A shout out for the photo goes to carajune. I looked for a photo with a finish line and found this one on Flickr.com What a hoot!
Celebrating the Laps
This is what I want. Big letters. Larger-than-life Mountain Dew cans. The FINISH line. Cue screaming fans, the band and the flag-wavers in the stands.
I’m a fan of closure. I’m the woman who likes to check things off my list. I’ve even been known to add something to the list just so I could check it off.
Here’s my dream world: I come in to work and boot up my computer. The screen blinks to life and announces, “Angie, it is finished. All those various projects your team has been working so hard on? All the loose ends are tied up. The Staff Web has reached completion. The Campus Crusade missionaries now have the best of everything your team can give them. Their lives will be easier because you’ve put valuable tools and help at their fingertips. Nicely done.”
But in reality I turn on my computer and it painfully reminds me of the 82 tasks on my list. (The problem with being an idea person is that there’s never any lack of ideas!)
I wonder if you crave that finish line, too. Whether you’re single or married, with kids at home or not, working or retired, that finish line calls us. It beckons us to believe that we’ll be happy or relieved when we reach it.
But I’m learning a new lesson: to celebrate the laps. This came about on our team one day when we had the ah-ha that our job (in communications with our 5,000 U.S. missionaries) was never going to be over. There wasn’t a finish line. So we decided we’d intentionally rejoice when we completed a “lap” of the race.
What a great parallel to my spiritual life, too. So often I take inventory and my heart cascades with the realization of how far I still have to run.
Then Jesus encourages me with a reminder that I’m not who I was when I began on this asphalt. No, I haven’t arrived at the finish line, but I look more like Jesus than when the gun first fired. That’s something to celebrate—God’s work in my life! It’s my job to run with perseverance the race marked out for me (Hebrews 12:1). It’s His job to provide the strength to do that.
If it was only about the finish line, we’d immediately be ushered into Heaven the moment we place our faith in Christ. But it’s not.
It’s about the laps we run in between. I want to run with a joyful heart, enduring the runner’s cramps, enjoying the view and looking out for opportunities God brings across my path as I tread.