Run Forest, Run!
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us”.
I wrote yesterday about how our life is like a box of crayons. We are PERFECTLY created, used for the PURPOSE of the artist, SHARPENED to be used to the best of our ability and finally USED UP to the completion of a masterpiece. We have a purpose, a "finish", we are headed towards - like runners in a race. In a race - the first one across the finish line is the winner, but everyone who cross the line is a finisher. Our race is like a marathon where the goal is not to be first - it is simply to finish.
On our worst days we might ask: “why do I even bother trying if I am just going to fail anyway?” That isn’t a fair question though. You are going to make it to the end of the school year, the end of this season, the end of your story. The end always comes - it is how you ran the race that makes the difference. I mentioned yesterday that getting to the end is the joy - even if it means limping over the finish line. Maybe there is more joy in limping over the finish line? Knowing you gave every bit of effort you had might be the best feeling at the finish - a finish that is free of regret.
Let’s reflect and ponder our own races in this season of life. We may be bruised, broken, torn apart, weary and barely even hanging on to cross our finish lines. Know that we can, and will, finish. The old saying of, “it might not be pretty, but I did it” may be our anthem. The truth is that we persevered and accomplished the task of staying true to the Father; letting Him guide us the entire way.
I mentioned yesterday that I am a homeschool mom of 5 kids. I also work a part time job and serve in various areas of ministry here at The River. The end of July and August comes all too quickly for me each year. I never feel ready to start a new school year. I get so focused on doubt that I can’t do it another year, anxiety that I’m never enough for my kids and fear that I am leaving them with huge gaps somewhere. I often find myself so consumed by these thoughts that I lose the joy in the moment of each day. I am so guilty of letting Satan rob me of this daily!! How can I finish a race that is laid before me when I get so tripped up in these thoughts and doubts? Does he want me to plan, prepare and get some semblance of order for the year? Absolutely! Fear, worry, doubt and anxiety are not companions that he designed to accompany me on this race. What if we replace these joy-killers with expectation, hope, excitement and positive attitudes as we set out on this uncharted trail of a new year?
There are days that I fall into bed and feel like I’ve killed it!! I was supermom today! I caught up on laundry, fed my kids healthy meals, straightened the house, finished school and even sprinkled some Gospel conversations along the way. Ok, let’s be honest.... I never feel this way!! Most days I feel like I never meet expectations, especially my own, and usually collapse into bed exhausted and playing over in my mind all my mistakes, mishaps and miscommunications. The enemy then speaks loudly replaying these felt failures until I can no longer even remember the things I got right. Those things that seem unmonumental but may be as simple as a few minutes of reading to the youngest, a heart to heart conversation while doing dishes with my 13 year old daughter about growing up or hugging one of those tall teenage boys’ neck a little longer and looking into his eyes. Why do we let Satan steal this? Why do we let him tell us that we aren’t running our race anymore?
We each have a race that is set before us, but don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy of your present with worry, doubt, anxiety or fear of being less than perfect and not being able to accomplish what God has set for you. Don’t let these “weights” hold you down.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
To look back on our crayons from yesterday, it doesn’t matter if a crayon is used the first day out of the box or down to the final nub of its wax self, it will color the same and has the ability to create a masterpiece in an artist’s hand. Allow yourself to be used up for the glory and kingdom of God; however he wants to use you. Focus on finishing your race well (not perfect), just well!!! He doesn’t call us to perfection just to the purpose he has uniquely designed you to accomplish. Be the color He created you to be and color the world around you into a more beautiful place for His glory until all your color is gone. Endure to the end and leave a masterpiece with your life!!
Meredith is wife to Bryan, mama to Carson, Elijah, Luke, Kaylyn and Joel. She has served alongside her husband Bryan (who is the College and Missions Pastor) here at the River for 16 years. She also works at the Cookeville Pregnancy Center as a nurse and loves ministering to women and their unborn babies. She enjoys pouring into young women, camping and being outdoors with her family, cooking, reading a good book (whenever she has time) and bird watching from her kitchen window.