Blog Post by Abby McDonald
“What’d you do that for? Because you wanted him to lose?”
My husband recalled the conversation he had with the scout master just minutes earlier as we sat in the fellowship hall, waiting for our son’s turn to race his pinewood derby car. Those words were directed at my husband after he’d explained that we let our six-year-old do the majority of the work.
I was seething. I wanted to march over to the leader and give him a piece of my mind. However, as I watched the joy on my son’s face when his car raced down the track, my anger dissipated.
He saw what so many others in the audience didn’t: the joy in the journey. He followed the rules of the game, and put hard work into making his vehicle just the way he wanted. Now he was reaping the benefits of his dedication.
Win or lose, he was proud of what he’d accomplished. His excitement filled the room.
As we conversed with others at the race, we became aware that several placed their hope simply in winning. It was in the end result. And isn’t that the same pattern so many of us fall into?
We see that goal in our mind’s eye, and we put all of our hope and faith into achieving it. We brush past anyone or anything that gets in our way, seeing obstacles as a nuisance rather than a chance to grow.
We claim our dreams and say God gave them to us, and this much may be true. But God’s timeline is often different than ours. Some growth may be required before we are prepared to handle the spotlight of success.
When we place our hope only in the end result, we face overwhelming disappointment if things don’t go the way we envisioned. Often, we beat ourselves up and call ourselves failures, not realizing God often uses setbacks to mold and develop us just as much as success.
I am reminded of Hebrews chapter 11. Commonly referred to as the “faith chapter,” it lists many heroes of the faith who are set as examples for us to emulate. However, none of these men and women received what was promised to them in their lifetime. If their eyes were simply fixed on the end result, they surely would have been crushed.
No, God had something much better awaiting them in their eternal destiny. And so do you and I, my friend.
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV
Do you know where the Bible says we should place our hope? In Christ alone. Not in measurable results, not in the final destination or end goal, but in Him.
When our hope is put in the only place where it can be securely held, it renews us. We have the strength to move forward.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV (emphasis mine)
Having goals is not ungodly. Being competitive and wanting to do your best isn’t negative. But when we place our hope in the outcome alone, we will be continually frustrated.
So keep your eyes fixed on the unseen and put your hope in the only place where it can stand firm: in the arms of Christ your King.
He is preparing a place for you. Do you believe that?
Let us run forward with renewed vigor knowing that our hope will not disappoint.
Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
25 CommentsLeave a comment
Enjoying the journey, life is much more fulfilling when we do. Good word of encouragement. Abby.
So true, Kristi. I am learning that more each day. Thank you for visiting today.
Hallelujah! These are wonderful words. I do believe He’s preparing a place for me. Even though I haven’t seen Him, I love Him, and even though I don’t see Him now, I believe in Him. (1 Peter 1:8)
Such good encouragement to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on end results. (We had a similar experience with a pine wood derby. Our child did it, but we saw many cars that parents obviously constructed…)
I’ve heard that from several parents, Betsy! I believe letting them do the work builds their confidence. I don’t want my child thinking he can’t do anything for himself. Thank you so much for visiting today. Blessings to you, my friend.
I agree Abby. God is SO at work in the journey. Plus, I have been thinking a lot lately about how where he takes me might be entirely different from where my heart thinks I should go. If I am always set on the destination, I may never be content. What a waste. Thank you for these words today. You bless me always.
Amen, Kelly. He has shown me that so many times and I have ended up in places I never imagined, but it is always the RIGHT place when I follow him in faith. Thank you, friend.
How true that hope placed in the right person – Jesus Christ – renews. Hope placed in the wrong person, a goal or an outcome, frustrates. Such great words of truth here! I always walk away from your writing refreshed.
With much love,
The feeling is mutual, Bev! You always bless me with your thoughts and encouragement. Thank you, thank you.
Abby, my head nods… yes! We’re a conduit for something bigger, vessels for the journey, and not just about the end results.
And then there are days where my heart totally forgets the whole point 😉 But He doesn’t!
Sending you love today, your posts are always what I need to hear.
Oh yes, he has to remind me of these things often. We humans are forgetful by nature, aren’t we. So thankful for his constant patience. Thank you for blessing me today, friend. Much love to you.
Love this! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for visiting, Stacy!
We forget that as Christians we believe know what is most important: win the race, get that promotion, etc., no matter who I hurt including myself. Our Lord is the most important thing and our hope is in him only. Not our 401Ks, winning races, getting all A’s on your report card–none of it. Too many of us has lost site of what is most important.
So true, Mary. Many of us do lose sight that our hope truly is in him alone. Our culture bombards us with things that aren’t important. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts today.
Some very valuable truths Abby. I’m guilty of living in expectation and being let down. I have learned in my journey with God is some of my dreams I believed came from Him were just rationalizations and off the mark. It wasn’t till I found that place you highlighted about placing myself in the middle of Christ hands did I understand the real meaning of faith. Thanks for a warm and encouraging post.
Amen, Walter. That surrender is difficult, but so freeing. Thank you for sharing.
Mmm. You thrust me right back to last Friday as I watch my scout line up his car next to all these others which to me seemed crafted by hands other than 9 year olds. And as I listened to some of the dads talk, I began to think the race was about them, not about the children. Then this mamas heart was hurt because my husband and I let our son do his car himself and I thought to myself I know we did the right thing but did we set him up to lose the race. What I know is we set him up for integrity. I tried to encourage my son to remember the journey and not focus solely on the win. Thank you for words to ease this mamas heart.
You both remind my soul that first things come first – and that is Jesus first. I don’t think “winning” even comes in second place. You two have awesome insights! – Kelly
Oh Tyra, I’m sorry your son had to go through that. My son did win one of the races but didn’t win overall. His den was pretty evenly matched but there were others that where one person really had an advantage. I felt sorry for some of the other contestants. I believe you and your hubby did the right thing. Integrity is so important to teach our kids. Thanks for visiting and sharing here today.
I love this. Thank you for reminding me of what is important.
We are so happy you enjoyed it Jenny. Abby did a fabulous job helping us see what comes first!
What a beautiful message of hope, Abby! And, wow. Hebrews 11:39-40! What a great verse for all of us to remember where our focus should be! Thank you for helping me fix my eyes on the One who has the whole plan…the big picture…our purpose. May He continue to bless you! xoxo
So true! Great post! I ask God every day to increase my faith. I am so glad he chose me to be a child of His and I an trusting Him each and every day to fulfill his will for my life.
Thank you. What a great prayer that is Horace. Keep strong in his will and keep your eyes on Jesus as you run your race. Thank you so much for visiting here today!
He saw what so many others in the audience didn’t: the joy in the journey.
That’s a mature lesson for anyone, much less a young one.
Abby, thank you for your words–they matter so much. Susan