Running This Way and That

Jason had off work Thursday morning, which actually worked out well since it was the twentieth anniversary of the day we met.  Yep, that poor, sweet man has put up with this sassy redhead for twenty years now!  Someone should give him a medal.

Anyway, to celebrate our special day, we decided to take Mitch out for a short hike.  The weather was nice.  We had the morning free.  And Tippy was content to stay home and chew on a treat.  With the time constraints, though, our usual hiking spot wasn't an option since it's a bit of a drive, so we decided on a closer trail that is rarely visited.  We had been there several times before, but it had been a while since our last hike on that trail.  This was good news for Mitch.  He loves "new territory" to explore.

Sure enough, as soon as we were out of the car, he was off.  Up the hills.  Down the hills.  Nose to the ground.  So many smells, so little time.  And then, of course, there were the many woodland creatures scurrying about, just daring Mitch to chase them.  At one point, Mitch was looking around him in all directions and running in place as if he couldn't decide what to do first.  It was like he was excited and frustrated all at the same time.  Oh, boy, can I relate, and I'm sure you can too.

While walking down the path of life, we are frequently presented with opportunities and decisions.  Big decisions like what job to take and who to marry, and smaller decisions like what to fix for dinner and whether or not to sign up for the church couples' retreat.  Big opportunities like the chance to be on television to promote your ministry, and smaller opportunities like the chance to take the family to the lake on the weekend.  The opportunities and decisions abound each and every day.  So where do we begin?

If you're anything like me, you have a tendency to bite off more than you can chew.  Desiring to serve the Lord in every way you can, you sign up for every church function, whether you have the time or not.  Not wanting to seem uncaring, you agree to help with the charity drive at the school or workplace.  And let's not forget, you need to attend Susie's ballet and Johnnie's ballgame.  This is all, of course, in addition to your job, your daily house chores, preparing meals, attending church, etc. And so, we often find ourselves like Mitch, jogging in place while trying to figure out which way to go.  Excited yet frustrated.

So, what's the solution?  Well, I'll tell you, but you're probably not going to like it.  Stop trying to do so much!  Just because the day presents us with an opportunity doesn't mean that we have to accept it.  And as for the many decisions, well, there is this little word called, "No."  (I've even been learning to use it myself.  It's nice!)  Seriously, God instructed us to run the race with patience.  That is not possible if we're running around in circles, trying to do everything for everyone.  We're not supposed to please everyone; we're supposed to please Him, and we do that by doing our best at the things He's asked us to do.  Yes, that means turning down some good opportunities and making some tough decisions, but it's worth it.  It worked for Mitch.

When spotting Mitch's indecision, I said, "Come on, Mitch, let's go this way."  Decision made!  He listened to the voice of his master and got on the right path.  We simply need to do the same.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. - Hebrews 12:1