Weary, but Never Tired

Until I met Mrs. Baker, I didn’t know there was a difference between being weary and being tired. Everyone knew her in our town, and her generosity and kindness were notorious. A foster parent for many years, she adopted my cousin when she wasn’t much older than two or three. She then fostered three other little ones and raised them all until they were adults. I don’t think the word ‘rest’ was in Mrs. Baker’s vocabulary. She was always on the go—always doing something for her church, for her children, or for someone in need. Her service is indeed an example that I admire until this day; it motivates me in many ways. But the one thing I never saw in Mrs. Baker’s life was a person that offered her the same care she so generously offered others.

Mrs. Baker never confided in me personally, but it’s not too much of a stretch to think that when she was weary, no one knew about it. And it’s entirely possible that no one noticed. She just kept doing what she had always done, and people were happy and thankful to receive her special brand of kindness. In Isaiah 40:31(NKJV), the Prophet Isaiah tells us, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Mrs. Baker, like so many of the women I knew, gave of herself continually and expected nothing in return. They knew the giving side of Christian service but didn’t stay in a place of rest long enough to wait for a renewal of their strength. They didn’t feel they had the luxury of waiting, but times are different, and we have nothing like their excuse.

Isaiah 40:31is an extremely comforting and wonderful chapter in the Book of Isaiah, affirming God as our Sustainer, Provider, and Protector. He’s our everything, and He tells us through Isaiah, that whatever we need, He’s got it, and will give it to us. Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to run ourselves in the ground, nor does He want anyone putting us in this kind of situation. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  It is very true that some people don’t know how to rest. They feel compelled to surround themselves in an environment that doesn’t invite it. Jesus Christ extends an invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 to all of us, but in order to receive what he offers, we must be willing to accept it.

It was no surprise that as I’d dot in and out of my hometown, coming home for holidays and visits, Mrs. Baker was still doing what she had always done. Her daughters were older and helping some, but she seemed busier than ever. Imagine my surprise and sorrow to hear she had passed from this life before her sixtieth birthday. My cousin told me that on her dying bed she told her family that she was so very tired. She was a treasure for so many, but as I reflect upon her life, I’m not convinced she ever enjoyed a deep and abiding rest in her heart, or that she received her flowers while she yet lived.

Ignorance will keep us blind to the reality that God has beautifully woven balance into life. A life lived well is indeed surrendered fully to Him, but lest we forget, Hebrews 11:6 affirms that He is a Rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. He will lavish us with rewards, but we have a part to play in this as well. Ephesians 2:10(NLT) tells us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God calls us His finest work. Therefore, we should be as tenacious about loving life as we are about work, service, sharing and caring for others. We must learn to be good to ourselves and recognize that this, too, is service to God.

Yes, in life we will get weary, but we shouldn’t exhaust ourselves to the point of losing vitality. That’s what it means to be tired, and we’ve got too much life to live for that. People mean well, but they will take, and take, and take. To be sure, the walk of a believer means there will definitely be times when we must give more of ourselves than we thought possible, but not to the point of damaging the masterpiece that God has made us. We can never count on a singular person to treat us better than we treat ourselves.  So, let’s make a commitment that we will do our best to be a blessing, but that we will also take time to enjoy the good things God has planned for us as well.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Weary, but Never Tired” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Turning Pain into Gain

The notion of turning your pain into gain sounds a little pollyanna-ish for some folks, and I get it. Domestic violence and abuse can drastically change the way a person views the world, and sometimes it is very hard to snap out of being pessimistic. Personally, I felt so down on myself that I made a practice of always expecting the worse so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was in that place so long that I had to be reprogrammed mentally and emotionally. It took a while for me to start believing that good things could happen to me, and that I was as deserving of them as anyone else. The thing that I got caught up on was how in the dickens did I end up with so many bad things happening in my life in the first place. There was no way I could get on the good foot if I couldn’t make sense of why I kept ending up with the wrong person and making the same mistakes over and over again.

I’m a person that loves organization. I’m not always organized, but I love it when things are in a place that makes sense and stay that way. Part of my professional life involves assessing the pieces of the puzzle and putting them together so that a cohesive picture emerges. In my profession, I understand from the get-go that the pieces I’m working with are not perfect and that the puzzle isn’t perfect either. Almost without fail, each and every time, I’m able to organize the pieces in such a way that my work blesses me and countless others. This very simple approach to my work gave me a foundation for comprehending how God could take someone like me and make the pieces fit. With all my bumbling around and making a mess of things, He continually pulls me together so that, like my work, my life blesses me and countless others.

We are not random beings, detached from the divine order in which God created everything in the universe. There was a time in my life that I felt very random and disjointed, but this was because I didn’t know the truth of God’s purpose for my life. Proverbs 16:4(NLT) tells us that the Lord has made everything for His own purposes. When it comes to our individual lives, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” When the heft of this truth became anchored in my heart, I understood more clearly why Adam’s and Eve’s actions were so catastrophic. God had provided beautifully for them, but they no longer wanted to be under His sovereignty and declared their independence.

They made a big mistake, and the consequences were dire. This is what happens when we buck up against God’s plan, consciously or unconsciously. When we fail to yield to the One who has all power and knows best—the One who has a plan for all of us, life loses its flavor. Many of us walk around feeling lost because we say we don’t understand how God designed this thing called ‘life’ to work. Some bad stuff happened to us, so we figure we can’t trust Him because He didn’t prevent it. We use this as an excuse to abdicate faith and cling to fear. God will judge us for running from His Word and abdicating faith, because He knows that we get ‘woke’ with a quickness about the things that are important to us. If we wanted to know Him and find refuge in Him, we would.

Like the many that have endured domestic violence and abuse, I was confused, angry, bitter, and resentful. There may be aspects of what I experienced that I will never get over, but the Spirit has turned my past pain into gain, and this is something God wants to do for every person that is suffering or has suffered. The Apostle Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:17(NKJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Paul went through some pretty rough stuff and here he calls it light affliction. He lets us in on the reality that God will take our suffering and make it work so gloriously for us that the joy we experience will replace the pain.

1Corinthians 14:13 tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order. He is life, and He has given us what He is. Heavenly Father didn’t give us such an extraordinary gift of life so it would be a vicious cycle of negativity. None of us have a perfect story, but all of us have the ability through Christ to transform and turn things around. Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:16 that we should never lose heart, because even though our outward bodies are growing older, our inward man is being renewed day by day. In other words, life gives us an opportunity to grow spiritually stronger through the Holy Spirit every day, and we should do our very best to embrace this grace we’ve been given.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Turning Pain into Gain” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

A wonderful lady became very emotional while sharing her concerns for her older sister. They were very close at one time, but her sister has been in an abusive relationship for years, and it has caused a rift between them. Her whole family has begged her sister to leave her marriage, and a few times it looked promising. Things were so bad that they just knew she wouldn’t let herself be in that relationship another minute. They were in a huge fight and this couple’s seven-year-old son jumped in and tried to defend his mother. Surely this was the last straw, the family thought; but it wasn’t. Even after its clear that her child is suffering, having to defend one parent against the other, her sister still will not leave this abusive marriage. In the concerned woman’s words, “We are all so devastated, and we don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to leave him, even though it’s tearing everybody apart.”

It is true what they say; no matter how much you want a person to change, they have to want to change for themselves. We can’t make a person change, and we can’t make them want to change. God doesn’t allow human beings to get inside each other’s heads and hearts. We have enough on our plates to keep our own temples in check, and we simply can’t do this for another person. It’s very plain to see that when it comes to the wounds and pain in someone’s life, only God can heal and help them change. He knows what to do and how to do it. His ability is leaps and bounds beyond our own. So we must understand that in these instances, often prayer becomes the only, most loving and effective gift we can offer.

When we pray for someone that perhaps isn’t praying for themselves or doesn’t know how, we’re standing in the gap, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to intervene with his unlimited resources and power. Our faith is integral in this. We must not ever view prayer as a small role in situations like these; it is truly the greatest thing we can offer. It takes our responsibility to a whole other level because we are in partnership with Christ. 2Corinithians 5:20(NLT) tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” We can be of tremendous help through prayer and be effective in ways that go far beyond our physical and mental limitations.

How else do we help with a domestic violence and abuse situation like this, especially where children and family members are involved? It can make us feel very inadequate, overwhelmed, and anxious, but God tells us Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Spiritual warfare will always require believers to kick it in high gear through our faith. The first thing we must do is shift out of the natural plain and breach the walls of the supernatural, where resources are infinite and powerful.

There are so many dynamics involved with domestic violence and abuse, and sometimes what lurks beneath the surface is not apparent, and it is beyond our ability to understand it. The greatest thing we can do is be a vessel for the Lord to work through in any way HE deems fit. This means that we don’t interject our own emotional stuff into the situation, and we do our best to remain calm. We have to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading, as he tells us what to do and how to do it. Philippians 2:13(NKJV) tells us, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And sometimes, His Will is that we stay on the wall in prayer, and He will take care of the rest. In any case, our faith in God and His ability is crucial.

Witnessing the impact and effect of domestic violence is a very difficult thing. There’s no doubt that we must do what we can to be supportive and compassionate, but it is very important not to make an already troubling situation worse. Those that are being affected need us to be spiritually strong and very patient. They need to know we’ll give them a safe and discreet space and place to talk openly, without judgment. If we are led by the Spirit to do so, we can help with finding legal support and other resources, but again, God is the Healer and Provider. We’re not to try and takeover or control the situation. More than anything, a person that is suffering the abuse of domestic violence needs to feel and be empowered. This begins internally first, and only God can do this work within the people who need it most, and we must partner with Him through prayer. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Blueprint of What to Expect

By now we’ve become used to the reality that when bad things happen in our pasts, they can impact our present and futures. When seeking emotional therapy and counsel, we are often asked about our relationships with our parents as well as traumas that might have occurred in our childhoods. One of the reasons for this is because children who endure abuse, neglect, and dysfunction within their homes begin to struggle as early as kindergarten. As they physically mature through adolescence and adulthood, they can become stunted emotionally, and cease to mature beyond the trauma they’ve experienced. Although many of us that have endured domestic violence and have been in abusive relationships may not link it to a childhood event, often challenges with recognizing or breaking negative patterns is a symptom of a traumatic childhood experience.

Spiritual growth through the Lord Jesus Christ requires us to shift out of a mind-and-heart-set of fear and into one of faith. The very nature of spiritual living is to believe in what we cannot see—to trust our spiritual sight more than our physical sight. Our flesh is a temporary house for our spirits and souls. It isn’t an eternal temple, and only allows us to dwell on earth for a season. We’re supposed to use life’s lessons to release our fears and cling to our faith. This is the only way to embrace our true identities. It is the only way that love will become anchored in the very core of our highest spiritual self in Christ. Then, we will be prepared for the next chapter of life in the Spirit after we leave this place.

A childhood trauma like domestic violence and abuse is a disruption in our emotional growth, and if unaddressed, it can prevent us from growing spiritually. Impressionable and vulnerable, children don’t have the necessary tools to discern the truth and make the right choices about what to believe. When a trauma occurs in their young lives, it profoundly impacts their emotions and responses to life. It can make fear, and not faith, the governing emotion of their existences.

1John 4:18(NLT) says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God’s love has no fear, and in truth, it kicks fear to the curb. This gives us a clue about how we should be handling fear; we must let God’s love into our hearts, and we also have to recognize when we’re allowing fear to run the show. Because of trauma, our minds can become stuck on trying to protect ourselves from danger and fear habitually. We don’t often realize we’re doing this, and it can do a number on adult relationships and social interactions. Of course, we all want to be loved by a quality individual, but a mind-and-heart-set of fear can keep us from recognizing exactly when a quality individual is in our midst; and furthermore, we don’t have an appropriate blueprint for what we ought to expect from him or her.

The ‘Empty Container’ Syndrome
One of the habit patterns of many victims of domestic violence is choosing partners that are not equipped for healthy relationships. When we’re stunted emotionally, in some ways we don’t mature. The radar isn’t all the way up when a rachet’ individual is lurking around, trying to run a serious manipulation game on us. We can’t tell when someone is just an empty container, so we begin to invest our hopes in them. The program running in our minds computes that they might rescue us from the fear we still haven’t addressed through the love of Christ. This person doesn’t give us nearly enough to hang our hats on, but we cast our anchors anyway. Incapable of loving us in the way we deserve, the empty container accommodates our insecurities, expands them, and then moves on to the next willing vessel.

A New Blueprint
Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) warns, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts can be magnets for people who keep us comfortable in fear, and this is why Heavenly Father tells us to stand guard—to watch what goes in our hearts and watch what comes out of them. One of the first things we must do as good ‘watchers’ is to interrupt the program of fear that is running in our hearts and minds. And we can know the extent to which this fear is imbedded by what we are willing to accept. Love doesn’t hurt us, harm us, tell us lies, play games, keep secrets, manipulate our fears, exploit our insecurities, keep us in the dark, or make us feel less than the treasure God says we are. We must reject this treatment and nip it in the bud immediately, because if crumbs is what we’ll accept, crumbs is most likely all we’ll get.

When we love ourselves enough to interrupt fear’s programming, we can change the way we think so that we wear God’s love like a second skin. In 1Corinthians 13:4-7(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us exactly what love is, how it behaves, and what we can expect from it. This passage says, “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Renewing our minds and hearts to God’s standard of love allows us to draw a fresh blueprint with new expectations. It gives us the wisdom to make sure that only a truly loving person can follow them.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“A Blueprint of What to Expect” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!

Fear and regret are a combination that can wreak havoc on our lives, especially when domestic violence and abuse is a part of our history. A biblical teacher that taught me a great deal about God’s Word would often warn, “Don’t let doubt get stuck in your craw.” She would say this because she understood that patterns are a big part of the way every human being operates, and a pattern of fear and doubt is the biggest conduit to getting stuck in life. We start learning patterns before we learn how to talk, and we carry them into every facet of our existence. Patterns of behavior impact the way we treat ourselves, the way we interact with others, and most importantly, the way we approach our relationship with God. For the most part, regrets impact our lives after we’ve matured some, but fear is a blocker right out the gate. The insidious thing about fear is that it can be stuck in your craw and you don’t even know it.

If you’ve been around people who speak openly about the domestic violence and abuse they’ve suffered, you’ll know they often speak about its vicious negative cycle. Some will say that, like a magnet, they tended to draw individuals to themselves that were wonderful in the beginning but turned out to cause them tremendous heartache and pain. After repeating this pattern of choosing a partner who abuses, many people become insecure in their judgment and decision-making. They are fearful of making a catastrophic mistake again, so they don’t trust themselves to discern between someone who loves without harm and a person who tries to manipulate love through harm.

Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) tells us, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” To keep your heart is to watch what goes in and what comes out of it. God tells us the reason we must be watchful of our own hearts. It’s because the heart is a springboard for the issues we’ll face in life. God wouldn’t tell us to be watchful of our hearts if we lacked the ability to get it done. Neither would He tell us to watch our hearts if we didn’t NEED to get it done. We are to watch our hearts so that we can recognize negative habit patterns that work against us, and then correct them. There are more people who don’t do this than those of us who do. Many people are comfortable where they are. That ol’ sneaky, manipulative, and evil devil keeps them comfy in self-sabotaging behavior, so they’ll continue to be blind to it. God commands us to wake-up and snap out of it. We accomplish this by changing the way we think, introducing new patterns, and then eradicating the stuff that ain’t working for us. It’s recognizing the stuff that ain’t working for us that ought to become our motivation to seek a better way.

When we learn that our hearts can draw something that harms, we must have that much, and even greater faith that our hearts will draw something that fulfills our purpose and keeps us continually attuned to the Father’s love. His love is no ordinary love, and through Christ He makes us complete in it. God tells us in 1John 4:18 that there’s no fear in His love, because His perfect love will demolish our fears. We begin to see this in real-time when we no longer allow the doubt and fear of making a bad choice to occupy the driver’s seat of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord! He’s the Head! He has earned and deserves all the driving privileges that come with this job.

The shift in our focus from self to Christ is a requirement for believers, and it is the best thing we can do for our lives. Going higher in him is often achieved from a vantage point of viewing all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Through those mistakes, we earned the right to declare, “Been there, done that, not doing it again!” No need for regrets. Our mistakes helped to bring us to where we are today; still living and growing, with a chance to be better and stronger than we’ve ever been. Jesus Christ is why the combination of fear and regret can be kicked to the curb. When we’re trusting his love and following his example, we can have confidence that we’re no longer who we used to be, and that the magnetic force of the love of Christ will keep us on track to God’s blessings.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Trust in the Process

A friend suffered through domestic violence and abuse during her entire childhood. Her mother took the brunt of physical abuse as she watched in horror. In shock from the trauma of witnessing these attacks, she remembers being paralyzed by the fear, of literally not being able to physically move. Today, the trauma of what she endured as a child has had tremendous impact on her adult life. She feels as if she’s constantly in fight or flight, fearing that something dreadful could happen at any moment. Her anxiety and stress levels are through the roof, and although she is taking medication, her sadness is still very heavy and the impulse to flee danger seems to be constant.

Patterns of fear can develop as a result of the childhood trauma we’ve experienced. These patterns can become firmly entrenched. They can be locked so deep in our consciousness that we don’t even recognize them. We’re constantly reacting and responding to life by the behaviors, feelings, and attitudes the patterns dictate. In a sense, the patterns of fear take the position of authority in our lives. It should come as no surprise to us that this interferes with our relationship with God. He tells us in 1John 4:18 that His love has no fear, not even a hint of it. His love is perfect, and it dispels fear—totally wipes it out! He tells us that a person that lives from a place of fear hasn’t been made complete through His love.

You and I can know from this verse in 1John 4:18 that one of the defining characteristics of God’s love is its power to make a person whole and complete. Everyone that says they believe this hasn’t manifested it. In truth, it takes a very long time for some of us to process this truth. We can’t pretend to know it, and simply saying the words “I trust in God’s love” doesn’t mean that a person really does. The reality is that this trust we have in God must be anchored in the deepest part of who we are. When it is, it will ooze from our pores. It will be infused in everything we do, and every person we influence will be affected by it. This is God’s goal for us.  

God articulates this goal through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17(NLT). Paul said, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” This truly is phenomenal, because God allows us access to knowledge regarding the way that He empowers us. He tells us that He administers strength to our cores through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Fear is a dream killer, and most of us underestimate the degree to which it robs us of vitality, enthusiasm, and the splendor of life that God intended us to have. Fear is an enemy of God, and faith in Him brings Him great joy. Our faith in God is an expression of our appreciation for who He is. It is an acknowledgement of not only His love, but our faith in Him is an acceptance of His love. And just as we can’t physically, visibly see love; we can’t see faith.  Like love, faith becomes visible through our commitment, attitude, and deeds. This is why James 2:26(NIV) states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We must back our faith with actions that demonstrate a willingness to release fear.

As we do this, it is so important for us to trust God’s process. You and I are not able to reach the places within us where fear is hiding out. We’re not able to get to the root of it so that it can be kicked to the curb. We can’t do this, but God most certainly can, and He will if we trust Him. It may not feel like the Holy Spirit is doing a work on the inside, but truly He is. Philippians 1:6(NLT) tells us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Jesus Christ has a front row seat to our pain. He’s not going to crack us open like an egg. Lovingly, he’s guiding us. Take hold of his hand and follow his lead. It may not happen overnight, but he is helping you release the fear, so that your grasp on a relationship with God is firm and built solidly on trust.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Trust in the Process” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! s

Focus on YOUR Race!

In Psalm 73:2-3(NLT), the psalmist, Asaph, said, “But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”  In this passage, we can learn two very important lessons about this race we call life. The first is the reality that we can lose our footing, and sometimes the results of doing so are catastrophic. The other important lesson is that in the time we expend looking at how someone else is running, especially with envy, we could lose the entire race. God has given us the wisdom and power to prevent this from happening. He wants us to win in life, and we should most definitely want this for ourselves.

The one thing that you and I must know is that life is indeed a race, and it is given to each of us by God to run. Some of us would like to think we’re random beings, here to do our own thing. God, in His tremendous grace and love, will allow us to think this, but in truth, the race doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to Him. He predestined us to be born at the time He appointed, and in the place He appointed. We are here for the purpose He has ordained.

It’s not lost on anyone these days that ‘winning’ in life has become kind of clichés’-ish. But this is what we humans do, we take something that is meant for pure goodness and try to put our spin on it. Again, the truth is that God has established the race, and He also defines what it means to win. To make sure you and I don’t get it twisted, in His Word, He’s given us plenty of examples of those who ran their races masterfully. The Apostle Paul reminded us of these individuals in Hebrews 12:1, when he called them a Great Cloud of Witnesses. Their races were not easy, and God never promised they would be, but these individuals won because they ran in faith. You and I must do the same.

Just like them, God tells us in Hebrews 12:2 to lay aside the things that weigh us down so we can run the race He has set before us with endurance. Endurance requires focus. Every good athlete knows this. We can’t be looking sideways and turning backwards, trying to see what the other runners are doing. There’s too much to be done, and we don’t have time to waste. We should also know there’s going to be some things that will get in our way. There will be relationships, situations, and people that aim to slow us down. Sometimes, we get caught up with a negative mindset and we, ourselves, become the biggest obstacles to our own races.

Whether it’s a goal to be healthier, have better relationships, pursue a dream, or to get out of an abusive situation, God makes it clear that the solution begins with how we decide to run the race. At the close of his life on earth, Paul said in 2Timothy 4:7(NLT), “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” Faith makes the fight a good one! This is how all of us should want to finish our course.

Hebrews 11:1(NIV) tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It is the truth we believe about the goodness of God and the empowerment He has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ, despite what our circumstances and conditions may present. We are to wear faith like a second skin. It is important to know this because one of the realities of life is that the intensity of our desire for the blessing is going to be tested. There will be opposition as we seek to attain what God wants to place in our hands. You’re going to have to fight the good fight of faith to get what you want in life. Anything worth having will require work and diligent effort to get it AND to maintain it.  

Focus on YOUR race, not someone else’s. Again, you have neither the time or luxury to waste your resources. Everything in you is necessary for your journey forward in the victory of Christ! In Jeremiah 29:11(NLT), God tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Want what God’s has for you. Understand that an attitude of faith isn’t built on a whim, but on the persistence, endurance, and longevity that commitment requires. Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that the fastest runner doesn’t always win the race. We win because we’re focused on trusting God, and we’re fully persuaded in His faithfulness to help us achieve and attain what we desire most in life.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Focus on YOUR Race!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!