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Don't Look Back

Dear Friend,

I ran track in high school. It’s by far one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done. I had two coaches; both trained athletes at the collegiate level and one at the the Olympic level. To say they had high standards would be an understatement. Although training was arduous, we couldn’t complain as they both led our small, private, all girls school to many state championships.

My events were the 100, 200, and hurdles. One wouldn’t guess at first, at least I didn’t, but there’s much technique in running. There were many rules and forms I had to learn. There is one rule that remained the same no matter what event you ran, “don’t look back.” Even for relays coach taught us how to never look back for that baton. Looking back shed seconds off our time. He used to say, “There’s nothing for you back there, it’s only going to slow you down.” Our focus was on the race before us. Of course he didn’t just tell us, he showed us. We watched footage after footage of athletes looking back to see where there opponents were, and how in doing this their pace’s lessened even if for a milli-second. If you’re familiar with the sport you know that every milli-second is counts.

I think there’s value in that lesson, “Don’t look back.” It is so easy to get preoccupied with the race our peers are running and to be distracted by our past. In order to make that (our past or the someone else’s business) our focus, even for just a few seconds, it requires that we stop focusing on our own race. It is impossible to do both at the same time; focus on the race of others and our own. Therefore, we essentially find ourselves wasting time.

Now there is value in constructive growth; looking at the past to learn and grow forth to the future (similar to watching old film in sports). Yet, if I’m going to look at all the time I’ve spent on the past or others, I would not be honest in saying that all of this time was spent productively growing. Often this time is spent anxiously comparing, complaining, and/or compromising (you know feeling guilty for where I’m going or how far I’ve come so I change behavior in order to make others comfortable). Time spent doing any of those things and more is time spent waisted. How can I move forward in my race if I’m constantly looking back?

I’m reminded of Lot’s wife; she experienced, in a very literal sense, a grave consequence for looking back.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

“I mean she just wanted to see what was happening. That was her home. Those were her friends. Surely that’s reasonable right?” That’s how I justify wasting my time. She had one job: Escape and DONT LOOK BACK.

In this season of change and transformation looking back has been a difficult habit for me to break. Friends’ careers are advancing, marriages and families growing, ministries are thriving...

I have found myself, sometimes for days, looking back and around me; anxiously comparing, complaining, and/or compromising. I’m sure God is pretty fed up with me.

Friends what would it look like to focus on our race. I mean really focus on it? To run as hard and as fast as we could? To train, and train, and train; comparing our “numbers” and “stats” only to the person you were yesterday? To take the critique and advice given to us and applying it directly to our technique. What kind of athlete...Christian...would you be?

There’s a thread amongst athletes where one gives reasons why they workout/train. It’s common to give an outrageously large number to represent that there are many reasons. To entertain this trend here is mine: #1 why I do this (focusing on the race God has given me), I’m doing it for me.

I’m raising the bar this week. I’m training harder and running my race. As always friends, continue to pray for me on this journey. It’s not easy.

Abundantly with love,

The Anonymous Wife

Hebrews 12:1-3

“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, 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Check out today's Coffee and Conversaitons: Do Patience

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