious that my husband and I walked the kids up to the park.  As we walked across the soccer field, I said to my almost-4-year-old daughter, "Race you!" McKenna loves to run, and broke into a sprint.

Me and McKenna
I did the parent thing, where I moderated my speed based on hers. Sometimes I edged in front of her just a bit, which made her squeal, "No!" and other times I lagged behind. So long as McKenna was looking ahead and paying attention to where she put her feet, she ran great. Fast and smooth

But whenever she glanced at her competition - me alongside her, or my husband on the sidewalk with our youngest - she would stumble. Or drift in the wrong direction. Or, one time, she fell flat on her face.

After her big fall, when she was whimpering a bit and clearly trying to figure out, "Am I hurt enough to  throw a fit, or should I just keep running?" I brushed her off and, after verifying that nothing was broken or bleeding, said, "McKenna, that happened because you weren't paying attention to what you were doing. Don't look backward or at me and Daddy, okay? Just pay attention to running."

Saying so triggered the words from Hebrews 12:

"...Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

How often, I thought during the remainder of our walk home, do I let my eyes wander from my race?

Particularly what came to mind was writing. Writing is the part of my race that causes me to struggle the most. Not the doing it part - I continue to love writing. What I struggle with is keeping my eyes on the One who called me to write, on taking the next steps I feel He wants me to take.

Sometimes I do well.

Other times I start glancing at those around me, gauging myself and my security by their location. Are their book ideas more creative? Are they getting nominated for awards? What are their sales numbers like? How many people read their blog? How many pieces of reader mail do they get a day?

You get the idea. I get distracted. I stumble. I drift the wrong direction. Sometimes I flat-out fall.

I need to print out the above scripture and keep it in my office as a reminder that God does not expect me to be anybody else. The only race I'm expected to run is mine, the one He marked out for me. And the best way to do that is to keep my eyes on Jesus.

These are the first two books in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, two books that were part of my race, that God put in my heart. I would like for you to have them.

To get entered to win a free copy of both Me, Just Different and Out with the In Crowd, leave a comment with how you think you're doing in your race. Are you on track, even if it means crawling? Are you spending more time checking out the competition than you are running? Or maybe you're still figuring out God's plans for you, what he wants your day-to-day life to look like. There's no wrong answer. (Contest closes Sunday, November 20th. One entry per person. US residents only.)

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out


Makay said...

What a wonderful illustration of how we should run the race God has called us to run!

I honestly believe that I am running hard, however I have many moments when, like your daughter, I turn my head and look at how others are doing and fall down with insecurity. I also struggle with pounding the pavement with my devos and prayers- I lag behind and forget to pray... or read the BIble... I let life get to fast paced... like a treadmill on a setting too high for the runner.

Thanks for this wonderful reminder to focus on Jesus- and let everything else fall into place. :)

I can't wait to see who wins, because I have a little sister, who would LOVE to read your book! :)


Talia said...

I think in my race it would be a jog with looks to the side and too many breaks.

Emii said...

This post was beautiful and a much-needed reminder. I get so distracted... and wow, my little sister just said as I wrote distracted, "I always get side-tracked..." talking about getting ready for school. It's definitely something we all need to hear!

I need to focus on God. On keeping my eyes and my heart on Him.
God is my joy, my everything. I need to remember, and not try to go looking everywhere else.

Tonya said...

Aww, poor little McKenna. 
This is a great post and kind of explains what I've been thinking about lately. The verse is perfect and I'm glad you pointed out "the race marked out for us" it struck me too.

  I'm not crazy about my race at the moment,  it's stretching me and taking A LOT of perseverance but the truth is I very well may be in a better place sticking with it, even though it's hard and scary. Seriously, my mom even said to me the other day " you need to look at what will be on the other side" 

P.S. I have all the Skylar books :) so you don't have to enter me

Betsy St. Amant said...

I'm not entering! Probably not fair for a fellow contributor to the blog. lol But I loved your post, girl. You have such a wise heart.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

What a great real life metaphor of truth!

I think I also look at the races or paths of others too much instead of focusing on what God has for me ...
I try not to, but sometimes I feel jealousy of friends and family who get to travel, even though God has shown me that I'm where I'm supposed to be right now. Sometimes it feels like I'll never get the chance to leave home ... =)

Thank you for the reminder and thank you for the chance to win!


Katie McCurdy said...

Very enlightening and encouraging post, Stephanie. It's sop easy to look at the paths of others, or grumble at the path you are currently on. It took me a while to learn this, but, I'd like to think I finally have (haha!) About a few months ago, I decided instead of looking around me at the works of others, I'd focus soley on my own WIP and the path that God is taking it on. So far, the Lord has taken my book in directions that I hadn't originally planned...but make the book so much better! :-)

I'd love to have a chance at winning your books, Stephanie. I'm ashamed to say that while I am a BIG fan of you and Go Teen Writers...I have yet to read one of your books!! :-o Yikes!


Emily Rachelle said...

I'm stuck between "checking out the competition" and "figuring out what the plan is." I seem to have problems knowing where I'm supposed to be running lately. :\

Anyway, I love your teen writer blog, Stephanie, and I've been wanting to read your books... so I figured I'd pop over and enter the giveaway! :)

Ellyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abbi Hart (gatorade635) said...

Great post-a reminder that we all need! As much as I don't like to admit it I am guilty of "checking out the competition" more often than not. I frequently thinking, "I wish I had their faith, or love, or joy etc. Thanks for the reminder to focus on God!

Madie M. said...

I really want to speed through life, but then again, I don't think I'm ready to go to college.

Don't put yourself down! When I first found this blog a few months ago, I had no idea that a famous book writing would be on it! I even "knew" who this person was! I've read one of your books a few years ago and I LOVED it! I can't wait to read another!

God Bless!

Stephanie Morrill said...

I'm definitely comforted by seeing I'm not the only one checking out her "competition." Man, that jealousy thing is a tough, tough, tough issue for me. I'm an only child, so I definitely struggle with wanting to be The Only One and The Center of the Universe.

Go Teen Writer girls - glad you came by :)

Madie, you are such a sweetheart! Your comment really lifted my spirits. Thanks, girl.

Danielle said...

I, too, have found myself in this very position--face in the dirt--because I took my focus off the real purpose of my race. Thank you for the reminder to keep my eyes forward!

I would love to be entered for my daughter and I. Please email if we are picked to


Becky Hart said...

Yeah, I definitely find it easy to get off the track I'm supposed to be on. It usually happens when my life gets really busy with stuff I "need" to do and I stop focusing on what I HAVE to do, like spending time alone with God.

Laura J said...

What a thought-provoking post.
I have to say I'm jogging but mainly looking at the people in front of me, wondering how I'll ever catch up!

Thanks for the chance to win a book, but even more so, for a post that's encouraged me to focus again on my savior.

Angie L said...

Jill Williamson sent me over :) I'm like a turtle in the race, slowly moving forward and taking time to look around as I go. How much faster I could go if I focused on Christ in everything instead of being distracted along the way! Thanks for offering your books. Looking forward to reading them! mamalusco at ortelco dot net

Stephanie Morrill said...

Laura J is the winner! Congratulations!