My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.

Philippians 3:13-14 (CEV)

This has been a tough year for me. I thought 2020 was one for the record books but 2021 has been a whole different kind of hard. Vision issues, surgeries, and Mark’s heart attack have taken its toll on me. There are days that I wonder what the next challenge will be and will I be up for it. But even as I write this, I realize that my lack of control is the bigger problem.

I am an Enneagram 8 and a couple of characteristics of that type are my desire to be in control and protect those I love. I’m ready to go to battle whenever there is injustice or suffering. That is one reason why I spent so many years of my life in the political arena…until I realized that wasn’t going to make a difference in the long run. Jesus is the only one who can make a difference in the hearts and lives of people.

But lately, I’ve spent some time thinking back over the hard things in my life — the ones that shaped me into who I am today, both good and bad. Yet, as I read the verses above, it struck me that there is no use ruminating over the past. That just takes me down and makes me feel sorry for myself. No, I need to forget and press forward toward the goal that God has planned for me. I want to break the tape running full out looking for the prize of heaven.

With that in mind, this year has given me a tremendous amount of empathy and sympathy for those struggling with health issues, isolation, loneliness, and fear. My friends have been there when I needed a break and some fun. (Fun? Sometimes we wonder if we will ever have fun again!) I’m learning to accept help which has been hard for me to even ask for. I know that the changes we all have had to accept and sometimes endure are part of God’s plan. This has not been a surprise to Him.

I remember forty years ago, my BSF teaching leader encouraged us to keep at it and not give up toward the end of the year. Her words were, “Let’s not just finish somehow, let’s finish well.”

Keep running…see you at the finish line.