I’ll be honest, I can’t write when I’m stressed.
It seems with the close of the school year even those of us who don’t teach or have school-age children still get caught up in the hustle and bustle of tasks that need to be accomplished before summer begins. That’s me.
Compound that with the fact that we haven’t been sleeping well, and you’ve got a great big old excuse for not blogging. And, though I’ve been working on this post in my head for a few weeks now, my experience trying to get some sleep a few nights ago solidified the need for me to write on this topic.
Here’s my story of woe: I had fallen asleep around 10:30pm, but at midnight (exactly) my iPhone, plugged into a clock-like thing in my room to charge, decided to start blaring music (kids had pushed “alarm on” apparently). I turned it off and after about an hour fell back asleep again.
At 3am, a toy in our family room that I had, earlier in the day, pressed every button on, shaken and thrown to get to work (all to no avail), started blaring Old McDonald through the house. I got up, turned its power off, and tried to go back to sleep.
Around 4am the first thunderstorm rolled through. I awoke, checked for tornado warnings, and was back to sleep within the course of a few minutes. That is, until the hail storm started at 5:15am — which included a wake-up by two out of four kids and ended in setting up beds for them in our room (I guess it did kind of sound like little robots were having a party on our roof? (My son’s theory at least)).
At 6:40am the baby woke up…and alas, that meant sleep time was over and my day had to begin.
Why couldn’t I have just had a nice, solid, 8 hours of sleep?
Ahhh… just like I like…no interruptions…just good, sound rest. But, that didn’t happen. And, truth is: That’s life.
You see, life is often compared to a race. But, I think it is, more accurately, an obstacle course.
When you think of a race, you picture a nice smooth running track. The only real threat to you finishing the race is your own inability to muster the strength to endure. Sure, someone running beside you could fall in front of you, trip you, bump you, or otherwise impede your ability to complete the race. But, for the most part, if you can just get your legs and arms to cooperate and move in unison…you can make it to that finish line…nothing is literally standing in your way.
Then there are obstacle courses. The kind where you are running along and then, BOOM, you are met by a rope to climb, a swamp to swim through, or a wall to scale. There is a new challenge every few paces. You get finished with the monkey bars and you move on to crossing the balance beam. You make it to solid ground again for a few paces only to find another challenge.
To me, this seems to be a much better picture of real life. Life is the exercise of mustering up the energy to face each obstacle and battling everything within you that just wants to lay down, give up, or turn around and see if there is a way back.
The truth is, I get tired of the obstacles. I’m a sprinter and I hate set backs. Once I’ve decided where to go, I want to go full speed ahead with nothing stopping me. But, that’s not the way it works most of the time.
The obstacles of life come in all forms and sizes. Sometimes we know they are temporary and can see an end to them…like when you are stuck at home with four sniffling kids during a week that was full of “important” plans or when you are finishing up a school year or a season of life (potty-training anyone?). Other times, the end is uncertain. Daunting obstacles like looking for a new job, praying to get pregnant, or even battling a disease, can leave you wondering if you’ll ever get through them.
So, how do we make it through life’s obstacle course? How do we “keep on, keeping on,” when it’s hard? What about those times when we aren’t sure we even have the energy to climb another wall or balance on another log? What do we do?
We remember who created the course. We reflect on and remind ourselves that the God who loves us more than we can comprehend has our course in His hands. We meditate on the fact that he knows the struggles we’ve been through and he’s not going to be surprised by what’s ahead. We trust in his unfailing love and run to Him and with Him. When our strength gives out, we rely on his strength and remember that it is in our weakness that he is made strong (2 Cor. 12:9).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
How do you handle life’s obstacle course?