Finish Your Race with Joy

These last couple of weeks have been wearying for me. Not for any particular reason, just the responsibilities of life can be overwhelming at times. One can only sprint for so long before needing a moment to catch their breath.

I read Acts 20:24 this morning and it brought strength and conviction to me:

 “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Lord willing, I am nowhere near finishing the race, but these thoughts came to mind: 

Finish- The importance of starting is one thing, but how we finish is equally important. Make sure to set a stride in life that you can maintain. Keep breathing, take water breaks, but don’t give up. We may fall & scrape our knees, but let’s be determined to FINISH. 

My race-  If I am honest, this is probably my greatest area of weakness. It is so tempting to watch others in their races and get jealous or compare or question what God has set before me. I need to finish my race. Stay in my lane. Do what I can, make mistakes, learn and grow, and run with those who encourage and push me to be the best version of myself (not try to be someone else). This course is about us running toward Christ and all the while being made into His image. 

With JOY- Oh, how easy it is to lose joy in the mundanity of life. My favorite runners to watch are those whose default facial expression is smiling. Sweat dripping and strained muscles, but through it all they are just grateful to be running. The race isn’t any different, only their attitudes are. Along the way, let’s commit to having fun and enjoying life. 

Routines

I am a woman of routine. I have habits that map out most of my days- choosing the week's outfits, making my bed, grocery shopping, entering the first five minutes of work, and enjoying family dinners. I love implementing new regularly scheduled activities to help keep me moving forward as well as keep me grounded when my day goes awry.

Routines bring me comfort in a world of chaos. When my dad died, I grabbed hold of a daily routine that helped my mom and me through each day. 

After 9 years of marriage, I have learned that my husband is not one for routines. They hinder his creativity and spontaneity. He prefers to do things as they are needed or whenever he notices. He doesn't have a set time to take out the trash or a specific day to pay the bills (as long as they're not late). He eats lunch when he is hungry or is finished a project (which may be 2pm). 

I have come to understand that routines have the potential to be both beneficial and suffocating. They can prioritize the most important things about your day or keep you from experiencing something extraordinary. They bring consistency, predicability, and stability, but may keep me too set in my ways, irritable of interruptions, and caught off guard by changes. 

Jesus, in his amazingness, is both a man of routine and anything but routine. The Word calls Him one who never changes and the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet in the same pages, God speaks of His unpredictable healing process, His patience in every interruption, and his unexpected responses to questions. 

In all things, our aim is to be more like Christ. So today, if you find yourself to be a person of routine, I challenge you to change it up and do something spontaneous. Respond differently than your natural tendency. Consider each interruption as an opportunity to see God use you. On the other hand, if your lean is toward spontaneity, maybe consider setting a new routine in place that will help bring consistency and organization. 

Your Turn: Routines- do you love them or resist them? 

One Thing at at Time

God has been revealing to me how important it is to slow down and be present in the moment. In this season of Advent, (check out this amazing book), I am challenged to wait on, pause for, kneel before, and stop to adore my Savior.  

As assistants, we are skilled in multi-tasking, completing projects while taking notes in meetings and getting out emails. But if we aren’t careful, multi-tasking becomes a way of life and we can lose focus on what’s before us. We have to avoid letting multi-tasking bleed into our being.(Sidenote- As I end 2017, it is so amazing to see God bring my attention back to what he has been trying to teach me all year on how to focus, have fun and build my faith).

Here are some examples:

-       Texting/drinking coffee/putting on makeup/eating breakfast while driving

-       Thinking about a previous conversation or pressing task while talking with someone

-       Writing cards while watching TV

-       Doing work while playing with my kids

It is hard to even write these down because in my head I think “none of these are really that bad and it helps me to get more done in my day”. But research shows (and my father in law sends me the articles to prove it) that multitasking is bad for your brain and your life. We will have difficulty doing the task in front of us with excellence; our body and minds have to be in sync. So in this sacred season I am going to work on (breaking this habit will be hard) doing one thing at a time. I may not DO as much, but what I get done will be done WELL.