Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our Perfect Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)
My 4-year old son was running with me one chilly Saturday morning in our running club. As the group starts the race, my son and I started out sprinting and getting ahead of the pack as quick as we could. I followed his lead as he takes off. We get ahead quickly, breathing in the crisp winter air with little focus on anything around us but the road ahead. We were winning.

Slowly, we start losing steam as the cold brittle air starts to fill our lungs making it harder to breathe. We start falling farther and farther to the back of the pack. As we slow down, he starts to notice the rocks and twigs along the road and bends over to pick a few of the biggest and coolest rocks up. Come on I say, let’s go we don’t have much further to go. I can see his happiness grow as his contagious smile spreads across his face.  His focus becomes centered around his surroundings and less on the road ahead. And as everyone starts passing us, he says "slow and steady wins the race".

And he is right. It's not about how fast or how far you go in your race, how quickly you move up the corporate ladder, what you wear, or how many people like you. It's not about getting ahead of everyone else with the only focus on the road ahead of you. If you do make that your focus, you may find yourself alone. You will be ahead, but as you were traveling, as you were running your own race, you may have failed to see the gifts that surrounded you. The smiles from strangers, the doves that sing for you in the morning, the I love you’s as you rush out the door. Your race is knowing that God is with you and being patient, taking one day at a time, letting Him guide you. Knowing that He is with you and holding your hand.

God has given each one of us a story, a race that He created before we were even born. A race that may have many turns, uphill battles and downhill slides. When we lose sight of God and try to run our race on our own, the hills become more steep and the air becomes heavier. Worry, fear, and stress begin to settle in as we lose control of the race we set for ourselves making it difficult to see the light through all the clouds.

As I ran my race, I ran with limited vision. I charged forward putting one foot in front of the other as I was in control. When something didn’t happen according to my plan, I would freak out. Panic would set in…what am going to do. I couldn’t see beyond my own circumstance, my hill was quickly forming into a mountain. When my anxiety and insomnia set in, that was exactly what I did…panicked. I fought against it because this wasn’t something I planned for. I never planned to be crippled by anxiety that stopped me deep in my tracks.  And the more I fought, the worse it got. My hills became my mountains.

Over the months, I learned that this was in the plan for me all along. God knew this was part of my path. And it was up to me to find him and ask for his mercy. Ask that He carry me and my cross as I couldn’t carry this on my own. I couldn’t do this alone. No medicine or doctor could give me the comfort or strength that God could.

When the hills become too steep, consider everything a joy, knowing that your faith forms patience, which brings work to the perfection that God has planned in each one of us. (James 1:2-4) Our faith and trust in the Lord enables us to endure those hills without the bitterness, to carry on when life stops us in our tracks, and give us the strength to move along our path.

When we Let God lead us down His most perfect path and trust in Him to guide us, we run our race with Him holding our hand. We begin to let go of the pressures that the world we live in surrounds us with. The pressures that constantly weigh us down to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect friend...all while being successful. We let God carry our cross for us when it gets too heavy, when the pain is too much for us to handle on our own. We lay these pressures aside and are patient knowing that God has the most perfect race for each one of us and that we are enough.

I asked my son where he heard that phrase and he says it came from a hot wheels cartoon. It didn't really matter where it came from, but the message was clear in his big brown eyes. He was content with slowing down and picking up the rocks when it got too hard to breathe.  Because it didn't matter who won the race. It mattered that he was a part of the race with those that love him holding his hand.

This is the beginning of my blog to capture the transformation in my spiritual journey as God leads my race. 

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