Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Never Let Up, Finish Stronger Than You Started~ April 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:57 am
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Earlier this week I attended a track meet where two of my children competed. As is often the case, an everyday life event proved itself to be an opportunity for a learning experience.

Allow me to set the scene.

Our boys team is on the track for the 1600 meter race, also known as the mile. Four repetitious laps around an oval track could drive anyone mad but three of our athletes quickly take the lead and settle in to a comfortable pace. The number two spot is held by my Peyton.  Their training takes over as they huddle together for the first three laps, competitors close behind but not close enough to make them sweat. As they enter the final 200 meters, our top distance runner pulls away in a beautiful sprint easily securing his spot as top dog. Rounding the final turn, Peyton still holds 2nd with his teammate literally on his heels. Neither one quickens their pace, content with their respective 2nd and 3rd place finishes. With their eyes rightly focused on the finish line, they fail to hear their opponents footsteps as they fall deathly silent on the rubber track. I, along with every other fan for our school, start to scream at the boys to kick it to no avail. Fourth place sails past them just before they step across the line to take 2nd. My mom and I lock eyes knowing what is coming. Even from a distance we can see the vibrant red creep up Peyton’s neck to his face as he realizes the mistake he just made.

Slowly Peyton makes his way to me, shrugging off every congratulations that is extended, exuding such obvious rage that his friends quickly retreat. I brace myself for impact while contemplating how to deal. Do I go into mommy mode and coddle him, making excuses for his faux pas or do I slip into coach mode and use this as a teaching moment? Through gritted teeth he says, “I didn’t know he was so close! I didn’t even sprint, I had plenty left!!” Very calmly, choosing my words carefully, I responded, “You should never base your performance on someone else. You give it everything you’ve got, regardless. Don’t you ever let up and always, always finish stronger than you started.”

He paced for a bit and we talked with his teammate who ended up in 4th about the importance of finishing strong and finally, he calmed down. I can safely say that they both learned their lesson.

Reflecting on that conversation, I can easily see where this lesson can be applied to other areas of life. In the workplace, whether that be in or outside of the home, in our family, our community, our church…literally in any area of our lives…we should never fall into comparing our efforts to those around us. If we would all make it our priority to do our level best at everything we do, then even if we fail by the worlds standards, we will have succeeded. It isn’t about what so-and-so does or where you measure up in the big scheme of things. Life is about knowing that you’ve laid it all out there, being the best possible version of yourself every step of the way. By moving forward in this manner, you can rest assured that you will definitely finish stronger than you started.start finish

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” (1Co 9:24-27 The Message)

 

 

~Quit Or Endure~ June 20, 2013

dont-quit“Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.  Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule…sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things…and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.”

(Hebrews 10:32-34)

God calls each of us to serve in different ways.  Even when we are walking according to His word & serving Him faithfully, there may be days when we feel like giving up; the struggle is too great & not only can you not see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can’t even find the tunnel!

So what do you do when you feel like giving up?  When you’ve been stretched to thin, your limit was reached long ago and you have nothing left to give anyone, including yourself?  The way I look at it, you have two options:

1.  Quit- This of course will be the easiest of two.  You can simply throw in the towel and walk
away with what you have left.

2. Endure- This one is going to hurt a little.  Do you know that the word endure means to suffer patiently?!  I don’t know about you, but in this feeble mind the words suffer and patiently should not be allowed to coexist.

However, loving the Lord is not our ticket to a life of ease.  We are subject to the same troubles as those who do not love Him.  The difference is we are not alone in our suffering.

“So do not throw away (your) confident trust in the Lord.  Remember the great reward it brings you!  PATIENT ENDURANCE is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.  Then you will receive all that he has promised!”

(Hebrews 10:35-36)

When you feel like quitting, just keep going.  God never gives up on you, so don’t give up on Him!  And here’s the kicker and why I will always choose option #2, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  (Matthew 24:13)

Please know that I am not trying to downplay the struggles that many of you are facing, I simply want to encourage you not to quit.  Even when it feels as if you can’t take another step, take it.  God may be working on your breakthrough right now and you don’t want to walk away just before your miracle…do you?