Our boys have enjoyed participating in elementary track through a program at our local YMCA. We geared up for their first track meet on an unusually cold, May morning. They ran the 50 meter, 100 meter and 150 meter dashes with gusto and enthusiasm – so much so that one of them about lost his shoe and another about lost his pants! They placed with several ribbons and enjoyed the cheering from the fam.
It was good to watch their first meet and learn how we could help coach them to greater success. Their competitiveness and speed took them far, but we knew with a bit of tweaking they could do even more.
David talked to them for a while about some things they did that slowed them down. Like all kindergarten and 1st grade boys, their main tendency while running was to keep looking at the other runners. They were EXTREMELY focused on their buddies running beside, in front and behind them. They couldn’t keep their eyes off their competition! David reinforced all week that they probably could have won most of their races if they had kept their eyes on the finish line the whole time and not on their other surroundings. We went over and over and over this concept.
The time came for their next meet. As we were pulling into the high-school, David reiterated the main concepts they needed to remember: don’t look at anyone around them, only focus on the finish line, run hard and NO smack-talking with the other runners! (Little guys can really dish out the smack talk, if you haven’t noticed!)
The kindergarteners lined up for their first meet. Our son was beside his best buddy and biggest competition. They started the 80 meter race. As we stood and watched, we saw our little 6 year old run with a fierceness and purpose and intensity that we had never seen before! While most of the other kids were looking around, watching the other runners, looking up in the stands…he ran single-focused through that finish line. He gave it all he had and crossed the finish line in first place with several seconds to spare. He won the next race and the next.
He won because he changed his focus.
I have looked at this picture over and over this week. It speaks to me in powerful ways. In this image, I see determination. Fight. Focus. Power. Swiftness. Courage. Intensity. All those characteristics caused him to win…and it makes me wonder if I’m running with the same intensity as my six year old son runs?
If I’m really honest, I’ll admit that I spend the majority of my life looking at everything else around me instead of the goal or the prize. I’m so distracted and busy. My eyes easily wander to comparison and envy. I slow down or give up because it’s just too hard and my feet don’t want to go anymore.
But I don’t want to wander through life with mediocrity. I want to run with purpose, vision and intensity. I want to focus on the end goal and not on my long list of:
- the good instead of the best
- darkness all around us
Hebrews 11:1 echoes this truth, “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, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
That’s it! We all have a race to run and a prize to win. I want to run well. I want to live life “to the full” and know that I ran with courage, focus and intensity. I want to accomplish great things! So it’s time to follow my son’s example, shift my eyes away from everything that hinders and just run.