When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? In kindergarten, my teacher had each student make a “book” of pictures we drew showing three things we dreamed of being when we got older. My three? A cowgirl–because I loved horses. A truck driver–because I loved the idea of traveling (or maybe it was the loud horn). And a professional football player–what can I say? I was Daddy’s girl.
My dreams changed in my teen years and I found the perfect new future vocation: professional race car driver. I never had any formal training, but I did my best to practice racing skills on the highways around town. Unfortunately, the police didn’t appreciate my dedication to the sport. All of the tickets proved it.
Finally came the day when I was given the chance to suit up and show my stuff at Atlanta Motor Speedway. My belief was confirmed.
I was born to drive!
As part of a racing school, my average lap speed was 154.5 miles per hour. Second fastest in my class (yes, I beat all of the boys but one)! And suddenly I had a new appreciation for a sport I knew very little about. NASCAR racing. Did you know that race car drivers can easily lose 10-15 pounds of water weight during one race because of how much they sweat? It was like being in a furnace as I raced around the track. The engine and friction of the tires generated enormous heat (on top of the sun beating down on the track). And not only was the heat draining, but all of my strength poured into cranking and holding the steering wheel on the high embankments as I sped around the curves trying not to crash into the wall. Lap after lap my adrenaline pulsed. Competitive me raced for the fastest time possible. Daring me continually assessed the fine line between speeding around each curve and meeting the high wall face to face.
What a rush!
Before this, I scoffed at watching races on TV. After all, the cars are just going around in circles. But now I can attest: there is nothing boring about racing in circles at top speed! Racing is about pushing the limits and fighting for the prize. It doesn’t matter what happened the lap before. It doesn’t matter who crashed behind you, who’s trying to push you out of position, or who is currently blocking your path. The goals are the same: Do the best that you can and be a part of the final sprint to the finish.
Our lives are like racing on the track.
Sometimes we may feel like we’re going around in circles. The scenery and circumstances may never change. We may get sideswiped, banged up, and have major altercations with other drivers. And that’s okay. It’s part of the race. What’s important is that we turn back around and keep the pedal to the metal. We keep going. We finish our race with pizzazz. We keep our eye on the prize.
In life, that prize is meeting our Lord in heaven and being able to answer, “Yes, I did my best. I did what You called me to do. I raced hard. I finished strong. And I brought others to the after-party with me.”
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
May I pray?
Father God, our lives are not always as exciting as driving a race car around a track at break-neck speed. There are times that we’re weary and hot and sick of going around in circles. But Lord, You promise us that when we get to the finish line, it will all be worth it. If we’ll forget the collisions of the past and continue to press on toward You, our prize will be more than we could ever imagine. And what an after-party it will be! Father, help us to enjoy today as if it was a victory lap. And may we encourage someone else to start their own race as part of Your racing team. Amen.
Q4U: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why?