My deepest childhood fear was always a fear of failure, so I never tried anything new. When I was in my teens a family friend noted, "Eva doesn't have any backbone. She's spineless."
As an adult I've struggled with following through on hard things. Often I'm tempted to give up, run away or withdraw. But God is greater than my weakness.
My paraphrase from Hebrews 12:1 (TLB) is His Word to me: "Strip off anything that slows you down or holds you back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves around your feet and trip you up; and run with patience the particular race that God has set before you. Run . . . endure . . . agonize . . . persevere . . .
A memory--I'm nine years old and my brothers and I have a job picking strawberries at the neighbor's place a mile down the road then another quarter or so after the crossroads. We have to walk to get there but it doesn't matter.
At least not at first. The morning was cool and we were excited about the money we'd earn. The neighbor would pay us twenty-five cents for every carrier we picked. Except the sun shone hot and the day stretched long.
At 2 o'clock I stuffed a single dollar into my pocket and headed home. The details of that walk are still vivid. My brothers took off ahead and I plodded along alone.
A long stretch of road bordered by fields meant sunshine all the way. But a huge oak alongside the road offered a slight reprieve. After that, more sunshine, and a wooded area where sheep grazed. I fixed my eyes on the dense shade cast by those fir trees and kept on. After that, more sunshine, and then the trees along our driveway welcomed me. My knees trembled by this time, and my face felt like it was on fire. But I wasn't going to stop.
I opened the front door and looked inside. My eye caught my reflection in a mirror on an opposite wall. I couldn't tell where the red strawberry juice around my mouth ended and the sunburn on my cheeks began. But I had made it.
I stepped across the threshold. I was home, home at last.