When Lolo Jones tells of her fall on the ninth hurdle of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the women’s 100m hurdles gold medal race, she simply says, “I should have just relaxed a bit and just run.” When she fell, Jones was winning the race and on her way to a gold medal.
Jones’ thoughts before the fall centered on how she should be running and jumping. “I was telling myself to make sure you don’t get sloppy in your technique,” she says in a Time, July 30, 2012 interview. “So I overtried. I tightened up a bit too much. That’s when I hit the hurdle.”
While most of us will not likely run a race in the Olympics, or even qualify for the Olympics in any sport for that matter, we can relate to the idea of over-trying, tightening up, and crashing.
Focusing Too Much on How
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
How can I strengthen my faith? How can I stop worrying? How can I have more patience, kindness, and self-control? How can I trust God more? I can “relax, and just run” and let what I have learned, the foundation that has been secured for me (1 Corinthians 3:11), become automatic and naturally flow from me as I focus on Christ.
I can listen to the Holy Spirit gently impress on me the knowledge that I am over-thinking the “How?” of living for Christ. Instead, as I focus on him, I can better learn and live these principles:
- “Faith comes by hearing…” (Romans 10:17)
- “Ask, and it will be given…” (Matthew 7:7)
- “Seek, and you will find…” (Matthew 7:7)
- “Wait on the Lord…” (Psalm 27:14)
Hear. Ask. Seek. Wait.
When I finally “relax and just run,” I am able to hear, ask, seek, and wait in ways that makes all the weight of trying to figure out “How?” fall away.
All that entangles, all the hurdles in my path, fall away as I focus on Jesus. When I stop thinking about “How?” so much, I loosen up, quit trying so hard to figure life out, and let God be God. Only then am I truly able to run the race marked out for me with victory.