Scripture

Hebrews 12:1-2

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Reflection

“Whatever I ‘align’’ myself with are the very things that will create a ‘line’ into my future.”

― Craig D. Lounsbrough, An Intimate Collision: Encounters with Life and Jesus

 As a teenager, one of my favorite Olympians was Michael Johnson— “The man with the golden shoes.” He was an incredible athlete, having won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships. However, he had what some experts at the time characterized as an “unorthodox form.” Where most of his competitors ran leaning forward, Mike ran completely upright. For some people, he kind of looked like a duck when he ran. Those experts tried to convince him to run differently, but Mike was fortunate. He had a coach, a team, supporters around him that saw things differently. His coach worked with some of the Olympic committee sports scientists. They found that Mike’s running style was actually more efficient. His posture, balance, and symmetry, a product of his natural build and given talent, made him more able to gain momentum and reach top speeds faster and more efficiently than his competition. He was able to put more power in the ground, and power in the ground, for a sprinter, equals speed.

Mike learned a truth that we can learn from today. In this race, we call life, we must each run our respective races. Running well involves at least three primary considerations—alignment, strength, and breathing. For my next three contributions to our Daily First 15, I will talk about running our race well. Today, I want to talk about that first consideration—alignment. For a runner, alignment is everything. Runners train with a proper posture, because how you align yourself impacts the amount of power you can generate. To run well, you want to have a straight line from your ears, to your shoulders, to your hips, to your knees. You want to hold this alignment with minimal rocking in your upper body, so your power can be concentrated into the ground. But you don’t only train this way, you want to practice this alignment in your day to day living. For a runner, awareness of your posture is just a way of life. You unlearn bad habits and replace them with better habits focused on the race you are planning to run. Alignment isn’t accidental; it’s intentional. Your posture away from the track will be your default on the track.

If we are going to run our race well, we must be properly aligned. If we are the body, then the body must be aligned with the head. We, in this race, we call life, must have alignment with God. And this isn’t a one-time thing. We perfect what we practice. We must day by day, minute by minute, moment by moment, align and realign with God. Have you ever ridden in a car when the alignment is off? The vehicle can move, but the ride is bumpy. The car tends to steer away from the center. The tires begin to wear at alarming and uneven rates. The life of the whole vehicle is affected by the alignment. Similarly, when the car of our life is misaligned with God, our life moves, but the ride is bumpy. We find ourselves veering into lanes that are not our own, and things in our life seem to break down at alarming and uneven rates. Our relationships… breaking down. Our focus… breaking down. Our well-being… breaking down. Our life breaks down.

Some of us, right now, might be feeling the effects of a misaligned life, and it’s time to get a tune-up. It’s time to get some things in order. It’s time to bring the car of your life into the shop to get reset. If we are going to run a smooth race, if we are going to run well, alignment is crucial.

 Reflective Questions

  1. Are you currently finding things in your life breaking down (peace, joy, relationships, etc.)?

  2. If so, where might you be misaligned?

  3. If not, what preventative measures can you undertake to ensure you remain properly aligned?

 

Prayer

God, you’ve promised to never leave or forsake us. We confess that You abandoning us is not the problem. We find ourselves, more often than we tend to discuss, wandering from you. We all are, at times, like sheep gone astray; everyone to his or her own way. We are prone to wander, Lord, and in our wanderings, we misalign ourselves with lesser things. Help us, God, to align and realign with You. Help us to run this race well. In our day to day moments, help us to live this life with you. In Jesus’ name, we offer this prayer. Amen.