At some point in our lives, we’ve all been in some sort of running race. Whether it was on your primary school playground or maybe your university track team. The rules are simple, stand at the start line and race to the finish line. We set our minds and our body on getting to the finish line as fast as we possibly can, to get that prize.
At varying times, we may have one or many prizes that our eyes are set on. As a mum of little ones, one of my current ‘prizes’ may seem trivial and amusing to you. While I love watching my children grow and savouring the little moments when they’re causing trouble but tying it in with being too-cute-to-tell-off, I really look forward to the days of no-mess meal times, not being followed into the loo (some of you will get this!), not having to repeat myself ten times and I genuinely can’t wait till flights are actually relaxing and enjoyable again, when I can spend majority of my time binge watch movies instead of attempting to pacify a squealing toddler while rubbing shoulders with strangers! Well, I have a few years yet, and I sometimes find myself wishing life would fast forward a little, or a lot.
I know I’m not alone in this though, I think we all have a tendency to look forward to something we don’t have yet, something we long for, or something someone else has.... an upcoming holiday, the big promotion, the future wedding, a house by the beach, and sometimes even just the thought of the next meal can get us through a boring day.
Sometimes we build up this prize or goal in our minds so much that our entire life becomes about the future, about something we don’t have yet, about something that may not even be realistic. Our circumstances might be so dire that we don’t want to live in the present.
But as we look ahead, through the fog, through the walls, through the difficulties, the heartache, while we long for, desire, even covet… have you ever stopped to wonder whether you might be missing something in the ‘right now’?
As my two young children run circles round my legs, constantly calling out for ‘mummy!’, and manage to skillfully untidy everything that I have tidied up only seconds before, the thoughts in my head are not even vaguely pleasant! But if I were to stop, take a second and look at my life, I would see that through this season I’ve developed in my character as a wife, a mother and as a person. My patience has grown, my multi tasking skills have improved, my selfishness has waned and I have learnt so much from my children, who most of the time, bring me joy and grow me in wisdom! This is just a small glimpse of character shaping that I’ve gone through.
There’s always something that is happening within us during the ‘race’. It isn’t just about getting to the finish line (ok maybe in an actual race it is ;)). It’s about how well we run the race, how our hearts and minds are transformed and how we let our circumstances shape us while we’re on this journey.
And, you may or may not know this, but we aren’t really able to decide what happens in our future! We can make our plans and aim towards them, but in the end, there’s One who determines the beginning and end of all things, One who gives and takes away, One who opens doors of opportunity for us and closes others that we aren’t meant to walk through.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
So let’s stop focusing on what we don’t have and let’s take a look at our present, our here and now, and let it shape who we become… for the better. In the end, that’s’ what really matters, who we are, not what we have.
And let’s leave what is to come, to the One who has all the answers anyway, and let’s find a way to get to know Him. In getting to know our Father, we get to know the plans He has for us, and trust me, those are the best plans we could ever have for our lives.
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