I also hear, "But this challenge was not what I bargained for," as it applies to life in general, or in your job, or in a relationship." A good question to ask ourselves is this: "Am I in this career or in this relationship for the long haul?"
So true. But take the situation of a 42-year old secretary who decided to take up running. She got up early every morning and ran, and when she felt confident enough, she entered a 10-Kilometer race, which is about 6.2 miles.
In 1990, Georgene Johnson showed up run her race. She planned to arrive about fifteen minutes early, and when she approached the starting line of the race, was surprised to see so many people lined up and ready to go. So she joined everybody else and jumped in along side them when the officials fired the starting pistol.
About four miles into the race, the stream of runners took an unexpected turn. Confused, Georgene turned to another runner and asked what was going on. He looked at her strangely, then explained the route was the full-length of a marathon. By showing up early for her race, she had inadvertently lined up for the 26.2 mile instead of her race which used the same starting line but would start fifteen minutes after the start of the full marathon.
Upon discovering her mistake, she tried in vain to find a ride back. No one was of any help. She spied another runner with a Nike swoosh and the words, "Just do it," on the back of his tee-shirt. Inspired by the simplicity of the slogan, she decided she would step up and finish the race. She came in 83rd among the woman runners. Not too bad for someone who never ran a marathon!
When people are discouraged, I commiserate with them how they may not have chosen this race. I empathize with their feelings how they'd be better off if they quit, but in many of life's challenges, quitting is just not an option. They're stuck, in a race much longer than they trained for, significantly more difficult than they felt empowered to enter.
It's neither the level of the adversity nor the frustration of the challenges that define us; rather it is the way we respond to them. Sometimes we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, run with endurance, fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7 and Hebrews 12:1-2)