Hebrews 12:1 MSG Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I’m a natural born cheerleader. When I see people contending for a goal ~~ pushing hard to their limits ~~ I stand in sheer admiration for their internal perseverance.
As my own children were experimenting with various sports activities, I was “mom” in the bleachers ~~ the loud one in the crowd. I had learned in high school “how to project” my voice from the diaphragm in an effort to spare my vocal cords. So even while on the cheer leading squad in high school ~~ in the absence of a mega phone (if you’re too young to know what this is, ask your mom) or microphone, I could bellow far and wide. They nicknamed me “Vavoom” (ask your mom about Felix the cat’s buddy).
Yes, I could be relied upon to cheer on my favorite athletes, my children and their teammates. From Tae Kwon Do, to basketball, to track and field. When my daughter participated in soccer, my boys were not yet walking. I would load up their tandem stroller on Saturday mornings and literally run alongside the soccer field hollering my daughter’s name while pushing that weighted stroller. It was enormous fun for my littlest ones; and it built confidence in my daughter knowing mama believed in her.
When my youngest one chose track and field as “his sport of choice” in middle and high school, I found myself packing up again for events; only this time it was the large wheeled cooler and several layers of clothing. And of course, my voice.
I not only hollered out my son’s name for every event he participated in (and as a sprinter there were SEVERAL), I called out the names of all his teammates for the relay races ~~ yes, each time that baton was passed, I bellowed a child’s name for all the world to hear. It was a privilege ~~ not all parents were able to attend these events, so I felt responsible for “filling in the gaps” for the absentee parents. I wanted EVERY child to feel encouraged ~~ because I knew they would try even harder knowing that someone was believing in them.
For six and one half years, both of my sons were involved in Tae Kwon Do. This, like all sports, required strict discipline. You excelled individually but grew as a Team. There were tense moments during “belt testing” times (these were ranking exams) ~~ and I think I was more worked up and worried than they were. Seriously, I would “stop breathing” when that single “kiap!” would break the silence in the room. I refused to make eye contact with them for fear of breaking their concentration. We are talking intense. During contact sparring, I had to “contain myself,” sometimes standing to the rear of the crowded room to prevent accidentally blurting their names out loud.
I can only imagine what the prophets of old ~~ the pioneers of our faith ~~ are doing while gazing upon our earthly activities. I have visions of them jumping up and down as I did for my kids ~~ possibly screaming out my name when I was ready to give up ~~ “you CAN do this!”
Girlfriend, I call YOU out this day! Drop down whatever “weight” that holds you back ~~ relationships that have gone sour, memories of sins from the past, poor decisions made yesterday ~~ forge ahead! Erroneous labels of inadequacies, self-condemnation from insecurities ~~ drop them all ~~ and let’s run this race.
I love how the Message translation speaks of “no spiritual fat.” Just keep it lean and clean is my motto. Don’t add burdens to your load. And when we “forget” or get side-tracked, get back to training in the Word for our strength to see the examples already lived out by our Savior. Jesus went the Journey. He proved it is possible.
It’s never too late to get back in there ~~ I pray that you will brush the dust off and train long and hard ~~ God says it will be all worthwhile.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~