Checkered Flag Only

Sometimes the mountain of negatives obscures my view of the positives, whether I am just trying to cook a meal, clean up the dog hair, or survive another day. I know that a lot of people have that same struggle.

Lately, I have realized that while I tell myself I have the checkered flag as my goal – to finish my race with dignity, grace, and strength – I have been holding the white surrender flag behind my back, ready to pull it out at any moment. Giving up is easy and cowardly. Pressing forward takes courage and lots of prayer.

Listening to the clatter of pain, emotions, the news, relationships, and seemingly insurmountable challenges that lie ahead, it seems comforting to reach for the surrender flag to wave.

One of the biggest lies roaming our minds is that you must be fast, strong, wise, educated, etc. to succeed. Success is only success if it is recognized by a lot of people. If you do what is right, you will be rewarded. Well, there is not always a formula for getting what you want:

five good deeds ≠ financial security

being kind + helping someone ≠ praise

working long hours + creativity ≠ a promotion

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

~Ecclesiastes 9:11

We cannot bargain with God. He is not our Santa Claus; He is our Savior and Friend. He’s running with us, which means we can finish our race and fly by that checkered flag, maybe even take a victory lap no matter what we endure while we run, walk, or crawl through this life.

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

~Philippians 3:13b – 14 (Paul speaking)

We can more efficiently and honestly run this human race if we drop the white flag of surrender and simply focus on the checkered flag. By the way, none of us hold the checkered flag; God does. I am determined to finish rather than surrender.

I’m sure you already know this wisdom, but I needed to hear it from an expert. 😉

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