I posed the question to myself recently, “If you could choose one word to describe yourself what would it be?” And the only answer I could surmise was, “Defeated.” Simply stated, I am losing. I’m losing the battle for sleep. I’m losing battles with my children on an almost daily basis. I’m definitely losing the battle of the bulge. And I’m sure to lose what little I have left of my mind any day now. There is no pit boss belting out my name in response to, “Who’s the big winner?” I’m more likely to be the one face down in the glitter gulch – the big loser, that’s me. Give me an inch, I’ll probably take a centimeter, because that’s about all I’ve got room for right now.
So I think it’s time to stop throwing for the end zone and take a knee. So that’s it. I’m closing my play book and heading to the locker room. And it is at this point my Jesus whispers, “Sweet child, take your hands off your ears and listen closely. I have you right where I want you. Stop pining and check your back pocket. You’ve already won.”
Make no mistake. There’s no white flag of surrender in my rearview mirror. I firmly believe I’m called to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12). But the finish line at the end of the race looks a little different from this angle. There won’t be a gold medal around my neck, only a garland of grace to adorn my head. And there won’t be a trophy engraved with “Best overall,” but rather a book with my name written somewhere around page 6,327. And I will not be the one waving from atop the highest step on the podium. I’ll most likely be the one on my knees, weeping uncontrollably. Yep, the race is pretty clear to me now. I crossed the finish line years ago when I said, “Take my heart.” And I claimed my prize that very same day, a prize I did not deserve, but humbly accepted. The redeeming work of Calvary was and is enough. Let it be, girlfriend! There once was a man who loved His children so much He gave up the one thing any parent simply could not bear to lose. And to this I am called, to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for me. And now I run only because my heart knows no different, because I long for better days, because in my loss, there is great victory.
And the beauty in the race is this. When I look in the mirror and see a big loser, somewhere in the back of my self-deprecating mind, I hear a voice that drowns my own and reassures me, “You are the one Jesus loves.” Oh, to live in that love! To think half as highly of myself as Jesus thinks of me. To feel the joy He feels when His daughter comes running home and falls into His arms begging for mercy, forgiveness, and rest. I have always fancied myself the prodigal’s daughter, testing boundaries, pushing limits, and going it alone until I finally make my way home again. And then it weighs on me like a forty-three pound toddler, “Why am I running again?” I have already won. I received my prize a long, long, long time ago, on a hill, by a tree, where I met my first love, my Savior, my Jesus. Game over!
Heavenly Father, bless my friends and family with perseverance and rest, strength and weakness, joy and pain. Reassure them that though the faces they see in the mirror might not seem appealing, you see them as flawless, as you intended them to be. Amen.
Remember, if only for today, YOU ARE THE ONE JESUS LOVES!