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(3)1up! >>Running my own race

Running my own raceI turn 31 today. That’s right, I’ve officially fallen off the (September) Calendar. Sigh. LOL!

I was born in ’86, and if Twitter was around in my childhood, we’d be trending #Tamagotchi, #OMGMufasaDies and #SuperMarioBros.

Alas, I was born a year after Super Mario was released to the world, but he will always be the big brother I’ve grown up with. I pictured the image of when Mario eats a green mushroom and you get a free “cannon” (English: “Life”) and the 1up appears. For me, it’s now a 31up. I have another far-stretch connection, but please grit your teeth and bear with me:

I belong to a professional body of exciting Accountants (yes, yawwwn… 😛 ) and they have this annual awards ceremony, which celebrates the “TOP 35 UNDER 35” in our profession. Basically, if you’ve done some really amazing business stuff, and you’re younger than 35, you qualify to be part of these National awards. I love reading about these people, all brilliant and beyond the reach of any mere mortal. And then I saw that one of the nominees was a person I had worked with previously (and he’s now Head of the biggest Food market in SA). And another nominee studied with me (he’s heading a great start-up and leading his team with excellence). And despite me being genuinely happy for them, I started feeling a bit … Glum. It was ok when these amazing people were strangers, distant beings. But when it’s people I know that were being nominated, fellow colleagues….? Well, it made me take a look internally at where I’m at.

I haven’t created my own multi-million-dollar app, and I’m not the manager of managers who manage many other managers. For a few minutes, I lost sight of my own Race, and started looking around at the Races other people were running. A bit of self-pity, a bit of woe-is-me.

But fortunately my wife has been blessed with the wisdom and insight that I lacked. In typical Rafiki-like fashion, she listened and reminded me to LOOK AT the blessings that I do have, and not only at the things that I don’t have. I have a wife who is beautiful inside and out, my son, a really good job, and most importantly, a Hope for each day in Jesus. It felt like that first sip on lekker soup when you’ve got the sniffles: warmth for the soul.

It is so easy to forgot how the greatest moments in my life, my greatest achievements, was when I was doing the things God had planned for me. My marriage and family, missions trips across the world, acts of kindness given (and received) which open our eyes to the unconditional Love Christ has for us.

The race God has planned for me is a Marathon race, running according to his timing and plans. We make a fatal error when we compare our individual plans to others, and not find the satisfaction of living out God’s plan for our lives. And then we will be in an endless rat-race chasing happiness, but always finding that true joy gives us a slip:

“One person is leaving home to find happiness, another is returning home to find it. Two are getting married to look for it, still two others are getting a divorce to search for it. He is staying in his job to be happy, she’s resigning to find it elsewhere. Always a pursuit, never truly achieving it”

Today, I have Joy (which a friend recently reminded me, is being truly happy despite your circumstances). My Joy is found in running this race God has planned for me, knowing that He’s with me with each step I take. And I encourage YOU, as you read these words, to genuinely look to your own life and see if you’ve got the contentment which comes from that relationship with God through Jesus. If not, just ask Him for it. I did, and that has made all the difference.

So looking forward, I’m excited. Maybe I’ll get to do something fancy-shmancy one day and be in the “Top 100 under 100”. Or not. But whatever it is, I look forward to doing it with Christ leading the way. Besides, One-Player games can eventually get boring. Even Mario needed Luigi to find his Princess (who, unfortunately, was in another castle J)

Happy (3)1up. Yes!

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Hebrews 12 1-3 (MSG)