As I begin today I ponder a picture in my mind of a race being run; a marathon of runners. They reflect of an array of varying representation from every tribe, tongue and nation; each unique in their reflection and expression. No one runner looks exactly like any other. Each has distinct and unique qualities.
The race has a both a starting and a finish line; a beginning and an ending, where one will start and commence to the finish line. Only winning the race will capture a prize for having crossed the finish line. The object of the race is to keep one’s eye on the finishing line and to cross it while keeping their endurance in equilibrium so as to measure it out in portions in order press forward with their very best while at the same maintaining a reserve to hold steady their pace.
This all is to preserve sustainability in the body to assure they will finish the race. Yet at the same time they must keep their eye on the prize which is the finish line. Both are equally important as each aspect relies upon the other. Both must be maintained in balanced proportion with the other.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
As we walk out our life perhaps one of the first things we need to consider is to preface how we start and how we will finish the race.
I am healing from 11 years of a chronic illness that was of unknown origin and therefore had therefore received no diagnosis from the medical field. Disease with no name and therefore no proven treatment could be offered. It left me feeling rather weak and unable to consistently maintain my equalibrium.
Therefore my life was experienced as an unpredictable, unsustainable and unaccountable roller coaster ride of dips and spikes. Who could count on me when I lived as such? Why I could not even count on myself.
With this unstable and wandering sense of limitation, which kept my life experience all over the map, I never could go any place with destination nor determination. I could not stay put in any one point long enough to establish any degree of foundational integrity and therefore could not keep a destination in my gaze to fix my focus upon.
So in essence I was going nowhere and experiencing little and lasting sense of fulfillment. I felt as though I was living without reason or purpose and at times life became quite dull and boring and I had little confidence in what I could ever do with any sense of consistent continuity.
So I was meandering in a state of confusion looking for a physical place as in geographical location and a certain type of person to make my life feel complete and whole. Neither seem to remain for very long. I merely found short term fixes which only left me in disappointment and constantly wandering and searching. I guess I could have named myself the traveling wanderer and so that became my story and I seemed to attract to my experience others without purpose and found myself entering situations that drained and depleted the very life right out of me leaving me feeling quite empty and going nowhere. I was “not” living but rather merely existing and getting by. I was always looking for greener pastures that I could never find.
This is not how God designed us to live out life. Now allow me to express my “now experience” of embracing and greeting life. May I simply say that He gives us a recipe for a life of relentless pursuit of fulfilling ecstatic inspiration of creative and expressive application in a richness of gifting that we can draw out of ourselves. This we only wish to offer back to Him in loving adoration of His goodness and loving sense of identity that He brings.
“But, as it is written “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Corinthians 2:9
Our God is one of imagination and we are created in His likeness to live and walk out the same.
What holds us back from attaining such?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,as there is always in a nucleus of others that have gone before us by way of example, to inspire and ignite incentive to live our life to fullest of it’s potential of expression.
Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. We are in a marathon that is meant be exciting, fulfilling and filled with continual joy.
May we be looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Yes, by faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 1:11-3)
For we fix our eyes not what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
He, Jesus, the matchless One who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (I recommend that you read the 11th and 12th chapter of Hebrews).
As I am healing I am starting to run again. Part of my ministry has me in a city where I can run around on a beautiful path around a scenic lake with the capitol building up on the hill reflecting in the stillness of the lake and a park that reflects the life of a city that calls to me that feels so much home to me now and it has for years as I resided in the area for over a decade. I don’t live in that city “yet” again but I commute to it because I am determined to live my life out through the pursuits of my highest expression of love and compassion, in action. We are meant to be moving through such expression vibrantly alive with all of our being.
We are to run this race in life with perseverance and purpose in pursuit of the prize that awaits at the finish line. Crossing that finish line we represent the author and finisher of our faith. We don’t have our eyes on the the other runners but rather on the prize that awaits. In the race there are trophies awaiting along the way to reward each interval of the pace achieved. I am a trophy of grace as well, being molded and shaped as the potter’s clay in the Master’s hand. I don’t look at the other runners as competitors but rather as fellow artisans who are destined for great achievement to express and to meet the One who authored and will conclude this race with all of us runners in His grace, running into His open arms of loving embrace.
Just remember along the running path you will encounter thresholds that in order to continue the race you must step over. So when your body feels like it just can’t go and make it through, then just take one more breath and press through just one more step and you will cross over that threshold and step into a better version of you. This will occur time and time again as long as you stay in the race and do not relent. At the end I hope to hear a “well done” as I cross the finish line. The winner is not the one who crosses the line first but rather the one who finishes. May you and I be ones that finish and do so well.