May 17, 2020

Finish the Race

For the past several weeks I’ve been in a slump. Not sure exactly how or when it started, just that it would not lift. This is the first thing I’ve written in many weeks.

Can you relate? Do you ever have times in your life where you just.can’
Yesterday I talked to my husband Don about my sadness, weariness, and frustration. Most of it centers around my writing and speaking gift from the Lord that, well, is not being used right now. I had just listened to a speaker at an online writer’s conference who talked about how God spoke to her in so many little ways during the day, and that’s what she wrote about. I used to be like that – I blogged every week, wrote 2 books, started a third book, have SO many book ideas. All are about the daily practical side of living out our faith, using analogies from everyday life and sharing testimony.

What happened to my passion? Why couldn’t I write like that again? I have the time…but every time I thought about writing some trivial task commandeered my time.

As I looked back over the past few years, a pattern emerged.
  • A few years ago I started a Facebook Live series and then quit after a few short months
  • Earlier this year I started a Monday series of inspirational messages but quit after a few weeks.
  • I blog here and there, but never consistently.
  • I’ve started several books, written down many ideas, all are somewhere on my computer waiting to be resurrected

Lots of good things started and none of them continued or finished. Why? I honestly don’t know. I started to earnestly seek God for answers.

Back to today. Don and I went to a morning workout with our gym. It was a burner of a workout that included running 400 meters (about ¼ mile) 12 times…once after each round of snatches, situps, burpees, cleans, and thrusters.

When I hit burpees after round 3 (if you don’t know what an ugly and horrible thing a burpee is, google it), I decided to cut the quantity because I am so slow with them. I made the mistake of mentioning that to the coach, “Hey, I’m only doing 20 burpees and will do 30 cleans”.

“No, you’ll do all the burpees.”
“But I …..”
“Burpees, now, finish them!"

Sigh. OK, I finished the burpees. I figured I was going to quit the workout anyway after round 6, so might as well do them all.

During my post-burpee run the Lord spoke to me.

“Do you want a DNF by your name?”

DNF. Did Not Finish. I’ve seen those next to athlete’s names who did not finish the tournament, race, or game. Sometimes the DNF was because they were disqualified, but in most cases it was not their choice to take that DNF – some type of injury stopped them from finishing.

With this workout I was choosing a DNF. I was capable of finishing, albeit last in our group, and I was planning to quit.

I decided right then I didn’t want a DNF. I wanted to finish the workout.

The next few times around the running path, the Lord continued to speak.

“Your problem with writing is also DNF – you don’t finish what is in front of you.”

That’s it! I’ve been choosing DNFs instead of finishing the day’s tasks that will keep me in the race toward the goal to win the prize.
  • I want to have published books…but I don’t make time to write every day.
  • I want to speak and share God’s messages of encouragement…but I don’t use the tools available (FB Live, YouTube) to do just that.
  • I want to share the encouraging messages God gives me in blogs…but I say, “later…” instead of doing it in that moment.

Today when I finished the workout as written, I was the last one done by more than 10 minutes. But I felt SO good that I finished!

I want my writing life to be the same way: I want to feel good at the end of every day that I am still on track to finish the race God laid out before me: publish the book, write the blog, share the message.

Looking back, much of the reason for my slump all along has been my lack of obedience to do what God called me to do. He wasn’t giving me His grace and energy for my daily life because I wasn’t doing what He told me to do; hence the heaviness and sadness. I wanted to feel like writing; God wanted me to faithfully give Him my time and put my hands on the keyboard, trusting He’d provide as I obeyed.

God doesn’t give us inspiration so we obey Him and do what’s right; He gives us inspiration as we choose to obey Him and do what’s right.

Do you want a DNF by your name on any list where you have the choice and ability to finish? Decide today that you want to end the day confident that you kept running your race and stayed on course with whatever it is God is calling you to do. Don’t give up, don’t take short cuts, don’t look back. Today is a new day, make it count!

Difficult times will always come where we need temporary schedule adjustments and priority shifts. But when the temporary time is done, we need to get back up and keep going. Purpose in our hearts that we will, indeed, finish the race set out before us to win the prize….one choice at a time!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity]
(Hebrews 12:1-2a, AMP)

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