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Ann Farabee column — The race

By Ann Farabee

For one who loves to watch sports as much as I do, it would stand to reason that at some point I had some athleticism. Not.

I was not a fan of my required PE classes, and my best athletic skill was getting in the back of the line, hoping the class period would end before it was my turn. But — those classes have brought about the writing of three columns — rope climbing, swimming, and now — running.

My college PE teacher kept reminding us with a smile, “You have to run … a mile. And, it has to be done within the time limit.”

She seemed quite happy about it. I had no interest. I had no skill.

The day arrived. It was called a run, but we all knew it was a race. I refused to come in last place. As I ran, all I could see was the backs of my classmates. All I could feel and hear was me, struggling to keep up and catch my breath.

But I kept running. I finished my race.

There was even a handful of students who finished behind me.

If only I had embraced it — and allowed there to be joy while in the midst of the race.

If only I had run patiently, instead of frantically comparing myself to those around me.

If only I had not carried the weight of the expectation of failure along with me.

If only I had kept looking ahead and kept my eyes focused on the goal.

If only I had not been fearful of failure, and trusted the race set before me.

If only I had accepted instruction, and prepared for my race.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

My race. Your race. We run it daily.

We are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses. They surround us and encircle us, helping us know we are not alone. They are witnesses on earth and also are cheering us on from the bleachers of heaven.

We lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us. Besets means assailed or harassed on all sides, hemmed in, or troubled persistently. Running our race while trying to drag our hindrances and sins alongside us is foolish. We must lay it aside. We have been carrying it long enough.

We must run with patience. Philippians 3:14 tells us to press toward the mark. We must keep going while looking forward — one step at a time.

We must run the race that is set before us. It is our personal race — the race God has for each of us. No one can run our race for us. It is our race to run.

We must keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Author can be defined as creator, and finisher can mean one who reaches the end of the race. The finisher of our faith — Jesus — finishes the race with us.

Lord, help us to always look to you — the author and finisher of our faith. Thank you for the assurance that as we run our earthly race, You are running alongside us, and when it gets too hard, You carry us. Thank you, Lord, that in order to win this race, we do not even have to be athletic. Thank you for the promise that one day, we will arrive in the winners circle — our eternal home. Amen.

Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at  annfarabee@gmail.com or annfarabee.com.

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