Have I Done Enough?

www-denisepass-com-1

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It’s not how you start the race that matters, but how you finish.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Corinthians 9:24

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Leaning over and stretching, I looked at the entrance to the race with a side glance, as if to hide the fact that I was examining it. Had my training been enough? What about those days when I opted to eat chocolate instead of training on the treadmill? (There’s that chocolate appearing in the blog again).

“You can do this”, I told myself. Ugh, but I really didn’t want to. I started to contemplate why I signed up for this race in the first place, and so began the battle of the mind as we all took our mark.

In preparation for the race, earlier that morning my dear hubby thought it would be kind to make me a three egg omelet and grits with a banana. * Gulp. * One egg is usually my limit, but I thought I needed energy for the race, so I obliged and stuffed my face. It’s all about the carbs, right? Later he asked if there was any breakfast left. *Oops.* No wonder it was a three egg omelet – we were supposed to split it.

As we drove to the race, my tummy and I were not feeling in the running mood, if you know what I mean. Now back to that starting line. “Pace yourself”, I coached myself. “Don’t worry about everybody passing you when you are slower than everyone else around you”. Self-talk was starting to get me pumped up. I had enough fuel to get through this race, just needed the right attitude.

The blaring sound alerted us, hearts pumping, that it was our turn for our feet to slave away at the pavement. “Why, oh why am I doing this AGAIN?” Focusing on my first benchmark, I squinted between drops of sweat and thought I was probably already to a half mile. Suddenly, I really felt like I was going to hurl. Desperate for a quick exit, the 30,000 people surrounding me made it seem impossible to find a place to puke.

Note to self: “Don’t ever eat a 3-egg omelet with grits and a banana before a race again”. “I can’t do this”, I started to fill my mind with a doubtful mantra. Just then, my husband tapped me on the back. He was following me still, urging me on. Seeing my misery, he encouraged me to keep going.

Pressing on in my misery and panic, I furtively looked for places to hurl, but found none. At each mile marker my husband somehow appeared, dancing and rooting me on. He had not even trained for this race, and he was whooping me?! I started to wonder if he had a sinister plan with the 3-egg omelet he had prepared that morning just for me.

By the grace of God, I finished, but it wasn’t pretty. My husband sprinted the entire race ahead of me to encourage me, but I was feeling mighty inferior.

I learned a lot that day about perseverance, and yes, I ran that race again, but I avoided some of the mistakes I made before.

The lessons learned in a race impact all areas of life. The tasks God calls us to – will we work at them and complete them, or give up part way through? Will we prepare and be in the Word to enable us to do the work of God, or just randomly serve?

This question asked at the beginning of today’s post echoes in the corners of my mind. Have I Done Enough?

As a parent – have I done enough? As I prepare to send another child to study on campus instead of at home, I wonder, have I done enough? Will he be able to stand against temptation and run his own race?

As a child of God, have I done enough? Has my heart burned with the passion of sharing God’s love with the world? Or have I focused on being comfortable in this temporary world?

We are all in a race, but often get caught up in life’s hectic distractions and forget what matters most. That glorious finish line will be worth it. Our burdens and the difficulty of the race pale in light of what God has in store for those who run this race all for His glory.

Like the race I ran that was full of challenges, life is rife with hardship, temptations, and battles, but there are encouragements along the way provided by God to spur us on.

It is not those necessarily those who start well who win the race, but those who are consistent and finish it well. Stay focused and stay faithful. It will be worth it in the end.

Lord, thank You for your grace to run the race of this life. Give us Your perspective and help us to not lose heart. Be glorified as we run for You.

Mundane Monday: Keep on Keepin’ On

When life just seems to disappear (1)

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When life seems to disappear into a sea of never-ending challenges or failed attempts at reaching our goals, if we will just keep keepin’ on – each of those steps is one step closer to achieving our goals.

Scriptures of the Day:

Galatians 6:9

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”

Philippians 1:6

“…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


Pursuing dreams is hard work. Seems unreachable and takes all we’ve got. But what would it be like if we never had a goal to pursue to start with? No bucket list, no aspirations. Just existing. Doesn’t sound like much fun.

Somehow in the longing and straining to be faithful to develop the talents God has given there is a peace. Even though the results of our efforts might not be what we had hoped, there is a sense of purpose in doing what instinctively God has placed on our heart.

When there is a calling deep within our soul, to deny it or to not work toward that calling for fear of failure is a miserable existence. Sure, it is a bummer when it seems like we take two steps forward and one step back, but even this is progress. 

When life seems to disappear into a sea of never-ending challenges or failed attempts at reaching our goals, if we will just keep keepin’ on – each of those steps is one step closer to achieving our goals.

I hope this blog encourages whoever is reading it to continue to chase after that calling in your heart. I know I needed it. But even if my eyes never see what I am aiming toward, the best relief in pressing toward our goals is that as we seek to work hard, God is the One who brings the results He wants. Ultimately the pressure is off of us to produce the final result.

Isn’t that good news? And the fruit and character developed as we labor toward our goals and dreams is perhaps the most precious reward of all.

Oh God, all I have is Yours. Extend my territory as You will. May I be faithful to seek You and Your righteousness and to make You known.

Mundane Monday: Get Up and Fight!

Curve Ball

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The curve balls in this life weren’t meant to defeat us, but to challenge us to rise and play ball.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

I love baseball.  There was nothing like watching my son play and play hard.  But the imminent fear of a fly ball whacking you in the face was always looming in the corner of the minds of the spectators.

I have witnessed such incidences many times.  One woman was knocked unconscious and taken away by an ambulance, some ball players themselves were carried off the field and still other spectators foamed at the mouth for the opportunity to lunge and catch the ball . . . all pressing on, for the love of the game.

This past week I sat in the hospital for three days while my son had surgery for a broken femur – not from a baseball game, but from a slow bicycle ride.  His roommate, however, had several crushed bones in his face from a baseball.  My darling husband, too, also has a lump on his face from the time he took a shot from the ball himself.

Sometimes life throws you crazy curve balls.  The question is, do we pick up the ball dealt to us and play or let ourselves get socked by the balls and defeated when they come our way?  After sizing up the speed of a ball, my preference would likely be to dodge a fast ball if I do not think I have the ability to catch it.

I well remember pitching to my two older brothers who could whack the tape ball we played with to a lightning speed in no time.  Those lessons coached me well.  Stay alert!

But sometimes you do not have time to dodge a ball nor the skill.  Ugh, while I mention the words “dodge” and “ball” in the same sentence, another vivid memory appears in my mind as the last chosen on a team at school and the first one smacked with those balls. Oh, what fun, right?

Back to my sweet son.  We did not expect a casual bike ride to turn into three medical facilities, surgery and great pain.  It is still stupefying to consider how it happened.  But it did.  In the moment, I noticed I did not respond as I had before when traumatic times occurred.  There was a peace.  Unexplainable.  Sadness gripping my heart for my son, but a calm, nonetheless.

God gave a presence of mind to consider that where we were was temporary.  It was also allowed by Him and a mission.

Would we waste the brief opportunities that came our way with the people we would meet, or would we share Christ, our biggest blessing, our very life, to those around us?  One shot to handle the ball and to bring God glory.

My son is growing in his faith and it was absolutely precious to see Him have to depend on God and to grow in His strength and faith in Jesus.  As we read Scripture aloud and prayed in that hospital room, God did His part.  The hardest thing, though, was for my son to face His enemy – the pain he was in.  The only way to recovery was to walk through the pain and to make a choice to take the ball, the circumstances dealt to him, and push through. He had to choose to face his pain and get up and fight.

You see, our enemy throws sucker punches and sometimes we want to give up.  Dizzy and lying on the ground, it seems impossible to get up and fight.  But the only way to victory is to accept what happened and to fight.  Not with the weapons of this world.  It might be on our knees, reading His word or it might mean doing really hard things, but in the place of pain we have a Savior walking with us through it all, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes all you can do is hang onto Jesus’ robe and cry out.  That’s ok.  That is the best place to be, actually.  It can be easy to grow discouraged when challenges rise in our lives, in particular multiple balls coming our direction at the same time. We don’t expect them nor appreciate them often in the moment. Unless . . . we view them as an adventure and view ourselves as being in the hands of a loving sovereign God Who is sending us on a mission.  Will we accept?

Lord, help us to see You in all of life.  Help us to seek You as our coach in every circumstance and to not grow weary in well doing.