That has been my battle cry since I started training for the triathlon, which, by the way, is tomorrow. I have been so careful with my body, trying not to get injured or knocked out of training. It has definitely paid off, until the other day.
I took the kids to the Horeb Skatepark to go up and down the ramps with their bikes and skateboards. (That fact alone makes me the coolest mom ever...) I was helping Justin get his bike up the ramp when I lost my footing, slipped backwards, fell down, and had his bike roll back over the top of me. All this while wearing a pretty white shirt...me, who never wears white just because I'm afraid I'll get it dirty. Anyway, I'm laying there on the ground thinking "I can't believe this just happened" and checking for damage. To my body, not the bike. Except for a big bruise on the side of my ankle, a slightly twisted knee, and some scratches, I'm good. Nothing a little Power Gel, ibuprofen, and adrenaline won't be able to deal with in the morning. All my hard work and training and militantly protecting the investment that I have put into this triathlon almost went right out the window.
This whole "Protect the Investment" mantra got me thinking, though. What do I value enough to actively protect, besides the obvious like my kids? As Christians, we have had a huge investment made in us, paid for with the blood of Christ. We have received an inheritance, to become children of the Most High God, and given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, as a means of protecting that investment. So how do we maintain and honor that?
How careful are we about what we allow to influence us? Are we filling our hearts and minds with "junkfood", or are we craving the Bread of Life? I think about this in regards to the choices in music, television, and books that are out there. I know my family gets irritated because, for the most part, I only listen to a Christian radio statioin, but the lyrics of the mainstream music fill my head with words of hopelessness and lust. I would just rather listen to scripture set to music because that is how I arm myself to stand strong in this world full of temptation. That is how I protect this investment.
The closer I grow to Christ, the more aware I am of things that seek to separate me from Him. There is a certain author that I used to read everything by, but it makes me think of things that are not in line with the life that God would like me to lead. We have to be so careful what we allow to influence our thoughts, because the battle truly takes place in our mind first. I was in the doctor's office last week, reading a mainstream ladies magazine when an advice column caugth my eye. A woman was broken hearted because her husband has suffered a severe brain injury and now has the mind of a five year old. She was missing the companionship and love of the relationship they had had. The author of the column advised her, that when she was healed of the grief, she consider an extra-marital relationship to supplement her life. What??? If I did not have my foundations firmly established, this would make perfect sense to me. At one time, it did. I prayed for all the ladies reading this magazine, that they would not be led astray. It is definitely a hard world we live in.
We need to run the race intentionally, with our eye on the prize that God has for us. We need to screen every influence with the question "Is this what Jesus would want for me?" The only way we will know the right answer is to be in His Word, to be learning and growing. It is impossible to run two directions at once, so we have to choose to run towards Him. Otherwise, by default, we are running away.
When I cross the finish line tomorrow, I want to know that I did everything I could to run this race successfully. When I cross the finish line at the end of my earthly race, I want to be out of breath with excitement of having pursued Him with every fiber of my being.