Always

Anyone working toward anything will eventually land on a plateau.  Some sooner, some later, some multiple times.  A place where skill development and motivation are stagnant.  It often provokes frustration, but it’s not necessarily a bad place.  From careers and athletics to housekeeping and relationships, plateaus are everywhere.  The runner in me, as well as the mother, volunteer, student, reader, writer, attorney, wife, and friend, has been there.  Despite its flatness and apparent lack of adventure, the plateau can provide rest and strength.  It can inspire us to keep climbing.  Or, we can get comfortable, adjust to what it offers, and settle in.  It’s then that danger can settle in with us.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

I’ve been on some high plateaus.  Places where I’ve reached goals and am content.  Things are good, and I’m not seeking challenges or improvements.  It’s time to relax and enjoy.  Relax and enjoy we should, but if we get too comfortable, we can get trapped in a danger zone where we’re vulnerable.  Destructive attitudes of arrogance, pride, laziness, and a judgmental heart will attack.  The only question is when.  On my faith walk, I’ve been to a plateau with a lot of prayers, church, Bible studies, and good deeds.  It’s a beautiful place with a good view.  And, it’s a good place to stay.  But, there’s danger in doing the same things, the same way, over and over.  If we camp there without continually going deeper – learning, improving, seeking, exploring, challenging – the view from that beautiful place can become one of judgment and a slew of other transgressions.  We begin to feel in control, making it harder to place our trust in God alone.  Humility gets inadvertently pushed off the plateau into the valley below.  If it takes a valley to accomplish what God wills for me, I welcome it.  But, if I can avoid it by leaving the plateau with God’s grace and seeking a higher, more humble place, I choose the climb.  Our relationship with God and our love for Him and others can always be stronger.  A higher, more improved place is out there, no matter where you’re sitting.  It may not be more money, power, or improved athletic or work performance, but it might be more peace, understanding, and love to share.  We’re all running to something, whether it be destruction or the prize to which God’s calling us.  We can run full speed, half-hearted, or with little effort at the back of the pack.  If we want God’s prize, sitting on a plateau of beliefs and taking comfort in our “good” location is not the fastest way to get there.  Instead, let’s take a rest, enjoy the view, and keep moving up.

Dear God, please help us continually seek You and improve ourselves to be more like You.

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