How did you run your race today? I pray you fared better than I did!
In all honesty, this lap was a total bomb for me. I knocked over a few hurdles, dropped the baton once or twice, and tripped on my own shoelace.
I was supposed to host a new acquaintance at my house this afternoon; just a low key cup of coffee, a chance to laugh a little, share some prayer, and explore new friendship. I met this adorable young (-er than me) woman last Sunday after church. We hit it off in the few moments we had to chat. I sensed right away that she could use a friend, and I have been praying for opportunities to minister through simple love. So naturally, and gregariously, I invited her over.
Here’s the rub: Though I am basically a very social person, I also have the capacity to be a bit of a recluse when I set my mind to it. Like most of us, I’ve had my share of ‘high-hopes’ relationships that didn’t pan out. So sometimes it’s just plain easier to limit my world to the realm of my husband and kids. I have really been praying recently for a rekindling of the passion and grace to weave myself more intentionally into the fabric of the faith community, especially in the form of one-on-one relationships.
This was my chance to take a step in that direction. It was all set up. The weather took a nice turn and the sunshine was dazzling. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a tête-à-tête —until my flesh got involved.
Sadly it only takes one self-centered or insecure thought to set off an avalanche of ridiculous reasons for me to pull back from gambling on a new relationship. Suddenly I remembered some critical paper-work, my house needed spring cleaning, my hair and makeup were total fails, and that 20 extra pounds morphed into Tweedledee in my mirror.
Before my ego had a clue what was happening, my id was hitting “send”; launching a text message offering some lame excuse and suggesting we reschedule.
The crazy thing is that I genuinely love people. I honestly relish playing the hostess. I enjoy fellowship and need genuine community. Above all, I crave intimacy with the Bride that Jesus died to make me a part of —the lack of which happens to be one of my biggest gripes against the Church.
So on top of being flaky and rude, my behavior is counter-productive to my own best interest. Not to mention downright hypocritical. Yeah… epic fail.
There is only one logical explanation. I am selfish by nature. The old man that still haunts my life prefers not to be ‘put-out’ for the sake of others. The very things I am called to do as a Christ follower — to love, to give of myself, to be light in this dark and lonely place — is what my ‘self’ fights to prevent me from doing.
I’m settling in for the night, have my jammies on, and am curling up with a cup of hot tea and my Bible. My day is winding down kinda like that quiet ride on the bus after a losing football game.
Praise the Lord, He promises me that His grace is sufficient when I fall short of the mark. His perfect strength is even more splendid when juxtaposed against my weakness.
I am reminded that this is a marathon, not a sprint. On the way to that finish line, there will be moments when we feel lighter than air, our feet will be flying, our form will be amazing and we will run like the wind. Those are the rare victory laps. More often we will be running laps in which every stride is a fight against our own flesh. The important thing is that we keep on running, right?
Tomorrow I’ll wake up to a sunrise of new mercies, as will you. I don’t know what your plan is, but I’m gonna lace up my running shoes and head to the track.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27