August 28, 2010

The Tortoise and the Snail

Since it's almost time to flip the calendar to September, I was a bit surprised to note our kitchen calendar still proclaimed July. The sun was coming up and I'd just come in from a run, feeling a bit deflated. Thinking I'd run a clean 3 mile course, I mapped it out only to discover it was 2.5 miles. I keep accurate milage of all my trails and was so confident of this one I never formally looked it up. I don't know what made me check the route today, but I was thoroughly disappointed.

My tardiness in flipping the calendar turned out to be a good thing, however, because July's cartoon did me a world of good. Like a little girl holding a freshly popped ballon, perfect timing prompted me to look up at the happy tortoise donning his little blue sneakers. With the daunting sign on his left that read Marathon Race Today, his friend and co-competator, the cheering snail, accompanied him on his right. Both would traverse the race slow as molasses, but this detail didn't effect their attitude. Entering the race to do their very best, they focused on the task and not their shortcomings.

Knowing the fairy tale tortoise was one of the slowest members in the race yet won due to sheer perseverance, my spirits began to lift in tandem with the new day's sun. Staring at the month of July a half mile shy of my goal, this little gem reminded me that though I may fall short in some of my endeavors, it isn't my job to win as much as it is to do my best. I'm not responsible for the result as much as my attitude and effort during the process, a welcome life lesson at any age.

Our kitchen calendar is still paused on July because I didn't have the heart to flip it. I'm sure August has a valuable lesson to learn but I want to ponder the tortoise's perseverance a little longer. My heart needs to carefully meditate on the accompanying verse as well.

"As you know, we consider blessed
those who have persevered."
James 5:11a

The word "blessed" in this verse means: happy, to beautify, and pronounce fortunate. The word "persevered" means: endure, to stay under, remain, bear trials, and abide. With this in mind, we can read this verse with the understanding that when we determine to endure through trials of life, God will pronounce particular blessings upon us that make us happy and beautiful. Like the notoriously slow tortoise and snail, we will not look at our shortcomings or intimidating obstacles, but by faith run the race to the best of our ability with happiness and contentment as our foundation.

What race are you running today? Perhaps you're running up a vicious hill and your legs are killing you or you're in a torrential down pour cold and soaked to the bone. Maybe you are suffering great physical or spiritual pain and feel as though you can't finish the next 15 feet let alone complete the race. If this describes your life's race I encourage you to persevere. Don't give up or lose focus. Keep your eyes on God for He is our creator and sustainer. I pray this all the time in both physical and spiritual runs, "Lord, grant me a renewed strength so that I can carry on. May I not give up but rather persevere for your Name's sake."

Whatever life is dishing out to you today remember God is waiting to pronounce a multitude of blessings upon you. Blessing that will make you beautiful, happy, and content. Perseverance, however, is the key. When we determine to endure through life's trials God's character traits are honed within us, molding us more into His image and blessing us all the more.

Let's learn from the tortoise and snail. No race is too difficult with God at our side for it is because of Him we've already won!

1 comment:

Cheryl Barker said...

We're on the same wave-length this week, Nancy. I've posted some quotes about determination, about not giving up. So glad you're persisting with your running!

Have a great week!