Run Your Own Race!

“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 Corinthians 9:24

The beautiful “runner girl” I posted is my sister, Sheryl. You can check her running (and life) tips out on Instagram. She’s amazing! 

I was watching our littles run race after race in the annual track meet last year. As I cheered for the winners and kept an eye on my second graders, I noticed a pattern. In almost every race the frontrunner –clearly the expected winner-turned to look back at the other runners. And. Then. He. Lost.

Y’all!! I watched it play out again and again. The runners would look back, get a little tired, ease up, and lose! The kiddo running behind him kept his eyes on the finish line and stayed the course, fighting fatigue, fighting the urge to look behind or to the crowd. And he was rewarded with a win. 

And it occurred to me that we do the same thing in our lives. 

So many truths here. Today, I want to focus on only two. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments. 

  1. I look at the other runners. I am a ridiculously task-oriented person and I have a dozen or more goals on any given day. In short, I drive my husband crazy. (Grin.) You can read about my Martha tendencies here. My ultimate goal, however,  is to one day hear my Father in Heaven say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I get into trouble when I become overly focused on others instead of on Christ. Whether I’m looking to others for affirmation, dwelling on offenses and slights, or comparing myself to others (favorably or unfavorably!)-I find myself unhappy, ineffective, and restless. Only time with Jesus gets me back on track. “Run your own race!” has become a favorite mantra of mine. I must be focused on what God has called me to do and be. 
  2. I get tired. I ease up. Oh my. I watch this play out in my home every spring. If you’re a teacher or know one, you know we work long hours and give 110%. We wear ourselves out. (Ah, another blog post!) And sometime after Spring Break we (I) ease up a bit. Hubby knows this is the time that the gift closet in out house becomes an unholy mess. He knows I start throwing things in a “I’ll do it in June” pile. Our guest room becomes my June pile. Shudder. I’m not as fastidious about cleaning our home, staying up with laundry, planning meals, or anything. I don’t give up, but I definitely let things go a bit due to my fatigue. The fix? I must watch my health-physical and spiritual.  I have to make sure I get enough rest, eat well, and spend daily time with God or I fall in a heap just before reaching the finish line. 

I’d love to hear how you run your race! As always, I wish you MUCH joy!

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Good Samaritan

Are you familiar with the Good Samaritan parable? Read on. (Emphasis is mine.) 

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37 NIV

Oh my. My twenty-something self was simply appalled that people passed this poor man. Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m saddened, but no longer surprised. I’ve now seen this and lived this. It ain’t pretty!  I’ve been the victim, the Good Samaritan, and the priest and Levite. 

I want to spend the rest of my life being the Good Samaritan, the one who stops in the middle of her task-despite my feelings, despite my to-do list, despite everything -and extends mercy. Don’t you? 

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

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Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

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