Running a Better Race – Hebrews 12:1-3

There is no shame in starting something and not being able to finish it. That’s what I told myself when I decided to learn how to write for publication at what I thought was an advanced age. I didn’t know what my writing path would look like – I just knew I wanted to approach it with gusto.

It’s been a wonderful journey. The writing and publishing professionals I’ve worked with have enriched my life in many ways, and I thank God that he has made himself known through our efforts.

Recently, however, my trail took a turn that had made it clear that in order to proceed I needed to put some of my projects aside.

As I mentioned on the Story Night podcast which is linked in an earlier post, I have a book nearing completion. It brought me finalist status in the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade contest. Editors from three different publishing houses asked to see it when finished.

But now the book is on the shelf, and it may never be finished.

One of my favorite photos of Colby, my sister-in-law, shows her perched on a narrow mountain path overlooking a deep canyon. The trail demands climbers stay focused as they move along single file. When one wants to pass another, both parties keep a grip on the chain with one hand at all times.

Colby said she trained for months before making the climb, knowing that accomplishing it would be worth the effort.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

At this time I don’t feel I’m targeted by hostile forces, as the verses in Hebrews 12 mention. My struggle is with chronic pain associated with joint issues in multiple sites. In order to run my life race on the course marked out for me, I must lighten my load.

And like my sister-in-law was thankful for the chain anchored on the side of the mountain, I appreciate the limitations that inform me of where my boundaries are. I just pray I remain faithful, and not become weary or fainthearted, that I might continue to work with what God gives me.

While reading Paul’s letters to the believers at Philippi and Colossae this week, I came to the realization that the apostle suffered difficulties in his life’s work, too. Being chained in prison surely wasn’t part of his ideal plan. He planned to take more trips to strengthen the believers in the churches he oversaw, but he was detained.

And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received from the Lord.” I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Colossians 4:16-18 ESV

Perhaps, if Paul hadn’t been restrained in prison, he wouldn’t have written the letters that teach and encourage believers even today. His limitations helped build my faith.

Let’s also remember each other’s chains, and pray for each other. And may we not release our grip unless it’s to help us run a better race, or until we’re secure on the other side.


To help with your study of the Bible, here’s a link to Biblegateway.com’s Bible reading plans.

My interview on the Story Night podcast is live!

Yes, the podcast is live! Listen to my life story as told in my unpublished book, Memoir of a Living Doll, for which I placed as a finalist for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award.

I want to encourage you to take the next step in opening up your life of faith, like I did.

Start sharing the things you’ve been through and what you learned along the way, and you’ll open up new ideas, generate a clearer perspective, and even prompt a course change in you – or in someone else.

That’s why I shared part of my story in this interview.


“Kathy, a guest author at CalvaryMac’s Christian Writing Group, shares her story in a unique way . . . by describing the dolls she owned throughout her life and what God taught her in each season. 

“The lessons prepared her for everything from a trip to India to a calling to foster care.” – Jessica Campbell, Women’s Ministry Director at CalvaryMac Church

The Best Reason to Rejoice – Luke 10:17-20

It’s satisfying to reach a goal, like when I showed sample pages of my manuscript to my dream editor – and he asked to see more. Or when my publisher offered me a devotional contract. It was also rewarding to pose with dozens of other finalists for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award, though I didn’t win this time, for a group photo.

But a greater joy comes when the Bible speaks directly to me in the moment. It happened this week while reading from the book of Luke.

I had been second-guessing my writing abilities all week. My lack of progress with my book made me feel like my feet were dragging through wet concrete and getting nowhere.

That’s when the Scriptures clearly spoke to me.

Jesus taught a group of his followers how to approach people with the good news of the kingdom of God, then he sent them out to the towns he planned to visit.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:17-20 NIV

This is what I’m hearing from these verses.

Kathy, don’t dwell on your successes. God sees everything from beginning to end, and you’ve only done what he sent you to do. It’s great you made it to the top of a mountain. Enjoy the view, but don’t even think of pitching your tent there. You don’t get to stay. Now it’s time to prepare for the next climb. Wait till you see what’s ahead!

And don’t let yourself feel dejected because you haven’t finished your book. Instead, rejoice that your name is written in his book. Nothing is more amazing than that. Absolutely nothing.

Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Finalists. I’m standing on the right in the green dress.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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