Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
It's imagery brought to my attention often. I have several friends who are runners - triathletes, ironmen and women, even. One good friend just finished her first 5k race after exercising for the better part of a year, losing weight and feeling more and more assured of her ability, she signed up for a 5k race and finished it in 31 minutes with energy to spare (at least from the looks of her after picture). I have watched these friends in awe. How do they do it?
Then the other day someone I don't know very well, who really didn't even know the full story of what our family has been through in the last three or so years kind of made the connection for me. All she knew is that I have three kids, one older and a set of twins. She looked at me and said, "I'm just amazed that you do this, and you're here." I hope my face expressed my confusion as I said, "What? Do you think I should be crumbling to pieces any minute now?" I realized she was watching me with that same sense of awe...How does she do it? There's no magic here, I just do it. Nike style, I guess:
unhindered, persevering, eyes fixed
Today is perhaps not typical, but if it's not one thing it's another. Other than our recent vacation (which now seems like ancient history) the number of times in the last few years that I have sat around wondering what to do next are non-existent. There is always something to do, and usually several important things vying for my attention... Today, started off something like this:
7:00a - Wake up after sleeping poorly since 1:00a, listening to my poor little guy cough his way through a virus and then try to go back to sleep. I weigh the option of taking him in to see the pediatrician only to be told "It's just a virus...there, there...go home." Decide it's worth it to be able to sleep better tonight.
7:10a - Wake up daughter and set timer for "snuggle time". Get breakfast ready for four people - not me...realizing that IF I get to eat breakfast it will be on the go.
7:25a - Ask Daddy to take daughter to school so I can go to doctor's earlier. He hits the shower. I start packing one snack and two lunches. Remind daughter to get dressed.
7:45a - Wake up twins and get them started on breakfast. Get daughter started on breakfast. Get dressed.
8:00a - Put shoes and coats on twins - leaving them in their jammies. Remind daughter to get shoes on. Make sure backpack is packed.
8:15a - Realize I'm going to be fighting school traffic. Herd twins to minivan. Herd husband and daughter to school. Drive alternate route that turns out to be probably worse than the first idea.
8:45a - Arrive at pediatrician. Miracle occurs and the boy coughs while we are there and doctor decides he needs albuterol treatment...
9:40a - Leave pediatrician armed with drug and nebulizer, realize I have 20 minutes to get home and prep for my next appointment...
Tired yet? We're not even through the first three hours. It goes on. Chiropractic appointment for me, then voting. Lunch time, nap time, school pick up, gymnastics, dishes, dinner, make muffins, bake pumpkin, search for errant paper unsuccessfully, bedtime for kids, finally time to work on my laptop or desk...
I am not writing this to boast, or to complain. There is nothing amazing about what I do. Via the web I've met parents of children with greater needs who do more with less resources, and they don't complain either. This is just what we do when we've decided to invest our lives in our offspring. I increasingly believe it is among the holiest of callings, this parenting thing.
Unhindered - For me this means keeping my thought life away from worry, complaining, and other forms of negativity. I try for a daily dose of worship. If I let myself give in to negative thoughts I find myself unable to run the race. I'll be winded on the sidelines before I even hit the starting line.
Persevering - Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do it again, and again. This doesn't mean you don't take time to rest. I do. Then I get back up and get going again. The alternative just won't work.
Eyes fixed - This is the hard part for me. The author of Hebrews doesn't say, "eyes fixed on...your to do list, your kids, your wallet, or the people around you." Even the Biblical "cloud of witnesses," while encouraging, is not to be our focal point. The focus is Jesus. Why? Because He has already run the race and He is the best example of how to do it...unhindered, persevering, eyes fixed on the joy set before Him. The joy set before me is to hear Him say, "Well done."
That's why and how I'll keep running. Join the race!
This post is participating in the last ever Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge at Steady Mom. I'll miss the opportunity to connect with other bloggers this way. Thanks Jamie for hosting it for so long, and best wishes in your new endeavours.