Begin With The End In Mind
He was snorting fire and stamping the ground like an angry bull. He was in 8th grade, but had to have been held back a few years.
The other guys on our middle school track team who were supposed to run the next race, the 400 meter dash, stood around in fear. The track meet, held on a cloudy and cool Thursday afternoon, was otherwise inconsequential, but I'll never forget it.
I remember having a sort of out-of-body experience in which I saw this man-among-boys intimidating us, and somewhere inside I made up my mind that I wasn't going to be scared of him. I decided I was going to beat him.
Bullies had gotten the best of me a lot that year. Two of the scrawnier football players had taken it upon themselves to use me as one of their stepping stones to feeling marginally better about themselves for a few minutes each day. After meetings with the principal and teachers, the overt bullying had come to an end by the spring, but damage had been done. I had learned I was not one of the cool kids.
But on that grey Thursday evening, I found something new in myself: guts. I found the desire to fight. I found the determination to break the enemy.
Coming around the final curve, I was 5 paces behind him. Down the last straight away, I pressed. I could hear him breathing hard. I could feel the will of the home crowd. Adrenaline flowed. Testosterone kicked in. Primacy pushed.
With 40 yards to go I blew past him, never to be seen again. First place.
In that moment something shifted in me. I found that I had some measure of control- that what happened to me wasn't solely up to fate, but that I could impact it when I harnessed strength with intentionality and courage.
That's not to say that I suddenly approached life differently forever. There are plenty of ways that I have not been intentional or courageous. But it was in beating the mad bull that I found that I had the capacity for it.
As we enter a new year, I wonder about what needs courage and intentionality. What fire-snorting adversaries will want to intimidate me, or come for my family, my heart, my soul. How will I be tempted to stand around in fear?
I also look back on this last year. What bullies tried to step on me? How did the enemy work to pull me away from my heart, my family, my God? And what did I find in myself that I had forgotten was there?
Take a few moments, and ask the Lord: Where might I lean in with strength this year? What has been wrestled away that needs to be re-found and restored?
What will you decide will be an outcome for this year?
Cody Buriff, Director of Resource Initiatives