[su_dropcap style=”flat”]S[/su_dropcap]PRING IS COMING – I promise. To get you in the training mode or maybe training mood – well, here. How about a story? I was walking through a parking lot and there on the bumper of a car was a familiar white oval shaped sticker imprinted with the number 0.1.
For a moment my mind tried to associate that white oval with something relevant and suddenly I had to laugh. Normally, that white oval is a proud banner representing the performance of a distance runner, 5K, 10K or maybe a 26.2 mile marathon. Envision the oval imprinted with 26.2 or 13.1 or maybe another recognized achievement. The white oval 0.1 is intended for humor. Goal achieved! I was laughing all the way to my car. But it also started some pretty intense conversations with myself as I considered how long it’s been since I set a goal to do anything remarkable.
Just so you know, I don’t think we are called to be continually setting lofty and ever higher goals. I think we are called to be good stewards of our time and talents God has given us. Sometimes that means resting from perpetual striving, but it doesn’t mean resting from our purpose. At the beginning of this year, I wrote one goal for each month on a calendar. Each goal in some way supports my purpose and exercises my gift. Lest you think I’m excessively motivated, let me set the record straight. Sometimes to go forward we need to glance backward. None of my goals are elevated above doable. OK – so what are a couple of them? Write one card each day for a month. How am I doing? We are in the month of April now and I have missed only a couple days – so I’m way ahead of the goal of one month. I plan to continue and hope to finish 2016 having shared encouragement over 350 times. Pray and study the Bible and write a blog that’s devotional in nature every day. I haven’t counted them up, but I haven’t missed many days since January 1st. I’m not perfect. I’m a possibility. I struggle with the blogging part. Really struggle. But I keep trying. Total transparency here. I set a goal to write one article per week that is not my blog and is unrelated to devotional genre. I believe we are in the 14th week of the year and I have written three articles. I’m not perfect. I’m a possibility.
So as I thought about the white oval 0.1, I wondered. What have I been doing lately to seek out my purpose and work toward goals I’ve set? Have I prayed and ask God for guidance through my day, then ignored his direction and gone my own way? Have I given a worry to God at night, and taken it back again when the sun came up? Our Word of Life kids on Wednesday night sing a song that starts out “Running the race for Jesus …” How am I really doing in the race of life? Am I diligent and striving for that 26.2? Or am I stagnating and satisfied with 0.1? Have you noticed how runners dress? Summer athletes wear wispy, featherweight clothing and as little of it as possible. Even in the winter, when fully covered, runner’s clothing can be weighed in ounces. Have you lifted a running shoe lately? I think it takes more energy to heft a Q-tip than it does to lift a modern day running shoe.
An excerpt from Hebrews 12:1 says;
So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.[su_spacer]
In this world are insurmountable weights of fears, troubles, anxiety. We lose hope and give up – unless we keep our eyes on the goal to claim the prize described by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:14 “I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven.” Athletes who are serious about their goals endure through training, practice perfection of their stride, nurture their physical bodies with protein and healthy foods, and feed their spirits with positive thoughts. If I’m serious about living my life on purpose, I will keep striving to set goals and do what I say I will – even if I’m not perfect. This sentence has been printed and taped to my wall for many years. It reminds me of my purpose. I can’t give the writer of it proper credit because I don’t know where I read it or where it came from.
Live your life in such a way that those who don’t know God will want to know God because they know you. [su_spacer]
If I lived up to that every day, I think I’d come pretty close to that 26.2. This last thought from the Message translation of Ephesians 6:13 “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.”
Keep running for what is good and honorable and worthwhile. Guard your mind and your heart! Remember that there is hope. I’m not perfect. I’m a possibility.