The Race

I consider the past 12 months to be among the hardest I’ve lived thus far. I probably haven’t felt this many tears trickle down my cheeks since my dad got sick and died 15 years ago. I don’t exactly have a death wish…but, boy, heaven sure sounds appealing. I’m growing quite weary of the struggles down here. Here’s something interesting–count how many times I have used the words “me”, “my”, “I”, or any other words referring to myself, in what I have written so far. That many? In only four sentences? Hmm. Guess I’m giving myself away here, I tend to be pretty self-absorbed. The message Sunday at my church was about the cross (“my” church? Nice…). At the beginning, he talked about us being like toddlers, wanting what we want and not wanting anyone else to stand in our way. I’ve been “around” awhile. Surrendered my life to God years ago; been walking His path long enough it seems like “toddler Katie” would be long gone by now. She disappears for awhile and I tend to think she’s gone. And, then, she rears her head again. (Ok, is it creepy that I keep talking about myself in third person? Sorry, moving on…) Seriously, how selfish can I be? If I love God, and desire to glorify Him, why do I tend to be so focused on me? If I trust Him, why don’t I trust Him? If He says He offers me true life, why don’t I simply believe Him?

Months ago I had a rough night. Sobbing (and I mean SOBBING) for a long time. Felt a little nudge in my spirit to reach out to some friends. I sent out an S.O.S. for some verses to cling to and prayers. My friends responded and I made it through. The next morning the phone rang and it was a friend. She was not one of the ones I had shared with the night before. Conversation started, “This is one of those awkward phone calls, I felt like I needed to call you and I’m not sure exactly why. I have been praying for you. God has really put you on my heart lately, especially last night.” Tears started running down my cheeks. I couldn’t speak. She must have taken the silence to mean she was way off base because then she said, “This is awkward, I probably shouldn’t have called…” I began to tell her about the night before, and we talked for awhile. I encouraged her to keep making those “awkward phone calls” because they aren’t really all that “awkward”. See, the night before I felt God leading me to reach out because I couldn’t do it on my own. The next morning He showed me how much HE cared about me. I didn’t have to reach out for His love. He reached out to me. He was taking care of me in ways I didn’t even know about. That is a pretty sweet realization.

So, if that is a picture of who God truly is…why do I doubt that His plan for me is much better than anything I may dream up?? Why do I fight it? Why do I doubt His wisdom? Do I truly think I could do better?

Sadly, the toddler in me is pretty sure she could. That’s a glaring truth that is hard to swallow. Pretty humbling to admit and speak it out loud. Thankfully, God cares enough to provide many ways to get my eyes off the toddler and back on Him where they belong. His patience is astounding. Deep inside my spirit, which He has transformed, is the desire to please Him, trust Him, and glorify Him. And with my eyes fixed on the true Prize, I will keep running this race set before me.

A friend recently shared some thoughts on this race that the Bible talks about. Viewing it as more of a relay, handing off the baton as we move into a new “phase” of the race; entering a new season of life, perhaps. We can look back on the previous “versions” of ourselves, who at one time carried the baton, and we may not hardly recognize them. They were part of the race, but not even close to the person who will victoriously cross the finish line. And I was challenged to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, I am about to start the next phase, and receive the baton. You know what, I think I am. Because the person who holds the baton right now, stumbling along, she has my face but she isn’t me at all. Lord, help me. I must decrease, You must increase. I must obey, no matter what You ask me to do or give up, if I love You. I must offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. I must pick up my cross, leave everything behind, and follow You. Help me. I need Your power. I’m ready. I’m grabbing that baton offered to me, and I’m picking up the pace a bit, “running with endurance the race God has set before me. I will do this by keeping my eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects my faith”. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

“God’s got you.” Yes, I do believe He has. Thanks.


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