This summer, my three sons joined the Coral Springs summer recreational swim team. My two older sons swam on the team last year as well, but it was the first year for my youngest son.
At first they hated it.
“Why do we have to do this?” they asked. “It’s too hard,” they added. “I’m so tired.”
(I must admit that I do the same thing when my wife tries to get me to exercise.)
I would probably cry too if I wasn’t used to swimming hard for more than an hour three times a week.
But it’s our responsibility as parents to make kids do things just to torture them, am I right?
In the beginning, they didn’t trust me when I told them to give it a few weeks and they would love it.
Although they are really good swimmers, they have a tendency to lose focus, because it’s so easy for them. After a few weeks, they got back in their groove, and the complaining stopped. Of course, they started enjoying it.
My older son was at the top of his age group, and he never really had to try too hard to stay ahead. Even though he thought he had it easy, he began looking around to see if any of the other boys were catching up with him. As any athlete knows, if you look to the side during a race, you lose time, and even seconds could cost you the trophy.
But my son was distracted by the kids around him, always looking to see where the others were and where he stood in the race.
While my older sons were gliding through the summer, my youngest stayed focused. He was taking the swim team very seriously. His brothers have a few years on him, but that doesn’t keep him from attempting to do everything they do.
He was focused and attentive toward his coach. He even told us he was nervous.
During a swim meet he swam straight as an arrow. His eyes were focused on the wall in front of him, and he was serious.
Don’t we all struggle staying focused in life? I know I do at times. There are so many things that distract us and push us off course. If we were to keep our eyes on God and not waver, I know our race would be straighter, swifter and more effective.
The world is always trying to get us to lose focus and distract us. The problem is we all know we need to focus, but we usually have a hard time doing it. I know I do. I can testify that there is always something more fun that I would rather be doing.
For most of us, we know what we have to do each day. And we have spouses, bosses, friends and peers to help us stay on track.
I challenge you to get your guidance from God. Stay focused on him no matter what your life’s race is like.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” as Hebrews 12:2 tells us.
He is the one who knows what He called us to do, where we stand in the race and where the finish line is located.
And don’t get caught up looking to the side to see where everyone else is at in their race. It won’t help you run your race with perseverance, and it definitely won’t help you reach the finish line.