A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
A few weeks ago, I joined the gym close to where I now live. A friend of mine talked me into it and I am more than glad she did.
Some mornings I wake up before my alarm goes off and get out of bed with great enthusiasm. On other mornings, I am tempted to hit the snooze button. Repeatedly. But I don’t. In fact, I can’t, because my friend will be outside to fetch me within minutes. There have been a few days when I have taken a sick day because I needed to but for the most part, I have been there five days a week from the beginning. Our goal is not necessarily to become gym enthusiasts, only consistent gym goers. Some days we push ourselves hard. On other days, we simply show up for gentle exercise. Our motto? Just “Stay in the Race”.
All this time at the gym got me to thinking about other areas in my life where perhaps I have not “showed up” as I should, at least not consistently, for whatever reason. Sometimes, “pulling back” is the wise choice, for example in a difficult relationship or for health considerations or even for sound financial reasons. But that is not what I am referring to here.
When I look back at my life, I can certainly recall times when I did not give my all and instead found it easier to let something go because it was not convenient to continue or the challenges seemed insurmountable or the sacrifice required too great … but it was always a choice in that moment either to “push forward” or to “pull back”. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like we have a choice in a particular situation, but we do. We always do. It may not be an easy or a comfortable or perfect choice … it may even be a complicated one, but it is a choice nevertheless.
I am reminded of what Paul said in Hebrews 12: 1-2: … let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith …
How can I not be encouraged by the fact that in all of life, Jesus (the friend that sticks closer than a brother) walks alongside me, encouraging me (and also holding me accountable) to finish the race that He has set before me, and to run it in such a way that I do not “pull back” from fear, intimidation, a lack of confidence or for any other reason but that I continue to stay in the race and press forward to experience all that He has planned for me?
Yet when I look a little more closely, I find so much more than encouragement in this verse. I have hope for change. Perseverance to keep going when I feel like stopping. Strength to accomplish what I need to in both the short and the long term.
I hope that this is an encouragement to you also.