Part 1: Longing
Part 2: Calling
Children are amazing. My children have given me a purpose and calling in life that far outweighs any other goal I have created for myself. It feels natural to stop talking about myself, to stop taking care of myself, and to live vicariously through them. Those are unsustainable habits, because my identity is not tied to them.
My children have eternal souls, just as I have an eternal soul. My job as "caretaker" of them is extremely temporary. Some days, mothering feels like a never-ending cycle of feedings, cleanings, and laundry. But, I have already felt the incremental process of letting go in mothering: the last nursing, the first steps, the first time sleeping in a big bed, the last diaper, the first sleep over. I can already feel the stretching of my heart and faith thinking about the plethora of firsts and lasts to come: the first day of school, first time driving, the last day of school, the first date, and the day we give him/her away in marriage. Parenting is not ownership, but a relationship.
I still have to know who I am, even if my children do not live with me anymore. I am changed by them but not defined by them. I do not fit into my previous molds. I feel as though I am at a decision point in my life. Again.
Who am I now? I am longed for. I am called. I should run. God calls us to run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). What is that supposed to look like?
Running requires purpose: an eternal prize. Focus on eternal things, not material things.
1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (NIV) I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.The Need for Self-Discipline 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Running requires you to go straight. Nothing matters except faith expressed in love. This race is not a maze. Galatians 5:6-8 (NIV) 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
You CANNOT run with baggage entangling you. These are those days when you can't stop thinking about a hurting friend, the days when you watch your child struggle, the days when the money does not add up to enough and you are coveting what someone else has. Hebrews 12:1 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,
If you keep your eyes on Jesus while you run, you won't get tired.
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
All of my questioning, observing, and configuring of my own emotions isn't who I am anyways. Who am I now? I am a runner. So are my kids. So are you. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Enjoy your run today!
- Don't forget the prize.
- Go straight.
- Drop your bags.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus.
God Longs for me, he calls me, he asks me to run.
(Photo Credit: Sura Nualpradid)