How to Run Your Race of Faith:
Be careful what you pray for. You might just get it. Like the one I prayed last week saying, “Lord, if you’re telling me to be more obedient to your call, you’re gonna have to change me. And you’re definitely gonna have to wake me up earlier. I mean, before the chickens and way before my two little chicks. Oh, and help me not to press snooze. On the button or in life. Amen.”
So Sunday morning, and I do meaning morning–at 4:30 a.m. I heard a tapping on my window. Not really, but I heard it in my head. So I sat up. That was the hard part. Then I did the hardest part. I got up.
I heard my mamma’s words. Rewound from 1980 something on race day. Oh, you remember those races. You ran ’em too. The 50 yard dash. Or whatever dash it was that year.
Clear as the whistling wind I heard, “Christie, remember when you’re running, you have to keep your eyes focused on the finish line. Keep them straight ahead. And whatever you do, don’t look back. It’ll only slow you down.” I don’t recall how I placed in that race, but I can’t forget where I placed those words.
Fast forward to 1990 something. Crunchy, curling iron hair, Nike’s, and the splendor of purple spandex. I stuffed those words into my cross country gym bag, and I pulled them out when I needed them. When I heard the thumping of the ground and runners hot on my tail. I so wanted to look back, but I forced my eyes forward.
And when the teenage hecklers jeered from the sidelines just to knock you off course, I rewound those words in my head. Over and over. Like a cassette tape. Rewind. Stop. Play. I didn’t win a ribbon, but I didn’t lose my focus. And the victory was the finish line.
It’s the same today. As we run our race of faith, we’re challenged to look back, to slow down, and to stop. There’s an adversary who is hot on our tail to take us from our calling. To make us doubt God’s promises in our lives. He breathes down our back and yanks at our necks. Then heckles from the sidelines, hurling past failures and present fears. Daring us to quit.
After years of living, running, and some years hobbling, we don’t even need the sideline jeers to slow us down. We’ve collected them in our head. Our self-critiques. “They can. You can’t. She’s got it. You don’t. They’re good. You’re not.” Our very own jeering sections.
But this is when we dig in deep, throttle forward, kicking up grass and dirt, and leave the enemy choking on our faith-filled dust. Head lifted high. Full speed ahead. Sprinting to the finish line and the promise.
So don’t slow down. Speed it up, ’cause it’s time to bring it on home! Now stash God’s words in your faith-racing shoes and you press on girlfriend, press on!
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Phil. 3:12
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. 1 Cor. 9:24
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.1 Cor. 9:25