Have you ever been stuck? Stuck in mud so thick and deep that it sucks the shoes off your feet and imobilizes you. Unable to move – as if frozen in time – lost in despair. Longing to move, but you no longer feel like you have the strength to try. “Why try?” the voice in your head whispers, “You’ll only get stuck again and fail; like you always do.”
I am stuck in that mire and have been for far too long. I’ve been living like a shadow buried in work, video games or binge watching tv. Not really caring for family, my job, my heart. Yet, God has not given up on me.
…I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”Phillippians 3:13
Today in my journal I wrote, “I bemoan the fact that I continue in this blank nothingness but don’t make any attempt to improve. Any thoughts of improvement are quickly squelched by the thought that I won’t make it. I’ll just fail. Why Try? How do I break this vicious cycle?”
Then God spoke. I am signed up for a posting from the Passion Translation, and in today’s message, it was as if God was speaking directly to me. “Move forward, my child. You have remained where you are long enough. The time has come for you to advance.” It went onto say that God is with me. He invites me to take his hand and live in His abundant promises. God has set aside promises and provision for each and every day; even today. He promised Joshua, that every step he took, the land would become his. He is promising the same to me.
As I read that blog, an image of a race entered my heart. I looked at the very long course ahead of me and the hurdles laid out and was filled with despair. The gun fired, and the runners charged ahead. I took a few feeble steps and stopped. Convinced I could never win, I gave up. I was afraid I would fail, and so I stopped. Didn’t I understand that I was ensuring my own failure by giving up?
But God whispered in my heart again. He told me that I had already won. It didn’t matter if I came in first or last, I had won. Jesus had already assured that outcome for me. I saw Jesus at the end of the race holding up a sign with my name on it. Cheering me on, as if I was in the lead at the Olympics. Yelling and jumping up and down, calling my name. He was also there running along the course with me, cheering me on and encouraging me to keep moving. When I stumbled, He would step in, pick me up, kiss my bruises and help me get back on my feet and moving again. If I could not walk, He would hold me up and help me across the finish line – His strong arm supporting me as I limped ahead. If I collapsed, unable to go on, He would pick me up and carry me across. And all the time, He was holding me close, whispering His love for me and encouraging me to trust Him.
It’s not about competition. It’s not about whether I am first or last, or somewhere in the middle. Its’ about completion. It’s about finishing the race and not forgetting that I am never alone. I am not to look at the long and daunting course before me, or at those who are running faster than I am. I am to look for Him; to listen to His enthusiastic cheers and guidance.
And when I finish the race, the greatest thing of all is that Jesus is my prize. He is my treasure and the only thing worth running for.
It’s not about competition. It’s about completion.