Sunday, April 30, 2017

Growing Up, Competitive Streaks, And Good Sportsmanship In Life

As I sit to type this, it's the most heavenly Sunday afternoon. Being that we're into parks these days, I tend to rank weather on how worthy it is of being at one, and today's warm blue sky and hint of cool breeze is hovering somewhere between nine and ten. At the moment though, we're home. Weekend hockey is on and the girls are all piled onto a scooter (yes, one scooter) in the yard and sharing a bag of chocolate banana pieces. Being that it's that middling point between the end of one week and beginning of another, I'm just sitting here turning over all the details of both.

We had a pretty big family event recently involving Alanna losing her first tooth. She was so proud (after the initial shock of seeing it stuck in the peach she was eating), and waved that seed sized thing over her head like a champion who just fought a battle and gained a kingdom. I had forgotten what a big deal that moment is to child sized heart. One of our favorite books all about losing teeth and growing up (which is dirt cheap on Amazon right now, by the way) summarized the moment simply and perfectly for the both of us: "That's nothing to worry about. That just means that today you've become a big girl."

Big girl indeed. I'm surrounded by "big girls" at the moment. Even though Wrennie is technically a baby and Selah a toddler, they've suddenly put their heads down and started racing one another in this whole growing up thing over the past few weeks. And when I say "racing," I literally mean racing. "I WIN," is the most commonly shouted phrase around here. "Put your pajamas on girls," (cue much yelling and rustling and bumping), "I WIN!" "Someone please take this to the trash," (cue arguing and shoving and feet pounding the floor), "I WIN!" "Who wants lunch?" (Cue a race to the table, laughing, gobbling, and choking), "I WIN!" Come to think of it, it's Wrennie's first full phrase. Anyway, I don't really encourage all this, but judging by the amount of crying that comes from the loser, I should probably bank on it as a golden opportunity to mention good sportsmanship. Or not, as it is mostly toddlers we're talking about. It has had me thinking about good sportsmanship for myself though, and not in the most traditional sense, I suppose.

Life has struck me as a bit problematic lately. Not actual problems, but more along the lines of I can't keep the floors clean, I'm losing my hearing from female screaming, and why do I always feel so tired and discouraged sort of problems. Usually, I struggle through this in the framework of contentment verses discontentment, but the girl's competitive streak has had me thinking about it in the more intense framing of Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (vs 1-2)
These three young hearts, this patient husband, these dirty floors, I know they're woven into this race set before me, I know they're part of the life of faith the world observes. The problem is that it seems like I'm never running well, and, like my girls, I want to be able to get through each day and victoriously raise one fist on the other side triumphantly declaring, "I win!" But I never get the chance because the inevitable tripping and weighted slowing never fail to happen.

But what I've been remembering lately as I struggle through this course of the race, is that it's not my win.
Because of the joy awaiting [Jesus], he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. (vs 2-4)
"Throw it all aside, Carissa, run hard because the win is already secured at the end by Him. It's His glorious win and you get share it. Run hard." This is what the competitive streak of these babies of mine is teaching me. Thank God for babies.