Message: Hebrews 12 is very strong, and very familiar. It begins with the call to “lay aside every weight, and the sin that easily entangles us.” The analogy in this chapter is of a race. We all understand the importance of being light-weighted in racing whether we are talking about humans, horses or cars. People spend lots of time and money to make sure humans are in shape, cars have all of the guts necessary but only the bare necessities are included to keep the weight down. Horse jockeys have weight and size limits because everyone understands how important it is to run a race with as little weight as possible. As I was reading this I was thinking about the fact that this scripture separated “weight” and “sin”. In our minds we look at some of the distractions in our lives and we say “but they aren’t bad because they aren’t sin.” We also look at some of them and we feel a little bit of guilt inside (as we continue doing them) because we know deep down that they are keeping us from ‘training’ and slowing down our progress. There was a period of time that I was going through a little grief after my daughter got married and moved out of state. I was feeding my sadness with thrift store shopping, redecorating and restoration projects. It kept my mind occupied and at first it felt like a healthy way to process. Then I realized I ha become obsessed with finding project pieces and décor items. I went to multiple thrift stores and I searched Craigs List and Offer Up constantly. One day I realized that I wasn’t excited or motivated to read or do my devotional because I couldn’t stop scrolling deals on my phone. I thought about it constantly and even my kids were getting annoyed with all of the projects and things going on in the house. I knew I needed to reign it in, but I kept justifying in my head that it wasn’t really wrong. Some people drink in their sadness, and I was creating things. That wasn’t wrong and I would probably encourage someone else the same, BUT it had become a distraction to my purpose. I was not motivated to read and do my devotions because my obsession was crowding it out. While I believe that creativity is a gift that God has given me, and a wonderful hobby for my pleasure, that is not my purpose. I needed to pull back a little bit so that I could fulfill my purpose, and enjoy my creativity instead of obsessing over it. The weight was my obsession, not the act of creativity. This is where we have to really ask God to show us truth in our lives. We are masters at manipulating OURSELVES and we will justify ourselves right out of change. Today I am challenging myself once again to examine my life for blatant sin. Sin is a non-negotiable, but I’m also asking God to identify the weights in my life. Weights can be attitudes, mindsets, obsessions, unforgiveness, negativity…(the list goes on). Have I been putting on weight lately? What are the weights that are slowing down my progress?