Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Journey is the Prize

Someone sent me a story years ago about a man whom God told to push against a huge boulder. That was his job. He did it for years, day after day, until he was exhausted. The boulder never moved an inch. One day in his frustration he complained to God that he felt like a failure - like he'd been given an impossible task. God encouraged him to take note of the fact that he had a strong body, toned by the constant exercise. He had been obedient all those years. And... God said, "I never asked you to move the boulder. I only told you to push against it."

As I watched the Olympics the other night I watched as one of the American gymnasts lost her chance to compete in the all around competition because of the weird - and frankly unfair - protocol they have regarding who may compete. I also thought about all the other athletes who participate with really no hope of winning a medal. Most of them are never even mentioned by name or seen on TV. Yet they come and give their best. 

I also think about the lifetime of training and sacrifice it takes to get there. Do athletes who go home without medals feel like their entire lives have been wasted? 

Or, do they live as one who has been enriched by the discipline and commitment that has marked the early part of their lives?

Hopefully it is the later, although it might take some real grief work to get there, and that's a serious issue. 

As someone who aspires to be a published author one day I wonder the same things about my own journey. What if it never happens? What if I never get published, never sign a contract, what if I never even get an agent?

What if I don't? Will I be very disappointed? Absolutely. Will all my hard work, practice, and learning be for nothing? I'm happy to say - NO. How can I know that? Because I trust God with the gift and dream he's given me. 

I've dedicated it to him to use as he sees fit. If I never publish but change lives for Jesus with a blog post or a devotional or an email of encouragement is that not the greatest honor for a Christian?

I should be better at everything I do next year because I've worked harder to learn and grow. If I can offer that to God and have him be pleased with my effort what more can I ask for?

Do I still want to be published? Yes. What I want more is to be faithful, committed, and sold out to Him. The prize for my dream will never be a book contract or seeing a finished product on a bookstore shelf. It is at the end of every day when God says to me "Well done today."

What will it matter if I become a best-selling novelist but lose myself along the way? The things of this earth - gold medals and book contracts - are temporary. The true treasure waits for us every day in the person of Jesus. 

If we are sold out to him and obedient no matter what the world thinks of us we will never have to say that our efforts were wasted.

Where are you setting your sights for success? Are you willing to lay those expectations aside for the purpose of Christ? 

In His Grip, 


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