(Warning! Another long post :P)
I will start this post by saying that I am a sprinter. I don’t wanna be a sprinter! Sprinters can be rather impressive. They are great at one hundred meter dashes. Just watch how fast they run! But, sprinters aren’t great at everything. If you stuck a sprinter next to a runner, who do you think would win? The sprinter. At first. But the runner would probably overtake him. The sad thing about sprinting is that although you can achieve incredible speed, you can only hold it up for a little while, you don’t have endurance.
Life is like a race. You can see how fast you are, and how quickly you can get ahead of everyone, and then by that conclude that you are fit to run life’s race. But when you find out that life is not a hundred meter dash, but a marathon, it can be disheartening. Especially if you’re a sprinter.
Hebrews 12:1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Even the Bible talks about a race, and I’m not so sure my sprinting abilities will come in handy.
Why do I call myself a sprinter? I was talking to someone/people awhile ago about how I was a blitz developer. When I make games, I try to do it really fast. Sure, not all of my games are polished, but I get them done, and I get them done fast. It also seems I’ve started a lot of things that I’ve never finished. I think it’s probably a common trait of sprinters to set for themselves big goals, go to do them, and then wear out after their speed boost burns off.
The generation being trained is a generation of sprinters. Have you noticed sports stars? I think that sports stars are only able to last a little bit in the game world, but then retire filthy rich. Sort of a great example to sprinting across life. Music stars. Seems like the ‘Jonas Brothers’ is an old name these days. Why, I even think Justin Beiber has probably gone past the peak of his career. Do you see how fast these things cycle? Microwave dinners. It may not taste as good as a real cooked meal, but microwaves can do it quick and powerfully. Botox. Sure, may not looks as good as if you treated your body naturally, but it’s quick and powerful. Junk food. Just grab all the good tasting food you can now, it may not help you later, but it’s quick and enjoyable in the immediate! Need I go on? When we have our entire generation looking up to people like sports stars and music stars and ideas like Botox as examples of success, should we really be shocked if our generation looks great at it’s outlook, but then ‘passes it’s prime’ and falls into a nearly irreparable state?
Let’s take a look at the dangers that sprinting could cause. If you were a good marathon runner, chances are you probably wouldn’t race to reach the front, sprinting like a madman, in the first few seconds of the race. You would be looking ahead, and have your mind set on the finish line. You may purposefully slow yourself down to keep your endurance up. Let’s take the opposite example. I will use the classic name Ichabod McPhillistine. Icky decided to enter his state marathon. He registered early, and he got a spot up front, giving him an advantage over the others. As the gun shot an signaled the first seconds, Icky went into action, sprinting out in front of the others. He laughed at them as he quickly covered the pavement. As he turned the corner, he lost sight of them. Icky thought he was going to win! Then, something seemed to change in him, his feet started to feel the impact of hitting the ground. His breath felt hot in his throat. All that energy seemed to get whisked away. He stumbled a bit, and his head started to spin. His mouth became dry as he slowed to a walk. He walked over to the sidelines and collapsed in the grass, panting. The other runners came by as he tried to recover his strength, laughing at him. Although Ichabod had started well enough, he had run out his strength to finish. At the end of the race, the judge looked over the contestants. He then took out the golden first place medal and placed it on Icky, for having the best start of them all. NO! Of course he didn’t! He placed it on the runner just next to Icky, the one who, although he had been in last the first few minutes of the race, had enough energy to surpass them all later. Icky wasn’t even qualified for a prize, as he walked back to start, drank five bottles of water, and drove home. He didn’t even finish.
We will take Icky again, and look at him as a life sprinter. Icky had always done things fast, even as a little kid. He first started playing football with his dad in the backyard when he was merely five years old. He progressed in his childhood, ‘living life to it’s fullest’ as in, never slowing down. He practically breathed football, with pictures of the stars all over his room. “Im gonna be a football star” he used to say, even at a young age. One thing most don’t understand about sprinters, is that they can have an incredible determination while they’re sprinting. And Icky did. He practically threw his life into football, living life in the fast track. Then, one day, late in his high-school years, there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A talent scout came to the high-school homecoming. He played at the top of his game that night, trying desperately to get the scout’s attention. That was his only chance of becoming anything in football. And that night, the talent scout left. Icky watched the red lights of his car disappear down the road while standing on the cold field.
“Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before SS, this is the part where he becomes bitterly sad and you teach some moral lesson about not putting all our hopes in being a star… That’s so cliche Stopsecret! Seriously, think up something more original!”
Our story isn’t done.
The next day, Icky got a letter in the mail. Everyone in his house heard his scream of joy. Ichabod McPhillistine had been accepted to train for the NFL.
Two years later found ‘Immovable Ichabod’ in his career, doing great at it. Why, in that time, he even got married. Life was going good. Here he was, a mere twenty-one, and sprinting had paid off. He had a mansion, a Ferrari, and a wife, and he was fast becoming one of the most popular sports stars in the US. Now kids had pictures of him on their walls, he even had his own bobble head. His career peaked when he turned twenty-five, as he carried his team almost single handedly to the Superbowl. They won. His money and life spiked as he gained more popularity than he ever had before.
“Yeah, yeah, we all no where this is going SS, this is the part where he leaves the game and gets hit by a car and you go into a discourse on how silly it is to gain up riches when death is around the corner…”
Will you stop guessing my storyline and just listen! 😛
Immovable Ichabod moved towards his twenty-seventh birthday, and felt it. He was no longer as fast as he used to be. He had a harder time catching and throwing. People were now gravitating towards ‘Hampton the Hammer’, a new rising football star working for another team. Icky knew where things would head if he didn’t back out now. He resigned from the NFL while he still had the dignity. And thus, life slowly started to nudge Icky into the slow lane. He now, however, had his whole life ahead of him, and millions of dollars to spend. He planned to enjoy it. One day, however, disaster struck. His wife told him off about how he wasn’t the young and strong man she used to know. Icky was so busy at his career that he had failed to work on who he was as a person, and was, let’s face it, nasty. Divorce papers were close to follow. As he sank into sadness, he didn’t keep his close watch on his banker, who ‘borrowed’ 5 million before ‘moving’ to Chile. His expensive lifestyle and search for happiness soon drained his remaining funds. His Ferrari was repossessed after he failed to make his payments, and his house was later foreclosed on. People then started to laugh at him, and once again, Ichabod found himself panting in the grass on the sidelines as people passed him by, and laughed. Except this time, he didn’t know which way it was back to the start line to get water. The same speed with which he went into life was the same speed with which life pushed him out of fame.
So, what do I need? What will it take to turn me from sprinter into a marathon runner? How can I run with patience the race that is set before me? Well, the above verse seems to indicate that I should look to Jesus. Jesus endured the cross. The issue here is I need endurance. I need more endurance than poor Ichabod had. Sprinters don’t usually keep their speed forever, and I need to watch it before I end up running out of steam. I think I need to slow down, and start to invest in things that don’t look like they have immediate value, but will pay off in the future.
Prayer is a good example. It can be tough to take a chunk of time and sit down to pray. But prayer will pay off as you realize that you’re drawing closer to God.
Also, I think ‘trying to live life to the fullest’ as in, never a dull moment, can be dangerous. If you try to occupy every single moment of your time, you may find that at the end you are looking back wondering where all that time went, not saying “Say, that was a great way to spend 20 years of my life”. So if you are constantly trying to keep from being bored, as it seems I do sometimes, then you may miss out on life’s nice slow moments.
And as for completing goals? I think I should start small. Perhaps instead of setting marathon goals, I should set 5k type goals, working my way up. If someone came to me asking how to get started learning 3d, my advice would be to start small and work their way up. I think I can take that advice in this situation.
Also, as a side note, it can be bad to live life too slow. If we’re unwilling to accept change , or we’re always looking back, it can be just as dangerous as if we were speeding ahead.
In conclusion, my advice to anyone who’s listening, and to myself, would be to slow down. To accept that being bored at times is ok. To not try and fill every waking moment with activity. And to pray to be more diligent. And perhaps in the future, I can break out of being a sprinter, and be a runner. And then maybe I’d finish what I start 😉
The next time you find yourself in a lonely room of your house, with no one around, nothing to do, and only silence, you may be tempted to look around at your surroundings. You may be tempted to think your life is boring and purposeless. You may be tempted to medicate your boredom by finding a nearby electronic device. You may be tempted to slip into depression. But, next time you find yourself in that situation, smile. You are in the middle of one of life’s slow moments. Take it in, and enjoy it. Realize that you are not living in the fast lane at that moment. As a matter of fact, next time you find yourself like that, thank Jesus that you have the opportunity to be bored!