I was listening to a podcast recently (this is the phrase that would go on my tombstone if I died today, my friends are proooobbbbably like--dude we get it with the podcast love ok?) and the guest mentioned how much she had idolized the "finish line."
The phrase "finish line" immediately took me back to a very raw and honest conversation with Austin several months ago. I was sitting in exactly the place I am now, on the far left side of our couch, while I pushed the tips of my toes against an edge of our coffee table, trying with no avail to keep the tears at bay. Through ashamed and angry tears I confessed to Austin,
"I'm just mad. I'm so mad. I'm so mad at God."
We had come to a decision that was complicated for us to make. Depending on which one of us you asked at the time, this decision was either our salvation or our downfall. I took a minute to calm down, but only felt my anger and confusion bubbling higher.
"I just thought--I really believed that the finish line would be worth it. I've been waiting and banking everything on the finish line being worth it."
My whole life I'd grown up hearing stories of trials leading to-- well, happy endings. I began chugging full steam ahead, believing that if we could just make it through this transition then it would all pay off. What started as faith in God, became faith in what God would give us, in our happy ending. I pushed and pushed and pushed and the longer I ran, the higher my hopes became that the all powerful happy ending would be waiting at the finish line.
That illusive finish line became my everything. I didn't share the whole picture of what we were going through with my close friends because I was pridefully holding out for when I could give them the "And that's how we know all this was God's plan, because look at our happy ending!"
Sitting there on our couch, admitting my anger, my entitlement accidentally spilled out too. This is our finish line? This sucks. We went through everything for this? This pathetic ending is what we get? We've earned something so much better, we owe everyone something so much better. This is not what I signed up for.
There was so much more conversation and honesty left in that night. But God pinpointed this darkness on my heart, this error in belief. I have no finish lines on this earth, I have no endings (happy or otherwise) to be concerned with while I am here. Such a race is utterly aimless, without purpose, chasing comfort from the world is chasing the wind. IT WILL VANISH.
But if Christ is my prize. And oh He is my prize! Then it is my privilege to run the race set before me, that I would know Christ and see him more clearly.
No happy ending could light the darkest night or illuminate the steps before me. No happy ending could save me, but only pacify me while I lay in danger's wake.
He is my prize, he is my salvation every day and every day he is a fountain of joy. Running toward a finish line of infinite love and grace makes the race worth running.
What am I running toward?