Sunday, March 4, 2012

Obstacle Courses

This is something I wrote about 3 years ago. I modified it some today...

One of my fondest childhood memories is of how Dad would make long and challenging obstacle course races for my siblings and I to enjoy. He laid down tires for us to run through, logs to hurdle over, all kinds of natural environmental objects, as well as creative man made items; anything you can imagine, he could and would use to create some type of obstacle for us kids to struggle though as we ran from point A to point B.

We loved those courses! They were challenging! They were fun! And when you got to the other end you had a rewarding sense of accomplishment.

I recall being mindful of myself as I raced across, comparing my progress with that of another racer, my opponent, or my own best time. The competition was exciting. The thrill of the possibility of winning was exciting. I always felt so capable there, and though I could be quite klutzy, I was still quite sure that I would do well.

I loved it when dad made the courses ultra challenging; the greater the challenge or difficulty, the greater the achievement in the end. I focused on my goal; and the obstacles added an element of excitement that made the goal worth pursuing.

As I thought of these fun obstacle courses and my goals to reach the end of each successfully, I found myself comparing them to the bigger goals and obstacles that entered my life as I grew older, and to the ways in which I approached them.

I had goals to be a wife and mother, to go to college. I pressed forth eagerly, and with no worry of the obstacles that lay before me. Like the child that ran the obstacle courses in my parents’ yard, I knew that I could accomplish my goals and had no worries about impeding obstacles.

How interesting it is to me that while in my youth, I viewed not only this game in such positive light, but the games of life as well. How wonderful it was each time I enjoyed a new course in my life and wasn’t too overwhelmed by the obstacles that stood between me and my goals. In my youth, I dove into life full force, fearlessly. Life was exciting. I was productive.

But as time went on, I began to do too much. I became very overwhelmed.

I went through a phase where I lost, off and on, some of the childlike faith that had previously propelled me on with such determination. Though I was older, stronger, and more experienced, I also noticed and focused on obstacles so much more than I had in the past. It made me tired.

For a time, I did way too much with no balance between work and relaxation; It was like running course after course and never resting... I also thought about my struggles (obstacles in life) more than I though about my goals and why I was working through those struggles. Thus, I became too burnt out to run, too burnt out to see. For a good part of one year, I actually, honestly, seemed kind of lazy (major shock to me – I thought it was impossible for me to ever be at all lazy!) Perhaps not truly lazy, just too tired to run. In my exhaustion, I stepped back from many of the obstacles that lay before me, thus, I stepped back from some of the races themselves. I stopped running the race of life.

I learned from it though. I learned the hard way to not to run faster than I have strength; I learned to do things not only for others, but also for myself, to refuel my own tank, to let myself take breaks and to enjoy life more fully. I finally learned the importance of balancing work and play, and to not work so hard that it became debilitating. And I learned the importance of focusing on goals, rather than on obstacles.

Though the bliss ignorance of not anticipating obstacles is gone, the knowledge that OBSTACLES will strengthen me, give me experience, and can not keep me from accomplishing my goals remains in it's place.

I’m thankful for rest.
I’m thankful for rejuvenation. 

I am thankful to again see through an old perspective I had long ago, ironically, the faith and perspective of a child.

And I am SO thankful to be running the races of life! :D


  1. It's so hard (yet so important) to remember that life has hard things - but not focus on them. We shouldn't expect life to be all roses, but we can be more focused on the roses, and I think that helps sometimes :)

  2. I SOOO agree! I think we all have times in our lives when we need to be reminded that WE CAN CHOOSE what we focus on. Thanks for the great reminder/comment! :)

  3. Nice post it was, thanks for sharing this to us, looking forward always for more updates. Great information that shared, I learned a lot from your post.

  4. JB - I'm glad you liked it; thanks for letting me know. :) I hope to soon be updating this blog again...


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