A few years ago, I had a goal to participate in five 5K races within the year. I was not a person who ran races on a regular basis. To be honest, I was slow, and I wasn’t very good at competitive running. However, I found running to be a means of physical exercise, stress relief, and it allowed plenty of time to think. I signed up to run a race where the course went through a college campus. I found the course to be difficult as the campus had several large hills that made running seem like I was climbing a mountain at times. As I struggled to reach the 1.5 mile marker, I observed many runners pass me. After each runner passed me, I constantly slowed my pace to turn, look behind me, and determine how close the remaining runners were to me. Thoughts came to my mind of the last race I participated in where it rained the whole time and I was one of the last runners to finish. Before the runners passed me, I wasn’t focused on what was behind me and I wasn’t thinking about how poorly I performed in prior races. As I continued to run, I was reminded of Phillipians 3:13-14. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” (NLT) In order to reach my personal record time, I couldn’t focus on what happened in the past, how hard the race course was, who passed me, or who was in front of me. I had to run my race. Running my race meant looking ahead, pacing myself, and focusing on what was in front of me…..the finish line.
God is trying to do a new thing for us. “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT) When we constantly turn around to focus on what is behind us, we don’t allow God to do the new thing for us. As long as I was running and slowing down to focus on what was behind me, I was hindering my progress. I immediately began to run better when I focused forward.
By focusing forward, I was able to achieve a new thing by placing 3rd place in my age bracket. Prior to this race, I never placed well in a race before. When we let go of the past and focus forward, God will do a new thing in our life. Even if what was behind you was good, focus forward and allow God to do an even better thing in your life.