Hello, how are you, g’day and welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!


An opening of the honesty box at the expense of seeming weird is probably pretty well overdue in this series. You might already think I’m an odd cookie, but perhaps I can help you out and let you know for sure.

Kidding. I guess.

So, a certain little holiday is just around the corner here in North America, which is also celebrated in some other parts of the world. And it is my least favorite holiday, ever. I REALLY don’t enjoy diverting my children’s eyes from all the blood and gore lining the aisles of some of the stores we visit. And on a road trip earlier this month, there were awful, awful images on billboards — bloody, gory, scary people staring right off the road into the car, inviting people to visit some corn field where they could get so scared they might wet their pants.

Fortunately the kiddos were distracted and we kept on truckin’.

In our neighborhood, however, there’s a little tradition of dressing up, the families getting together to share a meal, and the kids walking around the neighborhood together, to collect their beloved candy.

I love love love getting to know my neighbors better and getting to spend time with them so we are totally keen to jump in again this year. Even though it is my least favorite holiday. 

The boys have been chatting about what they’d like to dress up as, pretty much since last year, and they came to the conclusion that they wanted to be the Wild Kratts. {Two brothers, one with blonde hair, one with brown, who travel the world on creature adventures… it is very fitting for our little guys.}

So the Hubs and I finally chatted a bit about costumes last night. And I found myself strangely torn… we’re getting to the weird spot, so bare with me.


As we went to bed last night, I was praying and talking to the Lord about the fact that my children are always asking me for things, and it kind of weighs me down, and I wondered if, since the Lord’s children are always asking Him for things, does it weigh Him down, too? Like, does He ever long for, and desire intimate relationship with His children that is not based on the exchange of goods and services?

And then, thinking about what our children want versus what they need, and the boundaries we set, (but how do we find them?), I asked:

How do I find a balance — world hunger vs. Halloween costumes? How do I practically live this out?

And I realized that one issue was framing a lot of things for me. Maybe it seems weird, but it is what it is, and maybe it’s because I have seen what I’ve seen and been where I’ve been, but when I spend money on non-necessities here, I constantly think about the non-negotiables someone else is missing somewhere else.

So I try my best to live frugally and give generously, but I think there’s an underlying layer of guilt that just frames everything to do with finances. Because we have what we have, and while by American standards it might not seem like much, I know better. I’ve seen.

I asked this question and sat still, and took a breath, and then opened my Bible. I just so happened to come to a passage of Scripture, which was the next one for me to read on my reading plan, that took my breath away with the answer.

In Matthew 26, this woman anoints Jesus with oil from her alabaster jar. The oil in that jar was very costly, like a years’ wages some scholars imagine, and the disciples were indignant about it. “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

But when Jesus was aware of what was going on in their hearts, this was His reply: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Two very important lessons were contained in this passage for me last night.

First, Jesus explained that We will always have the poor… Now that doesn’t mean we give up on the poor, give up on making a difference with regard to the poverty we see in the world around us. We are specifically instructed to care for the poor, and Jesus went so far as to explain to John, when asked if He was the Messiah, that, among other signs that He was the One (the blind see, the deaf hear…) He mentioned that The poor have the gospel preached to them. Caring for the poor is close to the heart of God.

However, the fact that there are poor people in the world cannot define all of our actions.

Solving the problem of poverty cannot be the cause that gets us out of bed in the morning. Nor can the environment, not can the AIDS epidemic, orphans or politics.

This is where the question comes in: What or Who Are You Swimming For?

A few months ago, I shared a post here about cloth diapering. I’d been at it for well over a year, and, at the core, it was just something I felt convicted to do for the sake of the environment and to be financially thrifty. I felt a tug about it and jumped in.

Shortly after I wrote that post, I got a sense that the Lord was telling me to take a break from cloth diapering. The Hubs also suggested that we take a break.

I didn’t want to take a break. But finally, it seemed clear that that was the Lord’s direction, so I did.

Just a few days later, the Belle came down with an awful stomach bug. While I’ll spare you the details, I will just simply explain that I was very grateful I’d listened to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obeyed God. She was wearing disposables… glory, hallelujah!

This is the second important lesson from Matthew 26: Caring for the poor is a high calling, but following Jesus is a higher calling. Every single conviction that God has ever or will ever place on our hearts has to remain secondary to the call to love and follow Christ. Let’s put it this way:

Every conviction has to have Christ at the Center or it will be elevated above Christ in the end.

I sometimes resist the leading of the Spirit to cling to the comfort of an old conviction.

We’ve come back to Hebrews 12 repeatedly throughout this series, and guess what? this is a very appropriate moment to do so again:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Where do we fix our eyes as we swim the race of our lives?

Only always ever on Jesus.

We might all be surprised to realize that there are things we are clinging to in the Name of Christ, that might actually be distracting us from truly following Christ, listening to His Spirit, and daily submitting to His will.

He has to be the one that we’re swimming for — every cause, every conviction, every care has to come in second. What freedom we can find when we simply fix our eyes on Jesus!!

I’m grateful that this moment has reframed a lot of life for me. How do we decide how best to swim forward with our race?

Thank goodness it’s simple, because I’m not hungry for making things complicated. We keep on looking at Jesus.

Swim well today, friends.