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The Necessity of Blinders

It's easy to get sidetracked when you're looking around too much. Too much left. Too much right. Too much behind, over your shoulder, and around the corner. Too much looking down.

When you're not keeping your eyes straight ahead on what you plan to achieve. On your prize.

Are you doing that?

I am. Sometimes.

Honestly, more than sometimes.

It's easy to do. To have a goal in front of you that everyone else seems to be reaching, faster, more efficiently, and more successfully is eye catching. While you're firing all your four cylinders, everyone around you zooms by on double that. In your race, everyone else seems to have access to the latest sports cars.

You can't help but look!

And be impressed!

Which can make you feel a little unimpressed with your own push off the starting line. But what if your race doesn't include competitors? What if your race was YOURS only? What if you are only supposed to race YOU?

How impressed would you be with yourself?

My author friend Cathy and I laughed ourselves silly recently when reading a post by a fellow author that said she felt as though she often sat on a shore watching everyone else sail by. I told Cathy I never feel that way. I'm in the water! Feeling as though other people are in speedboats racing me by, drinks in hand, my little slow-moving one-person sabot nearly capsizing as I watch them pass with their flags of accomplishments flying behind them.

I need to focus on what I am working on, at my own pace. I have my own little flags! At least I'm in the boat, for crying out loud! What's my problem anyway?

Seriously, we can all relate to one degree or another. Thanks social media.

My youngest daughter, Grace, is a competitive swimmer. She always has one eye on the wall and the other on the lanes next to her. Though her father always tells her to stay forward focused, Grace excels in knowing where her competitors are. Keeping ahead of the pack propels her forward. I have to say, it works for her.

This methodology, however, isn't for everyone. It isn't supposed to be.

When I was a figure skater, I never watched my competition at practice. I couldn't. I didn't have the stomach for it! In warm-up, when all the other girls were psyching each other up, I kept my eyes on the ice, so to speak. When the competition began and the others were skating their programs, I retreated into my own world. It was the only way I could stand the pressure. I wouldn't have been able to stand otherwise, let alone skate!

Besides, I knew then what I still know today.

The only competition I have is me.

Blinders are often a good thing.

Horses are outfitted with blinders so as to keep them from looking beside and behind them. Blinders reduce visual distractions so the horse doesn't get sidetracked. This is especially important when pulling wagons. Blinders keep them from panicking and lashing out so as to overturn their cargo. Blinders keep them and their people safe.

Perhaps it's time we pull out our blinders and put them on so our hearts, rather than our eyes, can feed our minds. Perhaps what we need to better race is better focus and less distraction. Perhaps it's time for a re-evaluation of the truth. Blinders will help us do that.

Competition can be a good thing. It can drive us to succeed, make us better, give us strength. But there are some races we were never meant to share. Those that God has called us to. The ones he planned for us to run in our own good, sweet time. Those we were suppose to walk or swim or even float on our backs doing. It's good to remember this.

Our races don't have to look like anyone else's.

We need to stay in our own lanes, in our own races to the finish line. We need to stay our own customized courses, be confident in forward momentum and patient in hope of completion. We need to give ourselves permission to slow at times and even to stop on occasion--to take a nap, enjoy the sunshine. Do those dishes.

Deal with life.

Participation isn't to be confused with completion. Completion will come with participation.

Participation requires perseverance and patience. And a look ahead so as to avoid stumbling to overturn our wagons.

Whatever your project, no matter the goal, God will help you reach completion. The timing is his when you trust him to the finish line. The determination is yours to believe you'll reach it.

I am remembering this myself today. I'll cross it. I will! And I'll be patient in the wait, knowing the timing is perfectly, providentially planned.

I'm determined to be impressed and press on to the prize!

Now, where did I put those blinders and little flags? It's time to get back in my sabot and sail on.


"For as the rain comes down, and

the snow from heaven,

and do not return there,

but water the earth,

and make it bring forth and bud,

that it may give seed to the sower

and bread to the eater,

so shall My word be that goes

forth from My mouth;

it shall not return to me void,

but it shall accomplish what I please,

and it shall prosper in the thing

for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:10-11