I get that it may come across as being vain and egotistical to publish yourself as being among the few completers of a marathon – 0.5% of the U.S. population to be exact. Maybe some people don’t like it and want to “teach a lesson” to those horrible people who put stickers on their car. Or maybe some people think they could never run a marathon so no one else should run one either. I’m pretty sure that’s called “envy”.
In my opinion, the 26.2 sticker is no less vain than a high schooler wearing a letterman jacket with all their varsity letters and awards sewn onto the coat. Well, maybe some people don’t like those either.
I think it’s good to celebrate your accomplishments. Obviously, bragging is another thing. But, if you have a healthy pride in who you are (sometimes its called self-esteem), you are more likely to achieve other goals in the future. Setting goals and striving to accomplish them is a huge part of maintaining good mental health.
For me, completing a marathon was so much more than running 26.2 miles. Sometimes, I feel like I have not accomplished very much in my lifetime. It is really easy for me to believe the lies of depression and get down on myself because of this.
Each time I saw the 26.2 on the back of my car, I was reminded of that time in my life when I defeated my inner demons, persevered, and overcame incredible mental obstacles. For me, that sticker represented a bigger reality – the beginning of my defeat over depression.
I was not trying to brag or to make other people feel inferior by placing that sticker on my car. I was only remembering that “I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.” Maybe next time I’ll make my own sticker that says “26.2 – Phil. 4:13” because that is what I really meant to say.
I'm over the sticker - really, I promise. But I'm taking something out of this experience. I should never judge another person. I have no idea what is going on in their life or in their mind. Perspective changes how we see other people and what they do.
Going forward, let us remember to encourage each other’s strengths and to affirm each other’s talents and gifts – there’s not enough of that in the world. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, let us recognize our own gifts. And instead of cutting people down with gossip in order to make ourselves feel better, let us remember how each one of us is unique and has a specific purpose in this world.