Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
If you have read any of my writings you know that I picture life as a journey. I believe we all are on a journey through life, a path that has been laid out by God for us. I also like to picture life as a race, more like a marathon, a journey in which you are working to beat your personal best time. While I have never run a marathon, I find them very interesting. From what I have seen, they can take you down many different paths and across various types of terrain. It seems to me that a marathon would be taxing yet rewarding in the end. I imagine competing in a marathon is something that is not easily accomplished nor quickly forgotten.
Life is quite the same. There are hills and valleys. There are moments you feel as if you could conquer the world. Yet, at other times you feel overcome by fatigue. You may begin your journey running with a crowd, and then later find yourself running alone. Each of these is a part of the journey we must face.
From what I understand about marathons, each has its own route as well. There is a particular path laid out for the runners. God’s will for our lives is much the same. He has given us a path He knows is best for us. While I believe that God allows us room to move inside of His will, we must also be careful not to lose sight of our calling and step outside of that will. The enemy would like nothing more than to see us take a dangerous detour, become distracted, and possibly get off course.
A couple of years ago I found myself in that exact place. I had gone from enthusiastically running my marathon of life to distracted from my journey and wandering. It did not take me long to realize that I was no longer enjoying my journey. I was indeed lost in the desert. However, God had not given up on me! Today, I would like to share with you how I found the joy in my journey again.
One of the first posts I wrote was entitled Enjoy the Journey. It was about my calling to ministry through writing. I was excited to begin a new phase in my life. I felt honored that God would use me to encourage others. I also looked forward to the challenge of starting something new. I was on the mountain with the wind at my back. I felt unstoppable. After a while, however, I began to get tired. The winds changed and I felt as if I was fighting with every step. I allowed the enemy to distract me. I took my eyes off of the ultimate goal which was honoring God and I began to focus on other things. I noticed I was not moving as quickly as those around me. I was struggling more than some. I felt I was falling behind and I became discontent with my own progress. Giving way to these feelings I began to push myself even harder to keep up. Eventually I lost sight of the finish line and found myself ready to quit. You see, I had lost the joy in my own journey. The very thing I had encouraged others to do, I had failed to accomplish myself. Where once I felt excited and prepared for the journey, now I was tired and discouraged. I had somehow wandered off the path God had laid before me and I had run into the desert.
I have spent the past two years on a detour from my writing journey. I must admit it has been neither easy nor much fun. You see, Friend, there truly is joy in the journey to which God calls you. It may not always be easy, but there is comfort in knowing that we are where God wants us to be. There is joy in knowing that we are honoring God with our lives. Outside of that assurance is a dark, hopeless place. It has taken me quite a long time and many tears to get back to the place I feel God would have me. Praise God, His grace and mercy have been sufficient in my times of need! Jesus’ forgiveness has been a gift when I realized I needed it. Through prayer and God’s guidance I feel that I have found the joy in my journey once again. I believe that I am fulfilling my calling by ministering with my words.
I want to end today with a few words of encouragement. No matter what it is that God has called you to do, find joy in it. If you are a mom who spends all day changing diapers and wiping noses, find joy in it. If you are a janitor who spends his time cleaning up after others, find joy in your calling. If you are the manager of your business, enjoy the role to which God has called you. Whatever your calling may be, I encourage you to embrace it. Whatever journey God has called you to, find the joy in it. If you find yourself lacking the joy that you once had, let me encourage you to pray about it. Maybe you have veered off course. Maybe you are in the desert just as I described. God still cares. He is right here waiting for you to come back to Him. He wants nothing more than to restore the joy that comes from serving Him. Wherever it is that you find yourself today, Friend, enjoy the journey.