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Fun Run

My son’s school had it’s annual Fun Run this past Saturday and it really was fun. All these kids from four year olds to high school students put on their new race t-shirts (a lovely tie dye this year) and their numbers and headed across the road from the school to line up for the race. Brilliantly, the woman in charge of the race had them line up with oldest in front and the youngest at the back to avoid trampling. My daughter started in a dead sprint, which she maintained for the majority of the run and even ended up getting 3rd in her age group. Chad was distraught from the beginning because he had assumed he’d be at the front and win it, so interpreting his place at the start as an immediate loss was confusing and distressing. Its a funny thing to observe all of our hearts’ interactions with a “fun run”. So, here is what I have been thinking about since the race…a post race response. Another family with whom we walked back to the school from the end of the race had one child Chad’s age and one Ellie’s. I had seen the younger sibling running hard at the end, face neither ecstatic or in pain, just wide eyed following the crowds on this crazy run. He made it happily to the finish line and then was pre-occupied by the sky, the trees, being with his friends and whatever might come next in the day. He ran, had fun, and was on to the next thing. Meanwhile, his brother was in tears, apparently for not being as fast as his friend. He was receiving a lecture from his father about proper expectations for a sport you only participate in once a year. By the look on his face and the disposition of his whole body, it wasn’t helping. And I began to wonder about when that transition from brother one to brother two takes place in all of us. There is a fundamental shift that takes place in all of our hearts from simply enjoying the moment to being at enmity with it.

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Gen. 3:17-19

I guess it is where we experience the fall in our daily doings. Simple jobs that to outsiders seem pretty easy (fold and put away the laundry, file papers, mow the grass, return phone calls) instead become arduous. A toil to our labors has replaced a satisfaction and delight in them. But there is more.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:1-3

My heart gets set on the prize for my age group so that I no longer run because I enjoy being outside with friends and family on a beautiful Saturday morning. My heart gets set on accolades and appreciation from friends and family so that without it, my labors feel in vain. My heart gets set on comfort and rest, so that when those are disrupted or denied, it is not love and compassion I feel for my friends and family but resentment.

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:10-12

The joy in me is Jesus’s joy, complete and lacking nothing. It does not require anything to be added…what does Jesus need with a “Girls 8 and under” third place medal, for example? I wonder if any of the other things that steal my joy in the daily will seem equally as obviously silly as I grow in Him and His joy? What might it look like to complete the daily tasks around my house, for my involvements in community and so on the way our younger friend ran the race on Saturday – happy to be out there, running hard, and easily moving on to the next thing once it is finished? I wonder what resting in Him and His accomplishments might do in replacement of my restless striving to earn my own?

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Is. 58:13-14

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