Last month I went to our son Aaron’s High School track meets. He runs the mile and the 800 meter. On this day he won the mile and set a new personal best which was pretty cool. When the 800 came, he said he was tired and was not going to push hard and just use it as training. The runners took off and when they came around the 400 mark (first of two laps) he was hanging back in 5th place about 30-40 yards behind the leader. He said later, “They weren’t going very fast so in the middle of the turn I thought I might be able to catch the leaders.” He picked up his pace. Using the back 100 meters he caught up to 2nd place and went by him. With 150 to go he was behind the leader. Coming down the last 100 meters he and the leader were shoulder to shoulder. Each was straining for the finish line with all they had. Aaron won by half a stride. He gutted out the win.
Gutting It Out
Aaron decided at one point in his race that with a determined effort he could reach deeper, gut it out, and, make the most of his race. It was cool to watch my son make that effort.
Showing Up for the Race
There’s another runner on the team. His name is Billy. He’s a seventh grader. In this school district, the middle-schoolers compete within the High School athletic program. Billy is always smiling. He’s a lot smaller than everyone else so his stride just can’t match the older kids. He doesn’t really have a chance to finish first, but he is there every meet for his race. After finishing well behind the leaders I watched him run over to his mom excited, with a big smile. He had set a new personal best too. He was glad to be there. It was meaningful and moving to watch those kids gut it out.
Running Your Race
As I reflected on why it was moving, it took me to a new place with God. This has been a year of growing in my faith journey. Not much of it easy, but all of it good--a lot of gutting it out to even glimpse the first turn, let alone the finish line. I sense I am coming to the final efforts of this journey before a new one begins. God is asking: “Are you going to decide to go for it? Are you going to decide to trust me and let me take you into a deeper, more alive and fulfilling relationship and faith journey than you have ever known?” I get the idea that it will require a determined effort and might be more than I think I have to give. I get the idea that things are not going to be the same. The thing is, I want assurances and security…comfort and predictability. God wants trust and surrender…risk and change.
Going for the Prize
Perhaps you are at a point like that in your life right now. I can’t say I know exactly where the race is headed but I am committed to give my best and go for the prize. I want to go for everything God has for me and what that means as his servant. I hope you do too.
I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.