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?