“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” I Corinthians 9:24
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15: 57
Our weekly Christian devotional
I’m stuck waiting for my husband at the local electronics store. All the television screens are set to the Olympics gymnastics. Ugh. For me, watching this is akin to torture.
I know this is going to sound very ‘Un-American’ of me, but I’m not a fan of sports. Perhaps my own athletic shortcomings might have something to do with it…
But, seriously, I wasn’t always like this! In fact, before recognizing my obvious lack of talent, I actually remember a time when Nadia Comaneci was my greatest inspiration.
How could I forget that fire of inspiration in my belly after seeing a moving documentary about her life? As the credits rolled, I fantasized about being just like Nadia. That night I tried going to sleep with heady Olympic dreams dancing in my head.
“I’m tiny! I’m a brunette! I’m half-European! All those factors had to count for something…”
Early the next morning, I leaped out of bed begging my mom to enroll me in a gymnastics class. After persisting for three days, my weary mother finally relented.
That first day of class my stomach swirled with Cheerios and anticipation. Timidly peeking my head into the large gymnasium, the coach’s commanding instructions echoed off the high ceilings, their voices strangely muffled.
I couldn’t believe I was finally here.
Electricity was in the air. The odor of the rubber mats and the itch of my new leotard made me feel as if anything was possible…
Fast-forward forty-five minutes–The day that started with so much optimism began to have the markings of a personal nightmare.
My little brain ached as I tried to remember to all the instructions. “Hold in your stomach, tuck those hips, flex your toes, look up and smile…”
When coach dismissed class, I never felt so relieved in all my life! Scalding tears peppered the carpet as my shaky fingers fumbled to tie my shoes.
My mother quietly waited for me by the entrance. As soon as I approached her, she tucked my body close. Her warm hug shielded my shame. In silence, we headed towards our rusty station wagon.
I couldn’t bring myself to speak. It took every fiber of my being just to fight back the volcanic tears that were on the verge of erupting.
“I can’t go back! I hate it!” I finally wailed, pushing my runny nose into the elbow of my coat.
True to her multi-tasking ways, mom rubbed my back, continued driving and handed me Burger King napkins for my nose. When there weren’t any tears left, she pulled our wagon into an empty lot.
“Honey, I know it’s not easy trying new things. You don’t have to be perfect—you’ve just got to keep trying. Your father worked very hard to earn the money so you could do this.”
At that moment, I knew I wasn’t just letting myself down. By giving up, I was letting my parents down as well.
A torturous mixture of love and guilt propelled my awkward and reluctant body to return to class.
Besides my total lack of coordination, I was extremely insecure about not knowing the first thing about the sport. Unfortunately, I was much too shy and far too proud to ask for help. This only made the second class even worse than the first. Soon, I discovered that gymnastics were the equivalent of public humiliation and torture for me.
Looking back, it’s easy to see that those deep insecurities quickly consumed my fire of interest in the sport. After seeing my heart was no longer invested in the dream, my mother eventually cut her losses short.
Today, because of my tiny stature and athletic build people often ask if I was a gymnast when I was younger. Those comments used to hit a raw nerve, reminding me that I never stuck with the sport long enough to find out what could have been…
Thankfully, my husband is perfectly grounded in reality. John assures me that there is no ‘could have been’.
“Athletes have one thing in common. Coordination.”
Ouch. The truth may hurt, but the truth is the truth!
I’ve got some wonderful news for those of you dealing with discouragement. The truth of God’s word reveals that God doesn’t operate like this world. In this world, those who are gifted in athletics, talent or beauty seem to be on a different plane than the average person.
But, God totally levels that playing field. Thankfully, He doesn’t go by looks, accomplishments or social status. God measures every man by his heart.
In the verses above, we are reminded that every Believer is in the race of life. To be victorious, we only need to join our hearts and efforts with the one who has the power to make all things possible.
This world is moving quickly. Thankfully, that isn’t what this race is about.
God has personal goals and dreams for you. Are you grabbing a hold of those eternal dreams? Or are you distracted by honors that will only corrode and will eventually be forgotten?
We only get once chance at this race called life. Don’t give up on the dreams God has for you. The only ones who loose are the ones who quit.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Forgive me for my wrong attitude. I’ve taken perfectionism and used it as a tool for my own demise.
In this wrong way of thinking, I have stopped myself from starting projects you have put on my heart. In my impatience, I have only halted my own progress.
Lord, this is the exact opposite of making you Lord of my life. It is putting myself as the ruler of my life.
My heart is so twisted. I have even convinced myself that apathy is better than failure. But, failure in your eyes is disobedience. Failure in your eyes is not trying. The only person I have failed is you, Lord.
Today, I ask for the strength to simply obey you.
Put your dreams on my heart. Push out anything that will take me off the winner’s path.
I only want to be successful in your eyes. Show me what this means, Lord.
In Jesus’ name, thank you for being the light on this path and my banner of victory, Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: I Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14,1 Corinthians 15: 57
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan