Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The one with the porridge

Wednesday mornings are always busy for me - which is why I make sure I have a good breakfast before I leave the house.  This morning was no different - well - at least at the beginning.  After my two cups of tea I got out of bed and made my way downstairs for breakfast.  One sachet of Oats-So-Simple left - great!  Just what was needed on this cold Wednesday morning.  I grabbed a bowl, ripped open the sachet, emptied contents into bowl, filled with milk and placed in the microwave.  I set it for the required two minutes and left it cooking.  Great :)  Well ... that was ... until I walked back into the kitchen after the microwave had 'pinged' to inform me the two minutes were up.  You see when I opened up the microwave I found that my porridge had exploded!  Grrrrr!!

Yes, I was annoyed!  I had left the microwave doing its job and it had messed up!  It had ruined my breakfast.  Or had it?  Was it more the case that I had wandered off, packed my bag for the day, folded some washing, turned the laptop on and loaded up Facebook?   Yes, I think it probably was.  Had I popped back and stirred the porridge as directed, and kept my eye on it, I would have probably managed to avoid the explosion!  I wanted that porridge and was really looking forward to it - so what happened?  Quite simply:  I got distracted.

How often do we see this happen in our lives?  We start something off, excited and full of good intentions.  Maybe we start a healthy eating regime, plan to get fit, write a journal, buy all our Christmas presents early, or develop a deeper relationship with God.  All goes well at first, we enjoy the challenge, and keep on target.  Things are good.  However, after a while we start to slip.  We have a few too many take-aways, watch a series on the telly, spend a bit more time with friends at the pub, or neglect our Bible reading for a few days - and suddenly we find we have been distracted and our porridge has exploded!  Our plan hasn't worked out.  We didn't keep it up.

I know this feeling well!  I have lost count of the amount of times I have attempted to lose weight and get fit - and failed!  More importantly, its scary how often I realise that I am not spending as much time reading the Bible or praying as I ought to be, and set out to put this right - again and again! 

How does this happen?

I guess, a better question to ask would be 'how can I stop this happening again?'

The writer of Hebrews has something useful for us here with his analogy of a race (Hebrews 12 vs 1-2).  Running a race takes a lot of training if we are to run it well and finish.  It isn't always easy.  It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.   We might find it slightly easier if we have a training partner to work with and encourage us - but we still need to put the effort in and push through the pain barriers and exhaustion!

If all this sounds too difficult, there is further help in the passage - for it tells us to 'fix our eyes' ... to focus!   In order to reach the end and avoid all the distractions we need to have a focus.  We need to keep the end result in mind.  If I had kept my focus on the porridge I probably wouldn't have allowed it to explode.

Although the analogy of the race can be stretched to cover almost any of the targets we might set ourselves, it is of course,  referring to the most important 'race' we will ever run - and that is our life with God.  We must try and avoid the distractions that stop us running our race by 'fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.' (vs 2)  Can I encourage you - wherever you are in your race to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  He will help you to avoid distractions, and will encourage you to keep running with perseverance - even when faced with adversity and exhaustion.

Perhaps you would benefit from finding yourself a trainer - someone who will run with you, encouraging you and cheering you on - but ultimately - the only way you are going to finish the race marked out for you is by keeping your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus :)

Enjoy the run!

Oh - and just to finish the story - I ended up having Crunchy Nut Cornflakes for breakfast.  Not quite as good as porridge - but did the trick :)

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