My oldest daughter, Kori, has growing aspirations to be a track star one day.
My wife and I are behind her 100%…and it’s tiring. Anyone who has kids that are involved in sports (or any extra-curricular activity) can attest to how draining it can be. See if this sounds remotely familiar:
3-4 practices a week…meets/games just about every weekend…buying uniforms, shoes, sports equipment and apparel, etc…registration fees…routine road trips…
The list keeps going, but I’m not writing this to complain about any of that. I’m writing this because I’m extremely proud of her, and because she taught me something very valuable during her last meet.
About 3 weeks ago, we were at the AAU Regional qualifier in Savannah, Georgia. Kori ran the 400, 100, and 200 meter dashes. She ran the 400 that Friday evening, and…well…she struggled. More specifically, she came in dead last during her heat.
Needless to say, Babygirl wasn’t happy. I think her exact words were, “Man, that was HORRIBLE!!” My youngest daughter and I tried our best to make her feel better, but Kori is mostly self-motivated, so any outward motivation does no good unless it connects somehow with her inward drive.
So, on the way back to the hotel room, after giving her a moment to exhale, I asked her what her goal for the next day would be. Her reply surprised me a little bit: “Daddy, I want to beat my best times in the 100 and the 200”. I fully expected her to say that she’d be gunning for 1st, or that she was going to make some of those other girls eat her dust.
Kori, instead of focusing on getting the best of her competitors, chose to focus on getting the best of herself. The next day, she didn’t run the AAU race…she ran her race. And, for the most part, she accomplished her goal; she beat her previous 100m time, and came within less than a second of beating her last 200m time.
This wouldn’t really be considered a win by our society’s standards. As far as we’re concerned, winning is measured solely by whether or not you come in first in whatever you do. Nobody remembers who comes in second, right?
But is this how God views winning?
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all – Ecclesiastes 9:11
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith – 1 Timothy 4:7
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1
To put it simply, we don’t win God’s race by coming in “first”; we win the race by running at the pace that He establishes for each of us individually. We don’t have to be the first ones to cross the finish line…
…we just have to cross it..