When you run the hurdles, you don’t look at the hurdles. You look past them, to the finish line. When the gun goes off and you lift your head, you find the tape. You train your eyes on it, never taking your gaze off, and run.
But that is so contrary to what you want to do. Imagine a long line of hurdles. Each one a barrier between you and the end of the race. Each one ready to stop you or trip you. Your inclination is to look at each one as you approach, to make sure you get over, that your leg doesn’t get caught. The problem is, if you look at the hurdles you slow down.
I used to run the hurdles. Everyday we would train. We would do various exercises to train our legs to hover over the hurdle, then snap down once we were over. Over and over again, until we had developed muscle memory. Even today, when I face a baby gate, my legs snap up and over without missing a beat :).
The hardest thing to learn was to focus on the finish line and not the hurdles. All I wanted to do was stare at the hurdle. I was scared I would trip and fall. But when my gaze was on the hurdle in front of me, I slowed down. I missed my steps. My rhythm would be thrown off and I would end up last.
I was sharing this with a friend of mine this past week. She is spiritually tired right now, and focusing on the hurdles in her life. I shared my story, and how I had to learn to focus on the finish line. Everything clicked for her. She was scared that she would not make it over the next hurdle.
We talked, and she realized two things: she needed to focus again on the finish line. And she needed to trust her faith muscles to get her over the hurdles. All those years of learning to trust God would now get her through what she was facing in her life.
I hadn’t thought about the second part, the part where the quiet time we spend everyday with God is training our “faith” muscles so that when hurdles come up in our lives, we automatically know how to respond. It made sense. If I hadn’t trained my legs to know what to do while my eyes were set on the finish line, I would not have been able to get over the hurdles.
Training and focus. Quiet time and Jesus. Both needed to get over the hurdles, whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
How about you? Are you facing some hurdles in your life? Do you need to place you eyes back on the finish line?