Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Run Your Race by @emilylaney

"Photo credit: Thomas Rousling (creative commons)
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2.

I was reflecting on The Church 4 Chicks mission this evening “Living on purpose…without the pressure.” That’s such a delicate balance to maintain. It’s so easy to live a purpose filled life, but to allow ourselves to give into pressure from others, pressure that does not come from God. I find that happening in my life all too often. I strive to live intentionally and purposefully, but sometimes instead of looking towards God’s approval, I look to the approval of others.

I love the scripture in Hebrews. It paints such a beautiful picture of our purpose on this earth. I picture myself running a race. I attempt to enjoy running and have completed a few 5ks and 10ks in recent years. When I run (ahem, jog) a race, I can’t focus on anything or anyone but my own path. If I look to the left or to the right too much, I will inevitably run into a curb, fire hydrant, another person, pothole… you get the drift. It’s only by focusing on what’s ahead of me, pressing towards the finish line that I can complete the race. 

For a runner like me, it’s not about winning, it’s about finishing well.

I also find that if I pay attention to the people running around me, I get discouraged. I’m not a very fast runner, so if I compare myself to others then my pace doesn’t seem nearly as impressive. But I went from not being able to run a mile to being able to complete 3 and 6 mile distances, so I have accomplished something in my running. 

The more I practice and the more I run, the better I get. I still have to stop every once in awhile to walk a bit (I mean have any of you run the Peachtree Road Race? Cardiac hill is not for running), but I reach the finish line.

Are you beginning to see the parallels? We each have a race to run. It’s not your husband’s race or your coworker’s race or your mom’s race, it’s your race. It’s between you and the Lord.. And you’ll finish well. If you look to the right or to the left, you will be distracted by what your friend, your co-worker or your neighbor is doing. Seeds of comparison about their race verses your race will creep in, and you just might run into a fire hydrant or trip over a pothole!  And there will be those proverbial potholes and fire hydrants on your race route, there will be barriers then enemy throws in front of you, but if you fix your eyes on Jesus, you will finish your race.

God has “prepared good works in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10, paraphrased), but we have to run the race, and fix our eyes on Jesus. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

Run your race, sister! We’re all cheering you on!

Emily Laney is a social worker, educator, and justice seeker.  She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals.  She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia. She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.

You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog

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