Life these days is pretty busy. It isn't strange for the washing machine to be running before the sun is up or for me to find myself folding tiny jeans or putting dishes away hours after when I would have liked to have been in bed. The role of mother-wife-teacher feels like it requires more than I have to give some days.
Sometimes it is in these moments of monotonous tasks, be it any time of day, that the Deceiver aims to plant seeds of discontent, discouragement or self-doubt in my mind. Recently, as I put away sippy cups from the dishwasher I felt his attack coming on.
I thought about the marathon that had gone on in Richmond not too long ago and how I would love to run in a race like that one day. I hadn't seemed to be able to make it to the gym more than once a week lately. There is no way, my Attacker told me, that I would have the time to train for something of that caliber. Satan reminded me that my jeans were fitting more snugly than they used to and my frustration escalated as he continued his appeal. In my self-pity, I had been convinced that I was sacrificing far too much for my children, for my family. Why didn't I deserve the chance to accomplish something special, something worthy of praise?
And then my Comforter, my Lord, gently but firmly spoke, "Gretchen, you are in a race."
It was so clear that my immediate reaction was to be a little startled. I was touched that He had spoken my name. It was so personal, so loving, that He would steer me back to where I need to go--with my mind focused on Him and not on me.
Because I am in a race, so to speak. We all are.
In a race around a track each competitor runs in their own lane. Sometimes I want to look at who is running alongside me and compare my path to theirs. Perhaps they got a head start, or maybe the hurdles don't seem to be distributed evenly. No matter what our path looks like, He promises to be with us the entire way. He doesn't want us to get distracted with those running alongside us, or halted or slowed down by what we find in our lane, but to keep looking ahead, and to keep running.
I want to keep my eyes focused on the finish line. On Jesus. He is my everything and He willingly sacrificed everything for me. Pitiful, undeserving me. He didn't ask for "me" time. He didn't complain when the disciples or the crowds were unrelenting and didn't give him a break. He gave everything He had even before He was nailed to a cross.
I want to run in this race of life to bring glory to Him. I am not patient. I am not kind. I am not sacrificial. But He is. And He can help me to be those things. Time and time again I am reminded of how I need Him. I seem to trip up on my own feet and fall hard. Sometimes it feels as if someone else has thrown an obstacle in my path and sometimes the crowd seems to be hurling insults rather than cheering me on. But, He knows and and He cares. He wants me to be obedient and to stay in the race. He knows what's in my lane, and with Him I am able to continue on. With faith, my spiritual legs will get stronger and it will become easier to be the person He wants me to be.
I don't know if I will ever run a marathon, or even a half marathon for that matter. But I do hope that I finish strong in the race that really counts.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me....Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillippians 3:12-14
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3