Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Faith on the Frontstretch: Resting and Refueling in the Off-Season

‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through the track, not an engine was stirring, nor a lugnut or jack.
The fire suits were hung in the haulers with care, as pit crews went home, time with family to share.

Photo credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs   

“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b


Two Sundays have come and gone without a stock car engine stirring in NASCAR’s highest series. Tracks like Texas Motor Speedway, pictured above, are mostly quiet this time of year. Some eager fans are already counting down the days until the 2014 Daytona 500. Others commiserate on Twitter, lamenting the race-free weekends ahead.

But nine months is a long time for the travelling NASCAR personnel to live on the road. It’s a lengthy list of Sundays for fans to watch from their living rooms, too. The truth is, taking a break from our favorite sport is a healthy thing - physically, mentally and even spiritually.

Before anyone throws rubber marbles in protest or declares that all true fans should hate the off-season, consider this. The off-season provides a war wagon full of tools racing folks and fans can use to power down. We can use the next few months to:

Rest. After months of intense physical and mental strain, racing people desperately need a respite. The familiarity of home brings comfort and relief from everyday work-related burdens. They can sleep in their own beds for weeks without having to pack, unpack or use a port-a-potty.

Rekindle. Time at home allows the rekindling of family relationships in a more normal setting. Other than drivers whose families live in the motorhomes with them, many racing folks are away from loved ones for about half of the week. The off-season allows them to renew and revitalize day-to-day connections with relatives, friends and neighbors. Is there anyone you need to reconnect with?

Refuel. Time off from the race circuit provides time for other hobbies and activities. Engaging in favorite pastimes is a way for the weary to refuel their spirits. Spending time with God and doing things we love is a great way for us to renew our souls, too.

Photo credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs
Regroup. For race teams and media folks, the off-season can be a time of reflection and reorganization. Sometimes taking a step back helps put things in perspective and we see where changes are needed.

Rekindle. Refuel. Regroup. The prefix “re-” means to do something again or even “again and again.” Just as our bodies need sleep every 24 hours, we need bigger chunks of rest periodically as well – maybe one day or a week’s vacation or the whole off-season.

A traditional day of rest, called the Sabbath, is an idea God programmed into the universe. In the beginning, after working on creation for six days, He rested on the seventh day. God doesn’t need to rest, but He knew we humans require it, so He set an example for us. It’s almost like He was saying, “Take a day off each week to refuel your tank, and don’t feel guilty about it.”

Taking a Sabbath rest is a gift from God that many of us never unwrap. Instead we push, push, push ourselves past the fuel window and end up sputtering along on fumes.

There’s a way to remedy the exhaustion and refuel our souls - spending quiet time with God. Talking with Him leaves us refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to face whatever lies ahead in the race of life.

During the off-season, each of us has a chunk of time on weekends that we’d normally spend watching a race or two. Each of those Sundays is a Sabbath day full of promise. How will you spend that extra time?

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~ Genesis 2:3
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

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