Life is a race. Isn't that what we are told in Hebrews 12:1, "run the race set before us with patience?" Do ever feel like you are racing around in every area of your life, never reaching the finish line? I believe the key is in the verse - "with patience". For example...
Like most of this country, I started the year vowing to eat healthier and get to the gym. I can say that despite a few short hiatus' due to sick kiddos, traveling, or the general craziness of life - I have cleaned up my eating habits, hit the gym,and lost a little weight. It's been a process though. Matt and I have had to go through our cupboards and clean out all the junk - all the stuff that is not healthy for our bodies & replace it with good stuff. I have had to make the effort to go to the gym, even when I didn't feel like it. I have had great days where I eat super healthy and days where all I ate was chocolate. And when I fail I have to get back up and try again. Some days it feels like I am running in place to be honest. But that's where the patience must come in. It took seven years to put on the baby weight and it might take that many to get it off. Gosh, I hope not really. But I can't be discourged.
Or maybe it's this race I joined called parenting. There are many times I feel like it is longer than a marathon. For all of my good intentions, when the day starts with screaming at o' dark hundred and flows into petty fighting and the laundry pile is beginning to chase me I tend to loose my cool and fall flat on my pretty parenting face. I have to get back up, add a few Batman band aides to my emotional attire and keep trying. Every once in a while I am given a glimpse of a patience payoff. Lately, my oldest son who is seven has shown a real growth in maturity. While still prone to getting into trouble, when reprimanded he takes it calmly, adjusts his attitude and apologizes. This gives me hope and if I may brag a little, makes me a proud momma. And so I keeping running.
And what about the foundation of it all - our walk with God? That is a constant struggle to keep running. Not that I stop loving Jesus, but that I continue to strive for holiness and daily sanctification. I had recently done a Bible study called, "Me, Myself & Lies" The basic premise of the book is that our minds are thought closets and there is a constant flow of thoughts. We need to take note of these thoughts, evaluate them & measure them against God's truth. Are we telling ourselves lies or speaking God's truth into lives? It's been a good process of assessment and cleaning out of my thought processes. But I cannot just clean out the closet, I have to replace it with the "good stuff". That "good stuff" has to be God's word. But how do I do that when some days it feel like I can't even remember my own name. It takes patience. I have to keep running for that day when my sanctification is complete and I am standing in the presence of my Lord & Master.
I found the parallel between the physical changes I have been making & the spiritual changes an interesting one. Dump the garbage and replace it with the good. And I love the picture painted in my mind of running toward a finish line no matter what area of my life. I am comforted by the idea that no matter how many times I may fall down, I can patiently get up and keep trying. So no matter what stage of your race you are running, keeping going and do so with patience.