Jul 24, 2011

Keep your eye on the Prize

     Kayla swam in her last A meet of the season yesterday.  She only had one race, 25m breast stroke. Nick  told Kayla to swim fast by imagining he was chasing her.  I gave her the idea that she should imagine a shark is in the water behind her and she had to swim to escape being eaten.  Kayla laughed at both of our ideas, but came up with a far superior motive to swim her fastest time yet. 
      While waiting for her event to be called, Kayla was constantly complaining of the heat, whining about being hungry (she had eaten, she just wanted candy from the concession stand), and was teasing her brothers.  Annoyed with her behavior, and concerned that her mind wasn't on the race, I made sure I was able to talk to her right before her event.  I gave her a big hug and told her to remember who she was swimming for. "God", Kayla replied.  I encouraged her to say a prayer and gave her a kiss.  Kayla not only swam her fastest time, but she got first place too!  Beaming with pride, we hugged and congratulated Kayla on doing so well.  Nick told her it must have been his idea of chasing her that made her swim so fast.  I joked that it was my idea of thinking of a shark attack that helped.  Kayla replied that she used her own idea.  She told me that she imagined that the devil was behind her and Jesus was waiting for her at the other end of the pool.  She  said she just swam as fast as she could to get away from the devil and to get to Jesus.  Humbled and shocked, I congratulated her on coming up with the perfect motivation for swimming her best! 
      Kayla's idea has stuck with me.  Isn't that how we should approach life?  Not that we are always swimming away from evil or temptations, but that we need to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize, eternal life with our Heavenly Father.  Hebrews 12: 1-2 says, " ...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus...."  How many times during the day I get so bogged down by the details of life, that I forget that everything I do, no matter how insignificant, needs to be for His glory, and can be an opportunity to practice and grow in virtue!  Kayla's idea reminds me to keep my focus Eternal.  As St. Paul said to the Phillipians, "....but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (Philliapians 3:13).

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