On Running the Race

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On Running the Race

On Running the Race:

I learned a valuable lesson from my daughter, Lori, who at the time was in the seventh grade. It was a blustery day in Colorado Springs. I stood on the field of Challenger Middle School a few feet from the track and watched as Lori prepared to run the 200-meter race. She stretched, then walked to her assigned lane.

Soon the coach, standing beside the start line, shouted, “Get ready – get set.” Lori set her shoulders in a runner’s stance. Then the coach bellowed, “Go.”

Lori started fast and within seconds, she led a pack of runners. Her arms pumped back and forth. Her stride was swift. My arms flung in all directions as I jumped up and down cheering her along. She kept the lead, until she reached the curve of the track. I noticed her pace slow. She stumbled. She fell. Get up. Get up. I screamed within my mind. She sat on the track dusting gravel off her knees. One runner . . . two runners . . . three runners passed her by. Finally, she glanced toward the finish line, stood and sped toward it. She finished the race.

Unlike Lori, I would have crawled off the track. Why bother finishing a race I couldn’t win? And so I contrast Lori’s performance on that day to one of my life races. This particular race is not run with my feet. It is run with my tongue.

Each day I start a new race desiring to build up my husband, Robert, by my actions and with my words. But often as I reach the curve of my day, I become annoyed with something he says, or doesn’t say; with something he does, or doesn’t do. I stumble. Words that lead to defeat and failure surface within me. But my problem is not with words popping into my mind, it is with the fact that I act on those destructive words. I allow poison to seep from my tongue. I fall.

After my fall, my thoughts turn inward. My intent is to build him up. Instead, I tear him down. How can I undo the harm I’ve caused? There I stay on my race track gagging on gravel stuck on my tongue.

Get up. Get up. My thoughts hear God coaxing me to get up and to fix my eyes on the finish line. I sit up. I ask God and Robert to forgive me. I forgive myself. I stand.

And I run.

“. . . forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14 NASB).

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