November 19, 2008

Individual or Team??

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1


I had a friend ask me the other day if I preferred team or individual sports. I thought for a moment and answered with team sports but after this morning, I realize that I need to change my answer. Now not being particularly athletic I have never really played sports other than a year of softball and a year of soccer, which I hated. I LOVE to watch basketball and hockey but the idea of playing any type of sport does nothing for me. Where is this going you may be asking yourself? Well, I have started running again. When I was younger, I ran just about every day for the fun of it. No one made me I just loved doing it. I loved putting on some music and just running. Running until I could run no more. Two and half years ago I took up running again and was quite consistent with it until I had minor foot surgery and then ended up pregnant with my youngest daughter and never got back into the habit but this past Friday I started running yet again. Now because it has been quite some time since I have done any kind of running, it is more like a run/walk kind of deal because if I ran straight I feel that I would physically die.

This morning, before the sun had even made an appearance, I ventured out into the freezing cold with my mp3 player and took to the pavement. As I was running, I thought about why I prefer individual to team sports and here are my thoughts. You see I do NOT like to have to count on people for things. Partly because I have been let down so much that, it is easier just to do something on your own then to bring other people into it and find yourself disappointed with them. More than once, I have gone into something with other individuals and ended up finishing whatever alone. My reasoning became that of "you can't count on anybody". This in some cases is true. This morning though, as I was running, I was able to pray for each family in our neighborhood twice. While I was praying, the thought also popped into my head that we never really know what is going on inside the homes of those around us. Partly because people just do not open up to one another but instead try to hide their issues. Many times people really just do not make the effort to invest in the lives of others. It may not always be that you cannot count on people. Instead it may be that they are dealing with something that keeps them from following through. As I thought about that, I prayed one more time for the neighborhood as a collective and then for my attitude and myself.

Truth be told though, people will always let us down because we will all mess up at times but the amazing thing is that we each are running our own race in life and though we may choose to do things alone, we can never run our race alone. When Christ lives within us, we are never truly alone. No matter how fast we think that we are running, He is always right there running beside us just waiting for us to trip and fall from our mistakes so that He can pick us up and wipe away our tears. He is always there when we lose our way and find ourselves lost to bring us back home and He is always there to encourage us when we get it right. No matter how much we may want to do something on our own He is there. Sometimes we try to do things thinking that we know better but quickly life will throw a curve ball our way and we realize that only with His strength and direction can we actually hit that ball.

Running requires discipline in order to finish what has been started. This is true with our walk as well. The road under our feet will not always be easy but with focus, determination and discipline we can live a life that is honoring to our Heavenly Father. We have to put into practice not focusing on what is behind us but instead press ahead toward the goal before us, a life that God has planned. We must surrender every part of our lives to Him so that He can accomplish through us all that His plan entails. We must offer true forgiveness that can only come from the Holy Spirit and relinquish our worst enemy over to Him. It all comes down to reaching out and grabbing our Father's hand and allowing the Holy Spirit to clean up our wounds so that we can live out the life that God has for us. It is our choice as to whether or not we will try to run that race on our own or give God the control to take over and direct us so that we can move forward because He will never disappoint us.

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