I’ll admit, I’m a bit intrigued by these photos of Phelps from the 2016 Olympics. Why? Because as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Picture #1 sent the Internet into a frenzy. One look and you know that Phelps has his game face on. This “death glare” soon became known as #PhelpsFace. And according to Phelps, even as Chad le Clos was shadow boxing in front of him, he refused to give the man even one small glance. Phelps went on to say, “I was trying not to really look” at Chad le Clos. “He does his thing, I do my thing.”
Picture #2 speaks for itself. During the 200M Butterfly, Chad le Clos was caught looking over at Phelps. And before we know it, Phelps took home the victory. Le Clos lost his focus and that one distraction may have cost him the gold medal.
As women who are leaders in business and ministry, these two pictures have two big lessons for us.
Whether we realize it or not, we are in a war every single day. Why? Because the enemy doesn’t want you to fulfill your calling. And because he doesn’t want you to live out your life for the Glory of God, he will do whatever he can to distract you and keep you stressed, confused, fearful and timid. All he wants is for you to give him one small glance because once you do; he knows he’s got you.
But as bold, courageous women who are solely focused on who God has created us to be and what He has called us to do, we have to have our game face on at all times. We have to not look at “him.” We have to realize that no matter how many times “he” tries to “shadow box” in front of us, we will not glance, we will not be distracted. We are here to win.
Lesson #2 emphasizes the importance of running our race and staying in our lane. The enemy wants us to stay put and not move forward with God’s plan for us. As we overcome the urge to not run our race, we will in turn, start running. Although we may start out strong, the race can be difficult and long. We can be certain that he’ll be back at it, trying to distract us. Instead of focusing on the lane that God has us in, and the goal that God has us running towards, we might start looking at the runners in the other lanes; the things that they are doing, the successes that they are having. And before we know it, that one glance, that one distraction has caused us to lose focus of our lane, our race, our calling. And ultimately, it might cost us what God had waiting for us all along at the finish line.
When it comes to running our race in this thing called life, focus is of utmost importance. Focus brings clarity and focus brings freedom. And ultimately, focus brings victory.
For a moment, let’s think back to Noah in the Bible. Some say it took 55 years for Noah to build the ark. Can you imagine the focus it took to keep moving forward in building that HUGE boat when there was no rain in site? Can you imagine the people that were probably mocking him and thinking that he was nothing but a crazy old man?
Because Noah was so focused on his assignment, he had clarity. What everyone else was doing and saying had no affect on him. And because he had clarity he had freedom; freedom from stress, worry, confusion. He knew what his assignment was and nothing was going to deter him from completing it. And ultimately, his focus brought him and his family victory; they were saved from the horrendous flooding that killed every other living thing.
What gets us into trouble and causes us to have fears, doubts, stress and worries is that we lose focus. We end up glancing at what everyone else is doing and before we know it, we start comparing. And in no time, we find ourselves in this vicious cycle that has trapped us for far too many years.
We must never forget this truth from God: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 1:6
God has begun a good work in us and if we will keep our eyes focused on Him alone, He will complete that good work in us. So much so that at the end of our life, we will be able to proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:7
Maybe today you just don’t feel ready. You don’t feel like you can complete the race. You’re tired, worn out and the finish line just seems so far away.
“Did Moses feel ready to return to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let his people go? No. It seemed an impossible mission. Did Gideon feel ready to go strike down the Midianites and save Israel? No. Did Jeremiah feel ready to be a prophet to the nations? No. Did young Mary, a virgin teenager, feel ready to carry the Son of God in her womb? No. God’s word records the accounts of their questions, protests, reservations, and please demonstrating that they didn’t feel ready. God didn’t ask them whether they felt ready. He decided they were ready.” ~Christine Caine
Even though you may not feel ready, if God has called you, then He has decided that you are ready and all you have to start doing is running that race in your lane.
- You’ve been hand chosen by God to run this race.
- You’ve been given a specific “lane” to run in.
- You’ve been given a clear focus that allows you to overcome the distractions of the enemy.
- “Run in such a way that you may win.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24
- You are running the race of a lifetime.
Victory is waiting for you at the finish line!