By Jacqi Ballough

The white line was just 30 feet away. I kept telling myself I could make it. I can do it. When running, the cliché of “I can do all things through Christ” comes out, although I was gasping for air and my body was undergoing a horrid suffering. 

My goal was the white stop-sign line. Now only a few strides away, I stopped to walk. I had literally been running for less than a mile and at every street had made these white lines my target, thinking that once I was there I could walk for a minute and then do it again.  

My problem: I would always stop exactly four or five steps shy of the finish line. Why?

Was it that I loathe running? Give me Pilates, planks, or a step aerobics class and I am an energizer bunny, but running makes me feel like I am going to die. I honestly don’t like it but know the cardiovascular exercise helps my heart. Unfortunately, it seemed my heart was not in it. 

During these attempts to run, I talk to the Lord in my spirit. I had been thinking about the wonderful job opportunity that I was offered. It was not only very financially rewarding but was also in a beautiful, elite place. I would be in a position of authority and was praised by the people I worked for. It was a “dream job,” but my heart was unsettled. 

Again, I asked, why? 

The Lord answered as I stopped before the finish line, “Finish the race.” 

I knew what the Lord had called me to do 11 years ago when our son was born. I had asked for a child and promised to raise him up to know Jesus. When it came time to send him to preschool, again I was reminded to train him up in the Lord with homeschooling. Now in middle school, the Lord is telling me to “finish the race.” 

The temptation to stop and run to a more glamorous job is real, just like the rich man who was told to sell all he had and follow Jesus, but dejectedly turned his back on Jesus instead. I knew I had to trust and obey God’s will for me to continue teaching our son. 

My reward doesn’t come with worldly glamor but with watching my son fall in love with Jesus. Watching him minister to the elderly neighbors, witness creation to his friends, and tell me his revelations from God’s word. These are things I have to treasure in my heart to finish the race well and ward off the weariness.

Thankfully shortly after saying “no” to the “dream job” the Lord sent a wonderful momma to encourage me in the race as well. She has been at it far longer than I, and I thank God He connected us.

Hebrews 12:1-3 states, 

Since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us 
strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And 
let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward.….Think about all He enduredso that you don’t become weary and give up.