There is a famous football hero living at our house.
Well, he’s not actually famous yet, but he will be. He told me so. He is eight years old, and someday he wants to play professional football for the team that has the coolest uniforms. He told me that, too.
If the whole football thing doesn’t work out, he wants to be a drummer. I’m counting on the football gig to pan out. Something tells me it pays better.
Last week, my future-football-star attended three days of football camp. Our esteemed local coaches worked with kids of all ages out in the blazing sun, encouraging them and teaching them important life skills like . . . how to tackle, and how to run really fast. They also taught them the importance of teamwork, and the benefits of persistence and hard work.
One afternoon, after I picked up my little man from camp, I overheard a conversation he had with his older sister. It went something like this:
Him: We ran a whole mile in football camp today.
Her: Really? Did you run a mile straight?
Him: No. We ran in a circle.
I know how he feels. Sometimes, it seems like I’m running in circles. Sometimes, no matter how hard I work, no matter how persistent I am and how much I sweat, it feels like I’m not actually getting anywhere. I just keep covering the same ground, over and over again.
Take the laundry, for example. Just yesterday, it was all clean, folded neatly, and put away. This morning, there’s a big pile of it waiting to be washed. And even though I made sure my kitchen sink was shining and empty before I went to bed last night, the dishes are already starting to pile up again.
Going in circles, I tell you.
It’s not just the housework, either. The whole circle thing comes a lot closer to home, too. It seems that no matter how hard I try to develop patience, kindness and gentleness in my life, I keep winding up right back at the same place. I lose my patience. I act selfishly.
But I’ll just bet my son’s football coaches would tell him that, even though he’s running in circles, he’s developing muscle and building stamina. In spite of the fact that he’s covering the same ground over and over, he’s getting stronger.
Come to think of it, I’ll bet my Coach would tell me the same thing. Even though I continue to mess up, as long as I keep doing what He tells me to, I’m getting stronger. I’m building stamina. My patience, though it’s not unending, does last longer than it once did. And though I can still be pretty selfish at times, I’m kinder and more thoughtful than I would be if I didn’t stay close to my Coach and follow His directions.
Not only that, but He does something pretty incredible, as long as I keep running and don’t give up. He actually straightens that road out. Before I know it, I will look up and realize I’ve covered a lot more ground than I realized.
It will be a pretty incredible feeling someday, crossing the finish line. If I keep my eye on the goal, I’ll see my Coach waiting on the other side. When He pats me on the back and says, “Well done,” I know I’ll be glad I kept running.
“And He will make your paths straight . . .” Proverbs 3:6.