I remember those days, clearly. The smell of soap and talcum powder, the school hall echoing chorus and little children with our heads twisted up and tiny mouths squealing in worship?

I loved those happy-go-lucky Vacation Bible School days. The freedom from school uniforms, songs, crafts, memory-verse competitions and final day shows.

We did not fully understand then. The weight of the words or the magnitude of mercy or glorious grace. Yet, our lungs bellowed and we were thrilled to pieces.

One year, I learned this verse. It was the theme that year. And it changed me forever.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

As a little girl, every time I read this verse I imagined myself running a race and angels cheering me on, with my Father Jesus smiling at the finish line. In my head, I always came first (although I was incredibly competitive I wasn’t so great at sports. My little head was thrilled that this was a race I would win).

To be an incredible at sport, you have to train young. Work hard, long hours, pushing your body to its limit until pain becomes the norm. You have to remember rules, plays, instructions, code of conduct.

As I grew into a young woman and realised the mental and physical effort that it takes to run a race (and the many times and ways I have and could fail), as I imagined this bible verse, I often saw myself slow to a crawl and barely make it until the end. I saw the angels looking bored and maybe Jesus looking away.

Today, it suddenly hit me. Verses 12 and 13.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead

No-Matter-What-by-Holley-Gerth

I had let the past and trials of the world stop me from participating by convincing me that I was unworthy. Until these verses leaped out at me.

I don’t have to be perfect.
I don’t have to have a great past.
I don’t have to hold it all together or know everything.

All I have to do is run.
Forgetting what is behind.
It is too heavy to carry as I run. So I lay it in its rightful place. At the foot of the cross.

Now I can really run.

I hear the singing of angels and see His loving eyes.

Image courtesy: Holleygerth.com

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