Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live.
The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1b (NIV), "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."
Part of what that means is to keep going, even in the midst of the difficulties in life. Hard times happen to us all, but it's how we handle them that matters most. And when the time comes, I want to be able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).
The following strategies have helped me to win life's race every day:
1. Keep moving. Much of life is just ordinary, everyday living; yet it seems its often comprised of difficult situations— from little annoyances to serious burdens.
I once kept a record of the difficulties that happened to me over a period of time. They were things like a back injury, leaving some luggage on a plane and a water leak in my humidifier. I hurt my arm doing stretches for my injured back, twisted my wrist, spilled a red drink on a white couch and even lost my pants at a spa! Some were small irritations; others were more serious.
But what I learned from this experience was simple: Stuff may happen in life, but we don't have to let it keep us from fulfilling our purpose of serving God with our whole heart. It's a waste of time getting upset over petty things. And at the very least, if you don't know what to do in a situation, just do the right next thing for you and keep moving forward.
One way to keep going when difficult times come is to get your mind off yourself and your concerns and help someone else. The truth is, we are happier and more content when we're helping others than when we're only focusing on ourselves.
Refuse to get stuck in an attitude of self-pity, selfishness or self-centeredness. We all have problems, but our problems don't have to have us! Our victory will come as we remain determined to just keep moving, doing what God puts on our heart to do.
2. Rest. One major part of running your race is learning to rest. Now, that may sound like an oxymoron, but here's what I mean: Resting isn't about doing nothing; it's about being in a place of peace and complete trust in God. From a position of rest, we can do whatever we need to do because our faith is not in ourselves but in the one who gives us the strength and ability to do it.
God did the work of creation in six days, and on the seventh day, He rested from His work. Jesus died for our sins and then sat down at the right hand of God—a place of rest from His work.
In the Old Testament, maintaining a covenant relationship with God was all about work. The high priest went into the holy place to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people. There was no place to sit in the holy place because he was there to work. But when Jesus came, His sacrifice paid it all so He sat down because His work was finished.
Learning to rest may be one of the most important things we ever do. A lot of times, people get stressed out about their circumstances, but really it's not the circumstances that cause their stress; it's the way they handle them.
Resting in God is like a vacation for your soul. In rest, you are not concerned with what others think of you or how everything is going to work out as you fulfill God's will for your life because your faith is in Christ. You can be steadfast in the midst of trials because you know that God is in control and He will see you through anything you face. When you work from a place of rest, you do what you need in peace, having complete faith in God's grace to help you accomplish the task before you.
3. Run. Everyone has a race to run, a goal to accomplish, a life to live, and we all have to start somewhere. My encouragement to you is to start from a place of rest. Learn how to trust the Holy Spirit's leading.
He will guide you and help you when it's time to sit, to stand, to walk and to run your race to win!
For more on this topic, order Joyce's four-teaching CD series Sit, Stand, Walk, Run. You can also contact us to receive our free magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, by calling 800-727-9673 or visiting www.joycemeyer.org.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times' bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Your Battles Belong to the Lord (FaithWords). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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