For a few weeks at the start of the pandemic, we instituted neighborhood PE on the street in front of my house. We had to purchase several boxes of sidewalk chalk to mark all the lines for activities and we even drew a 1st class basketball court. Those were some great afternoons filled with excitement and kids looking forward to physical activity. Parents loved the structured activity and came out with lawn chairs to watch their children go through our 1 hour class. We have learned that kids function the best with boundaries, clear expectations, and knowing when to start and finish. Kids do not like chaos and we understand this as adults.
However, this is not how we live our lives as adults. We often make excuses about a chaotic lifestyle because we are adults and have added responsibility. We, just like kids, do not feel productive in chaos and feel we have a never ending finish line of issues. We can fail to create finish lines with work or family life. We then extend work into our home and family issues into our work time. The pandemic has also created a false sense of a stopping point to return to normalcy. People are trying to create a specific finish line in their minds. They say, “If we just get to this day, week, or point, it will finally be over.” In reality, the pandemic doesn’t give us an end and we cannot currently see the finish line. When we create timeframes we cannot control, we become disappointed, discouraged, and more doubt for the future is created. This is a perfect time for the enemy to attack your mind with hopelessness, isolation, and increased fear. We need to be able to create “Finish Lines” in our lives that allow us to align peace, focus, and a sense of accomplishment. We are called to run our specific race, to fight the good fight, and to keep the faith…
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” -2 Timothy 4:7
- Run Your Specific Race: We have been created for a specific purpose and race in life. Whoever is in your life and whatever you are doing currently is not a mistake and a part of your journey. Our days our filled with responsibility with our work, family, friends, and service. However we are only our best when we can compartmentalize our mental energy into each area. I am the world’s worst at extending work or other issues into my family life. I realize that I am at my best when I can create a “Finish Line” for work and create a new “Start Line” for my family. I should leave work at the office door and start new when I open the door to my home. We each have specific and unique races to run each day. We need to create starting and stopping points for each one. You wouldn’t use the same strategy in a 100 meter dash vs a 1600 meter race, and so it is when we try to run multiple races at one time. Create a mental finish line so you can be your best in each area.
- Fight the Good Fight: We can be so busy that we don’t really know what fight we are fighting each day. We can often feel unaccomplished and question our purpose as we expend our precious energy. We fight the good fight, one fight at a time, not all at once. Give yourself “Finish Lines” to cross and objectives that will give you a sense of accomplishment. When we do player practice evaluations, we identify the “One Thing” for each player. The one thing they did well and the one thing they can improve on through non-athletic traits. For us, what is one decision I need to make today, what is one conversation I need to have, who is one person I need to encourage, and what is the one thing that I can focus on to get better. No battle is won without a specific plan, and every race of the day needs a strategy.
- Keep the Faith: Control what you can control and let God control what you can’t. We can be better at understanding our own races and setting strategies to win daily. However, the toughest races are the ones that we start but cannot see the “Finish Line.” We tend to live on hypothetical scenarios and expect to control the results. This could be the pandemic, waiting for a new opportunity, or many other life circumstances. Mark Batterson says in his book, Play The Man, “Work as if it all depends on you, but pray as if it all depends on God.” I love Mark’s quote along with Psalm 46:10 that says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Being still doesn’t mean to procrastinate or wait for a miracle. It means to run with passion in the race God has put you in, but to have faith and let your mind be still in peace. The peace of mind that God will work all things for good.
Know that every day will have a start and finish line. We will have many different races during the day and overlapping them keeps us from being our best. Give yourself a specific daily strategy to gain a sense of accomplishment. Lastly, control what you can control and know that God will take care of the rest.