So I got in the pool and started my workout, albeit a few minutes later than I would have if I had gone the right way in the first place. And I started thinking about how often I do something similar to what I had done that morning in other areas of my life. You know, when I left the house this morning, I had all my gear packed, including clothes and stuff to shower and get ready when I was done swimming. I had a plan for my workout. I had gas in my car. I was motivated (ok, ok, not super motivated, swimming isn't my favorite form of exercise, but still) to do my workout. Even with all that under my belt, I wasn't headed in the right direction to accomplish my goal.
That happens sometimes to me, actually more often than I'd like to admit (especially when I'm driving. I get caught up with the driving part and forget to turn on the right street so I take the long way. A friend of mine says I drive in concentric circles around wherever I am trying to go) even though I have really good intentions. I think sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. So I have to take a break, look around, and realize that I need to be present and purposeful in everything I do. I can't just be purposeful at the beginning and then put it on auto-pilot. I can't just have the right motivation to start something, and then rely on the initial push to give me the momentum to see it through. Sometimes I start something the right way, and then get so caught up in the details or the problems of doing the thing that I forget about the purpose of it. I don't want to do that. I want to finish well. The bible puts it this way, in 2 Corinthians 8:11, "So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have." In other words, don't let the details and trials make you lose sight of what you set out to do.
Like Homeschooling. I have to constantly remember what my overall, main goal is for educating my kids. Certainly I need to have integrity and diligence in the way I school them. Of course I need to hold myself, and them, to the standards that are set for their grade/age. However, my main purpose for educating my kids is that they would glorify God better because I have the chance to influence them ,and allow the Holy Spirit to influence them, all day. That I have been able to engage in meaningful, relational discussions about important things. Life things. Discussions that cannot be manufactured, discussions that are relevant because real questions arise during the living out of daily life. I have to remember that even if I get impatient, or if they don't always focus, or if I'm not the BEST homeschooling mom alive, that is ok. I don't need to do a whole bunch of extra activities, or force my kids to do a ton of extra work so they are doing more than "The Joneses". If I doing the next right thing on the path that leads me to my goal.... then I am doing a good job. Unless I stay focused on my original purpose, it's tempting to allow pride, fear, or comparisons with others to force me onto a different path.
Like being a wife. I like my home to run smoothly. I like to cook dinner every night,(ok, ALMOST every night....) and make sure that Wade has a lunch box full of things he wants to eat every afternoon. I like my house clean. But again, I need to be clear on what my purpose is as a wife. Of course it has an element of all of the things I just mentioned. They are necessary, good things. Ultimately however, I can get wrapped up in doing all of those good, helpful things, and forget that I need to be praying for Wade, encourage him, be there when he needs to talk. I need speak well of him, and represent him well to others. If he comes home to a really clean house and a well-cooked meal, but I am totally full of resentment or ticked off about something and ready to give him an earful, I've missed the mark.
Like running a race. I know this one all too well. You can train for an endurance event, like a marathon, or a triathlon, and show up ready. You can have on the right clothing, not-too-worn-out-shoes, sunscreen, and have the right water pack. You can have a map of the course. But you have to be intentional, THE WHOLE RACE, about eating and drinking. If you are not purposeful about it, you will forget. You won't be hungry or thirsty until it is too late, and you're behind on your nutrition and hydration. Clearly this was not the intention when starting the race. There needs to be a goal, a plan, and a system to make sure you don't forget to USE the plan!
Ok, seriously this is waaaay too long. I think I swam too many laps today! I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a good thing to constantly and purposefully know what you are doing, and why. Otherwise, you may end up in the wrong city, wearing a swim cap, goggles, and one of those horrendously ugly lap suits when you are supposed to be doing a trail run. And nobody wants to see that. Nobody.