Summer is on its way! In classic spring-cleaning fashion, my family took on a few outside home improvement projects in preparation for spending more time there. Our teenage son was drafted for the job of helping refinish our patio.

It was a long strenuous project on a Saturday, that none of us particularly enjoyed…although there was a portion of my mom heart that was glad for a project that required all “hands on deck” (pun intended!)

My son, who is still learning how to be a hard worker, was pacing himself (to say the least!) It was almost laughable the amount of water breaks he required. It seemed that if we had a flow of conversation while working, certain thoughts required him to stop painting to consider his answers, rather than being able to work steady through the chit chat. My husband and I kept laughing with each other, reminding him to get back to work, and that he could talk and roll on paint at the same time.

Five pm rolled around, and we were three-fourths of the way finished. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then got back to work, much to my son’s surprise and obvious dismay. At around 7pm, the shadows were beginning to overtake the light in the backyard. My son finally asked a crucial question: “When are we gonna stop working? Can we finish tomorrow?”

I walked over, turned on the lights over the patio, and let him know that we planned to paint until we were done. All of a sudden it was like a fire was lit under my son. He had energy, vigor, and a goal. It only took one more hour to do the amount of work that had previously taken us nearly two hours.

It dawned on me, that he was working with a different finish line than we were, so his engagement was different as well! He thought we were going to stop when a certain hour approached. We knew we would stop when the job was done, no matter the hour. This got me thinking about my work for the Lord.

I wonder if I have the same goal or finish line that God has for me. Am I aiming for the same things He has for me? Hebrew’s 12:1 encourages us to run with perseverance, the race set before us. Sometimes, I do not feel like God and I are on the same page about the race I’m running. I can feel “off”, not sure of my purpose, or which lane I’m supposed to be in. Is this a daily race? Or a finish line at the very end? Maybe a combination of both? Is salvation the goal? Or does God have bigger plans than even that?

Two lessons to be learned from this short passage of scripture: 1) God sets the race, and 2) I need to keep running, even if I get off course. The goal is set by the Lord, not necessarily by me. What a humbling realization that is. I can set goals such as 100% church attendance, or reading my Bible every day, or even witnessing to 100 people this year. But my ultimate goal needs to be surrendered to God’s plans for me: the race set before me!

I need to never stop trying to please God, not editing the process according to my desires and expectations. Allowing the Lord to determine when I’ve grown enough, given enough, said enough, or surrendered enough is the goal.

So, what are you aiming for? Are you and God on the same page? Have you checked in recently to see if you’re working on the things that He wants you to work on in your life and for His Kingdom?

I know that sometimes I get off course. I know sometimes I lack the perseverance to stay moving and stay in my assigned lane. I pray that today you find fresh vigor and enthusiasm to run the race set before you!


Candace Cortez is Executive Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at or 559-582-1528.