As I wrote about Ben's first track meet, I found that I needed to sit for a while in my own teachable moment about not looking around when your running a race. Rather than stick my thoughts in the middle of that entry, I thought I would add another one. So here it is...
How often do I get distracted when running my races in life – as a person of faith, as a wife, as a mother, as an employee, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend? It’s not surprising that I get distracted at times given all the roles I have. I enjoy all the roles and would not want to give them up (except, at times, the employee bit). But, far too often I forget to keep the main things, the main things. Far too often, I get distracted by the “stuff” of life. I get distracted by what others might think of me. I get distracted by things that don’t even exist yet, a.k.a. the unknowns (what will happen when….? What if I don’t have enough ….? How will we ever …?) I get distracted by things that don’t necessarily add to the joy of the moment or to the purpose to which I am called. I get distracted by things that may not even be all that good for me (she writes as she grabs just one more Whopper Robin Egg from her left over Easter candy). And, yes, I can even get distracted by things that may seem entirely good.
Ultimately, I know that all of my life’s individual races or events fit into the culminating race of my faith journey – being called by and following in the footsteps of Jesus, living each day and moment to God’s glory and for the benefit of others. I know this and yet, daily, I get tripped up, looking to the side to see who or what is going on around me. Daily, I get distracted from this critical marathon of life.
In fact, even writing this blog can be a distraction if it doesn’t somehow fit into my calling (in the moment or in the long run). If I get so preoccupied in getting the words out that I miss the life going on around me, I am not keeping my eyes on the prize, but allowing "stuff" to get in the way. Even if what I am doing is a good thing - exercise, ministry or building relationship with others - it can become loose gravel causing me to stumble if it stands directly in the way of my first callings to love and develop my family for God's glory. If my motivation is wrong while I run - if I am consumed with "what will they think of me now?" - my sprint to the finish will be in vain as insecurity or pride weighs me down. If I find myself comparing me to others or being critical of someone for no good reason, I know that my eyes must not be strained on the right thing. When I caught myself wanting to get in on the gossip at work the other day, I knew I was tripping up in an ugly kind of way. Needless to say, it was not the kind of finish I would want to have at work or in life.
God surely intended for us to enjoy this life - as evidenced by all the cool stuff He created. He also intended for us to take care of ourselves and be healthy and well. So, I don't want to be a stuffy, serious, and boring race runner who is so focused on winning that I forget to enjoy the scenery and those on the track with me. That is far from what God intends for me and far from what I intend for myself. And, yet, I need daily to dig into the race and focus on the things that will get me to the finish line in good standing – spiritual disciplines of reading scripture, meditating, and praying, as well as, relational "disciplines" of encouraging, loving, engaging, and serving. Enjoying the race? Absolutely. Detrimentally distracted during the race? I sure hope not. Trusting that despite my flaws I can finish well? You bet!
Oh, and by the way, for all of those who have cheered for me along the way ("Run, Kathy, run!" "You can do it, Kathy!" "Keep looking ahead!"), I am forever grateful.
1 Corinthians. 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Hebrews 12:1-2 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. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.