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As I watched from the sidelines I could almost see the intensity, the adrenaline, the purpose in their faces. I’d seen it before many times, I’d lived it as well, the anticipation of the gun or whistle right before the start of an event.

This is a little different perspective for me standing in the spectator section, not on the sidelines. Another start to another game, watching the younger people practicing and learning how to conduct themselves in life, with passion and perseverance.

I wonder if they’ll remember things I shared with them during our time together in years past.

The interesting part of a sporting event is how it parallels our lives. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul reflects on his life as a sporting event. A race.

I think it’s easy to apply that same analogy to all of our lives. When I was younger I thought of that race as a sprint and I ran it to win at all costs. The unfortunate part of our world is that’s how most people see life, as a sprint, but a sprint with an improper perspective.

The world measures success in the race called life by what we have on the outside, real success can only be measured on the inside. There’s nothing wrong with earned material things to enjoy in this life, but if that’s what is counted to determine a winner, the person counting does not understand the language and they will find themselves cast into the loser’s circle.

A couple of weeks ago our youngest told me she didn’t really like track and wanted to quit. Thank God I’m not in the early part of my race or the guidance given could have probably been damaging.

I asked her, “How come Bern”? (another nickname) She quietly answered, “I don’t know….I’m not really that good at running.” That tore a little piece from my heart, I knew it wasn’t easy to say or admit in complete honesty. In truth, she’s actually pretty fast but she has to realize and believe it to have any success with it.

“You know it’s not really about just winning, you need to run because you love it first,” I explained. She was listening, “You might not win a race this year or next, but winning isn’t about just your race this year, winning is measured across a lifetime. You’re training yourself now to be an athlete for life.”…… “You understand”? “Yeah,” she said widening her eyes a bit, visibly feeling better.

The individual is as different as each person’s race. Our little one doesn’t need any additional pressure to do well, she puts an inordinate amount of pressure on herself to do well. She must take after her mother!!!

I think I’ll wait to tell her the stories of how I got punished as a kid for being a sore loser or the story when I was disqualified for instinctively taking an inside line of the inside lane in a track meet while on my way to crossing the finish line first.

As we monitor our progress in this race called life, how are we doing? Are we doing better now than in the beginning? The better we get, the slower we get. When we were younger we measured how fast we got across the line or what number represented us or our team.

Now Godly wisdom dictates we measure how many people we can get across the line with us or before us. We look more like shepherds than runners now.

Every day is a new day or leg in the race of our life, we’re not here by chance, but by design.

As I stand on the sidelines my desire for all the girls is the same now as it was in the beginning. Play the game of life with honor, passion, perseverance, and play it to win…