This morning Greg told me about a story from his childhood that has always stuck in his head. To this day he has so many questions about it. When he was little his dad was a director of a church camp one summer. While his brothers were old enough to attend, Greg was just under the age limit. However, because he was the director's son, he was able to go.
Even though he was younger than the other campers, Greg was still allowed to participate in the activities. One of those activities was a race. Well, Greg ended up smoking everyone in the individual race and because he was fast, he was put in the relay race. However, no one really explained to him what was going on. He wasn't sure how the relay thing worked, if he was running the right track or even where the finish line was. As he ran he remembered looking back and realizing how far ahead he was. It was then that he started wondering "Am I going where I'm supposed to go?" Eventually, he stopped where he thought he was supposed to, but it didn't "feel" right. There was no one high fiving him, no one patting him on the back, no one to even to say "good run" - even if he didn't win. He was just simply left with the question of "what just happened?" And to this day still wonders that.
In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 Paul says, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize."
As Greg told me this story this verse came to mind. I began wondering how many people are out there running a race like Greg did. In the Christian life, we strive to run that race and have others join in the race with us. But how many start off strong and then get bogged down and confused because they aren't sure where the track is, what the rules are or even where the finish line is. They stop and look for someone to help, but never start running again.
There is a term in the athletic world that talks about how athletes can be their own worst enemy because they get inside their own head. Coaches will tell them "Get out of your head. Stop overthinking." This is the situation with so many Christians - non-Christians too. We start out on fire and then start looking around us. We start comparing and then turn around and look behind us. Coaches will also tell athletes to keep their eye on the finish line. When we start comparing ourselves and take our focus off of what is before us and start looking behind, we will slow down and stumble and even stop what God is doing in our lives.
When we begin this race of life, we won't have all the answers. We don't know where the finish line is. But we do have the training manual if we take time to read it or even ask questions about it. And we also have the promise of that glorious prize that awaits us. Let's continue to spur each other on. Let's remember as runners to ask questions. Let's remember to not get bogged down with legalism. Let's not allow what is behind us to slow us down. Continue on the track God has you on looking toward the finish line. Your legs will get tired, your breathing will become labored, but God will sustain you as you strive for the prize that He has for you.