Going the Distance

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 3:13-14

The View from Claremont Canyon Trail

The View from Claremont Canyon Trail

Last week my good friend Maura and I went hiking at a very steep trail in Berkeley, California. Hidden behind a beautiful, historic hotel, I at first underestimated its difficulty. This, however, was my second time hiking it, and I was determined to convince Maura to only hike half-way. After all, we had some important work to do that evening. At about the half-way mark we stopped to look back at the view of San Francisco and the whole East Bay. She looked at me and said those magical words, “Do you want to go back now?” “Uh…yeah!” I exclaimed. She laughed to herself and said something to the effect of, “We can’t go back now.” After much coaxing I began following at her heels, but complaining all the way. Finally my pal wisely suggested we name our strengths instead of our weaknesses. We spend so much time focusing on our weaknesses that we rarely recognize our strengths.

So, on we hike up the treacherous trail leading to a nearly 360 degree view of the Bay Area. “Let’s start!” After a moment of silence we began pouring out the silliest list of strengths ever. “I can pick up almost anything with my toes.” “I have a big nose with big nostrils to breathe and smell.” On and on our list went until suddenly we reached our destination, the top of the hill. Once we changed our focus it was much easier to carry on. It seemed to only take an instant to reach the top. I even found myself saying, “Let’s go a little further.”

When faced with challenges, whether it be the ups and downs of the everyday or a more permanent road block, if we change our focus to the gifts God has given us, focus on our true identity and all the ways God has made us resilient, we will go the distance. The journey is not about how fast we get there, nor is it about weighing failures with successes, but it’s about our ability to get back up and try again.

Reflect on Biblical “heroes.” Are they known for their lack of failure and constant success? No, they are known for the changes they allowed God to make in their lives, and by their unique strengths which they grew to recognize and nurture. Now that you know you are a resilient Son or Daughter of Christ, will you go the distance? Or will you continue to focus on the barrier preventing your growth?

Music video by Building 429 performing Press On (Official Music Video). (C) 2014 Provident Label Group LLC, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment

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