We all need goals. Without goals we flounder — flop around undirected, unfocused, unscheduled, unproductive — and our ends will be unrealized. Once we have set our goals, have our race clearly laid out, there are several things that can lead us astray, obscuring our view of the finish line.
We serve what we fear. Or to say it in another way:
[B]y what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.2 Peter 2:19
Fear your neighbor’s opinion? Your neighbor runs your life.
Fear you will not be up for the task? You will not be up for the task — you can’t — your fear of the task will prevent you from stepping out in faith.
To act wisely, our actions need to be ruled by a healthy “fear of the Lord” and a willingness to serve and trust Him.
To get to the finish line, we cannot be led off-course by our fears.
2. Letting the Book Run the Race
If we have set our goals and have subsequently purchased those materials that will meet our goals, we’re in good shape.
If, on the other hand, we have made our curriculum purchases without verifying that they are leading us in the direction in which we wish to go, our curriculum may be leading us astray. And frankly, with the multitude of material choices now before us, it is easy to be swayed! It is easy to get hijacked by a bandwagon!
Knowing where we’re going helps us keep that finish line in sight.
3. Letting the Gurus Run the Race
We all appreciate those who have gone before us, and love pulling from their experiences. And isn’t it wonderful to have an example to follow — someone who has reached the finish line with verified results.
Problem: Their results reflect their willingness to provide a unique education for their children that reflects their family.
Translated: Your results may vary.
We can keep our own goals for our own children in sight, pull those bits and pieces from the gurus that fit us, and still pursue our own path — with our finish line firmly in sight.
Nothing makes us lose sight quicker than our own sin. Even a “little sin” — worry, a bad attitude, unthankfulness, grumbling and complaining, a sharp word, an unloving act, coveting a fellow homeschooler’s “better” situation, and the list could go on and on — can leave us off-course.
Keeping the weeds of sin nipped helps the garden grow, so to speak — and keeps our line of sight clear!
5. Over-thinking the Race
This is one of those areas from which I can particularly speak from loads of experience. Ahem.
Checklist? Check. Time to switch gears? Check. Lunch at 12:00:00? Check. Children in their rooms reading for reading time on time? Check. Kissed hubby? Check. You get the idea….
We should be diligent. We should be persistent and persevere. We have to do all of these things in love — or we clang. My get ‘r-done attitude runs right over the atmosphere like a bull in a china shop — with about the same results. My efforts reflect a right focus, simply out of focus — a Martha to-do list instead of a Mary agenda.
Remember, the finish line — what it is … and what it is not!
6. Winning at All Costs
“You will perform. Now.”
Nothing has the ability to steer us off-track more than too-high expectations!
7. Drowning in the Preparation
It is so easy to do. A million tiny details creep up on us each day. Hundreds of decisions.
Sometimes the small daily cares obscure the finish line. Time to refocus!
8. Losing Track of the Track
When our priorities get out of line, we are no longer in the right race!
9. Not Showing Up
What a fast-paced, interactive, interesting, … and overwhelming time we live in! If I’m running short on ideas, I can find more ideas in a second than I could use in a lifetime! And they all sound great!! Well, if our “must try” folder is overflowing, we have probably consumed all of the creativity (and time) that we can hold.
To keep the finish line in sight, we need to be a “doer” — actually run the race!
10. Forgetting to Pray
Without Him we can do nothing. If we are not consistently in His Word, we are trying to finish the race without the power to do so.
Each one of these areas can boil down to one word — focus. The runner of a race always has the finish line in focus.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.1 Corinthians 9:24, 25a