When the Race You’re Running Isn’t the One You Signed Up For

A picture permanently imprinted in my mind and heart is one of my daughter and me running hand in hand through a hill-top meadow. It’s an image of pure joy.

But with Rachel’s inability to actually run, that will likely never happen. So we’ve adapted our hand-in-hand running.

Instead of a meadow, we run on campground roads near our home. Instead of side by side and hand in hand, Rachel sits on her specially adapted tricycle, her hands on the steering wheel while I walk/jog behind her with my hands on the back bar.

A Different Reality

This is not the picture of my dreams, but it’s the reality of God’s plan for us.

It’s a reality that looks different than I had hoped or wanted. But I’m realizing different doesn’t mean bad.

Rachel on her tricycle

In our adapted meadow run, there’s still togetherness. There’s still joy.

And there’s more, so much more good. There’s growth and empathy and understanding and weakness. (Yes, weakness is good!)

My dream was based solely on the here and now, the temporal: what I could see and feel and experience. God’s reality is based on His infinite knowledge and understanding of forever. 

My dream depicted joy in the moment. God’s reality holds joy for eternity.

My dream depicted joy in the moment. God's reality holds joy for eternity. Click To Tweet

Although, I now know God has given me something much better than the dream I had, I continue to hold onto that image.

Early on it was my lifeline of hope. Later, after I began to understand where true Hope is found, it became a precious reminder of what awaits us as Christians: redemption, joy, and freedom. 


All will be made new! No more tears. No more pain. Never to suffer again. How glorious!

What more could we ask for?


The glory of Heaven far outweighs the afflictions we endure. O joy!


We will have no more struggles, no more shackles. We will not be enslaved to or tempted by sin. Guilt will have no place because sin will be no more!

Can you even imagine such freedom?

No more temptations! No more guilty conscience!

Great Hope, Great Promise, Great Joy

Rachel and I may run together in a different way than I had hoped. But this is the race we’ve been assigned, the one God has specially chosen for us. This is our race, and although there are painful moments, there is also great hope, great promise, and great joy. 


So my friend, does your reality look different than your dream? Is the race you’re running different from the one you signed up for?

This alternative race you’ve been assigned, give it a chance. God really does know what He’s doing. 

It may be the last one you would have participated in, given the chance. But your Lord, He knows your innermost needs. And He’s designed the life that will perfectly meet those needs. 

God's designed the life for you that will perfectly meet your deepest needs. Click To Tweet

It’s simply our job to trust Him and run through to the end, which is really only the beginning of the next and greatest event. 

There all will be made well, joy will be easy and unending, and freedom will be all-encompassing.

In Heaven, all our dreams, those soul dreams we don’t even know we have yet, they will be our glorious reality. 

In Heaven, all our dreams, those soul dreams we don't even know we have yet, they will be our glorious reality. Click To Tweet

Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2

Reflections: How does the race you’re running differ from the one in your dreams? Can you see yet how it might be better than the race you had in mind?

I’m thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday and this week’s prompt, “run, run, run” as well as Bonnie Gray from Faith Barista. I love these special linkups. They provide an abundance of great inspiration and encouragement all in one place. Click on the image below to check them out.


By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

10 comments on “When the Race You’re Running Isn’t the One You Signed Up For
  1. Crystal Sunshine Hornback says:

    Julie, this is absolutely beautiful and brings me to tears! In a much different way, I’m there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this: “In Heaven, all our dreams, those soul dreams we don’t even know we have yet, those will be our glorious reality.” Thank you for these beautiful words and encouragement today! Prayers are you continue to embrace the beautiful life He has given you!

  2. Suzie Eller says:

    The joy I see on your daughter’s face is what I imagine running toward Him to look like. <3

  3. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    As I read this, I thought of the memories you are making with your daughter. In retrospect, I made memories with my son. Hubby has special memories of the time when our son was small. God allows us to have these special memories to carry us through the rough times. Bless you, Julie as you continue to make these memories with her.

  4. Kim S says:

    Julie, oh my goodness, your daughter Rachel is adorable. Thanks for encouraging my momma heart today. I know this “special needs” race wasn’t what I had planned either but I’m so glad we can embrace that this IS the race He has called us to run and find joy in it every day. You bless me sweet friend! Kim Stewart

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Thank you, Kim! It is certainly a difficult race to run, with many unknown obstacles and turns. But the sweetness is there. The joy is evident. The grace is present. There is glory in it!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Such beautiful words and perspective, Julie – ones that must have come after quite a journey with the Lord. And ones that must speak such light and love into your daughters life – the joy you find in today and the hope there is in His eternal plans. Thank you for sharing from your heart and encouraging us that God’s plans are so much greater than we could imagine. #belovedbrews

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