A few weeks ago I was browsing around the library after taking my daughter to story time and a book seemed to jump off the shelf at me… Move On by Vicki Courtney. The subtitle on the book said “When Mercy Meets Your Mess”, and I thought, “that is so what I need right now. Mercy in my mess.”
I did a quick glance over of the book because I decided several years ago that I was going to make sure that books I read, especially self-help/personal growth type books, lined up with my beliefs so I wouldn’t risk slowly allowing my beliefs to be compromised. Well the book seemed to be a fit so I took it home.
I really enjoyed the book. I found it to be well written and it seemed very honest and humble. I love when people aren’t afraid to write about their failures and their mess to encourage others that there is life on the other side of it and that God will meet you where you are.
At the end of the book she tells a story about a track meet she was at where one of the runners tripped over every single hurdle in his race. All the other runners had finished and people were telling him he could just stop and didn’t have to finish, but he kept going anyway. She ponders about what made this boy different and why he chose to finish the race when so many would have quit running…
“What drove him to finish when so many others would have given up? The answer is simple: some people fall down and others fall forward. Those who simply fall down make getting back up their primary goal. Their next step is yet to be determined. Finish or not finish? Play it safe and walk off the track – or forge ahead and risk another stumble? Those who fall forward, however, look at the race differently. Their primary focus is crossing the finish line. Getting back up is a given. Future stumbles are factored into the equation. They’ve accepted the truth that hurdles are an inevitable part of this race called life and that they will face struggles and heartache along the way. They don’t look around and compare themselves or their progress in the race to the other runners. They don’t look ahead to the faster ones. They don’t try to measure up to the polished ones. They don’t even envy the ones who appear to clear the hurdles with ease. Those who fall forward keep their line of vision on the finish line, not on the other runners ahead or behind them.”
So, I know that is kind of a long excerpt, but so well written. I have been so easily distracted in my life and had so many weak moments when I feel like giving up.
“How am I supposed to compete with that woman? She seems to have her whole life figured out and running smoothly?”
“I will never be able to correct my past wrongs and eliminate all of the hurt I have caused.”
“How am I already in my 30s and still trying to figure out what to do with myself?”
“Why do I keep losing my temper and yelling at the kids?”
“What’s the point of trying and putting myself out there when nothing ever seems to change?”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the mess my life has been. And, it’s so easy for me to start to look at others and compare myself and feel like I am never going to be able to accomplish all the great things that others are doing. But, then I read something like this book, and I am reminded that I am not called to run the same race that others are called to. I have been given my own set of strengths and abilities from God and if I spend so much time comparing myself and my abilities to others and their abilities I am not focused on the right thing.
When I get in those moments of feeling like it’s never going to change and I’m just not going to be able to make it, I have taken my eyes off the finish line and focused them on my current situation. If I stay focused on my mess and my present circumstances then I start to drown in it and it becomes harder and harder to focus back on the finish line. But, if I keep my eyes on Christ and the finish line I will be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and when God meets me in my mess, I can follow Him out of it!
So, how about you? Are you falling down or falling forward?