Having a "poor me" moment, I started thinking, "Well, how am I supposed to run? I guess I'll have to focus on the ground around me to keep this from happening again ..." That would slow me down considerably, and cause me to hate running as I would spend each run scanning the road at my feet for obstacles or jeopardy instead of enjoying the scenery and running toward my goal.
Well, what do successful runners do? Successful runners run smart by not running on obviously treacherous landscape, but run with gusto enjoying the scenery, scanning the road for obvious pitfalls and dangers but keeping an eye on the goal, knowing that injury is an acceptable risk: it just might happen and you deal with it when it does. You can't run a successful race worrying about and focusing on obstacles and injuries; you run a successful race by knowing your goal and running toward it.
What if this race I run in life were the same way? What if I spent most of my time enjoying the scenery and focusing on my goal of heaven instead of trying to tiptoe my way around obstacles and worrying about what I will do if I get hurt? I tend to hyper-focus on people that may (or have) hurt me, situations and arguments that hold me back or frustrate me, and obstacles and stumbling blocks that only serve to keep my eyes off my goal.
In the same way that the road I run on is my reality, and perils along the way will likely be a problem at some point, this world that I live in is my reality, no matter how perfect my goal destination is. Focusing on my goal of heaven won't keep this world from affecting me, twisting my ankle and scraping my knees on occasion. But I can't let the fear of that injury keep me from running this race with all I've got, loving and living big and loud, spilling God's love and sharing my goal of heaven along the path. I must run smart, and avoid obvious pitfalls, but I have to accept getting hurt as acceptable risk: it will happen at some point and God will continue to be faithful, providing His people and His comfort in my time of recuperation.
So I'm ready. Ready to get back to road running as well as running through life with my eyes on my goal, not on the pettiness and mess around me. If you see me sprawled along the way, I may need help to my feet, I may need a ride home, and I may need some encouragement and comfort while I recuperate. But I'll invite you to run alongside me, running this race with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, striding together toward the goal.
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 perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
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