Monday, February 21, 2011

Jump In

Sometimes in life you just have to do things that are ridiculous...

like jumping in the ocean fully dressed.

You see, despite the fact that I am legally of age to be considered an adult, I often feel like I still have the heart of an 8 year old.  But then again, I think maybe that's true for all of us... we just don't allow ourselves to believe it.

Just yesterday we took a stroll to the beach.  We didn't have a whole lot of time, and I had already showered for the day (which is a big deal), so I hadn't planned on getting in the water.  In fact, I was perfectly content just to sit on the beach, digging my toes in the sand, enjoying the beauty around me.

Soon enough, I found myself up to the edge of the water.  As much as I hadn't planned on getting wet, I suddenly had this huge urge to just run and jump in the water.  In fact, I could picture it in my head, I could see myself, just like a young child running straight into the waves, giggling the entire time.  I stood there for a long time and rationalized all the reasons why that would be ridiculous.  First off, I absolutely hate walking around in wet clothes and would undoubtedly not have enough time to dry off. Second, I had on clean clothes (which is pretty rare these days) and I had just recently showered.  Thirdly, there was a huge boat full of people docked at the beach, all of which were already staring at me as I stood at the water's edge, clearly pondering the meaning of life.

I stood there for a long time, just rationalizing with myself again and again... over something to silly.  Then, I realized... sometimes in life, you just have to do things that are ridiculous.

So, I turned around, gave my good friend Alicia a huge grin... and then took off into the water... jumping straight into the waves.. giggling the whole time.

In a crazy way, jumping in the water was another step of freedom.  Too often we let ourselves be restrained by rationalizations of what should be, of what society tells us, of the lies that we have allowed ourselves to believe.  It's time to jump in the water, it's time to break down the walls of legalism, it's time to let yourself free.

So what if I was going to have to walk 15 minutes home in wet clothes, so what I had to be a little bit icky for the rest of the day, so what if my clothes and hair were no longer clean... for that moment in time, as I floated in the water just laughing out loud, I was free.  I could have easily let myself miss out on that experience, out of that joy... but for that day, I chose otherwise!  Just like our relationship with God, sometimes we miss out, sometimes we try to rationalize His greatness, sometimes we don't just let ourselves fall head first into His love.

Are you ready to jump in?

"Daily I live with fear- a healthy fear... that I will miss something God has for me... I don't want to be robbed of even one of God's riches by not taking time to let Him invade my life.  By not listening to what He is telling me.  By allowing the routine, pressing matters of my minutes to bankrupts me of time for the most exciting, most fulfilling relationship in life."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Change of Pace

I can be extremely selfish.  There, I said it.

Sometimes that realization cuts me to the core... mostly because it's true.  Prior to the World Race, I had very few responsibilities outside of myself.  Back in those day, I could do things in my own time, in my own way, and I could control every single detail.  Needless to say, that's not really the case anymore.  Back then, I had a specific pace, and I stuck to it.  I took care of me, I looked out for me, and I only worried about what was best for me.

I think our Christian walk can actually look a lot like this sometimes as well.  We can serve the Lord and still be completely selfish about it.  We constantly fall to our knees in prayer asking God to heal us, to make us whole, to make us better.  We continually ask God for more of His presence in our own life, for more of His blessings, His spirit, and His gifts to fall upon us.  We spend hours pleading our case and only seconds pleading for others.  We spend so much timing making sure we are taken care of, making sure we are looked out for, making sure we are getting what is best.

We spend so much time running life at our own pace.

As some of you may know, I had the opportunity to run a 5k around Manila a couple of weeks ago.  At first I had agreed to run the race with two of my teammates, Alicia & Stacey.  About halfway into the race, I was feeling really good.  It felt so nice to stretch my legs again, to compete in a race again, just to run with a purpose.  I looked over at my teammates and could tell they weren't quite thinking the same thing, they were ready to slow down... but I was ready to plow ahead.  In this moment I made the decision to set my own pace, to move ahead, to push forward for what was best for me.  On the turnaround route there just so happened to be a huge monster of a hill.  The joy I had for running just minutes ago had all but disappeared... my legs were burning, my lungs were screaming, and I was all but ready to just call it a day and start walking.  Just about that time, one of our squad leaders, Lia comes running up the hill behind me.  Just to give you a little background on Lia, running is not just an interest for her, it's a passion.  Needless to say, she could easily run circles around me.  As she approached me from behind, I completely expected her to give me her best encouraging grin and pass on by... but much to my surprise, she ran up beside me and instantly stepped into stride with me.  Without saying any words at all, I knew in that moment she had agreed to run right beside me the rest of the race, all the way through the finish line.  I knew that if I needed to slow down, she would slow down and if I needed to run faster, she would run faster.  She was there to see me through.  She changed her pace for me.

Just through that experience God taught me so much about how I should be living life.  Don't get me wrong, this life is a race, and we should never stop moving... but it's not a competition.  There's no prize at the end.  There is no big medal to be draped around your neck.  There is no glory in finishing first.  The glory is in finishing together.  The glory is in fighting for our brothers and sisters.  The glory is in opening our eyes to the people around us, to running the race beside them, and to doing this thing we call life together!

Let's run this race together.  Are you ready for a change of pace?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taste of Reality

Reality kicked me in the face yesterday.  And I felt every bit of it.. the shock, the pain, the nausea, the stumbling.  I thought I was prepared.  I thought I was ready to fight.  But the battle snuck up on me... and it all but knocked me out.

I knew coming into Asia that prostitution and trafficking would be present.  It's something we've talked about since day one.  It's a normal topic of conversation when discussing the ministry opportunities on the race.  In fact, it's one of the reasons many of the girls on my squad signed up for this adventure.  It's something that I knew to expect.

But my expectations absolutely failed me.  

While walking along the beach yesterday, I saw this injustice first hand... and it absolutely blind sided me.  I was nauseous, I was broken, I was hurting.  I wanted to scoop up this young girl, look her in the eyes and tell her over and over again that she was loved and that she was worthy of so much more!  I wanted to stare that man in the eyes (after I got over the urge to punch him) and ask him who hurt him, who left him so empty, who broke him.  I just wanted them both to know that there was more... so, so, so much more.

I stumbled my way past.  I took in a deep breath.  I regained my composure and I was reminded that my God is big enough even for this.  This place, despite its breathtaking beauty, is a dark place... but my God is so full of light!  It's time to hit our knees in prayer!  It's time to fight!  It's time for us to prophesy life over the death in this world.  It's time for the nations to see and feel the presence of His love!  It's time for injustices to be broken!  It's time for His promises to be fulfilled. It's time for HIS radiance to shine! 

"Arise!  Let your light shine for all to see.  For the Glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.  Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.  All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance."  Isaiah 60:1-3