Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Race

My most significant weakness, the big one that affects every single aspect of my life, the one that has held me back from success and deep relationships and caused me to miss so many amazing opportunities - is laziness!  Perhaps I've confessed that before here, in one way or another?  My lazy perfectionism, my lack of discipline, my tendency to quit when the going gets the least bit rough, my write-a-blog-post-every-three-months habit...~smile~  I know how unbiblical laziness is, I know Proverbs points lazies to the commendable ant's work ethic and predicts doom and destruction for those so inclined, but my most excellent pastor's text this morning caused me to see all this in a brand-new light: 

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." Hebrews 12:1b, 2a

Being the lazy person I am, I've gotten pretty good at asking God to change me, remake me, undo me, transform me, etc... relying firmly on the "not of yourself, it is the gift of God" thing in Ephesians 2.  I'd repent, surrender, beg God to change me...then sit back and wait for something to happen! (and then get terribly discouraged when nothing did...) Now I don't know about you, but the above verses from Hebrews seem to suggest to me some action!  Lots of verbs in that short passage, throwing off and running...very active verbs, to boot!  When I picture someone doing what that verse suggests, I see big movement, active participation, planned and thoughtful motion!  Motion with exclamation points! ~smile~  And not only does it suggest action, the verb tense may indicate a repeated, continual action, particularly the racing imagery - one doesn't just run a single pace, one continues to put one foot in front of the other until the race is completed (or until one collapses from exhaustion three minutes in...).  I'm coming to see the whole thing as a continuous, keep-on-keeping-on kind of exercise.  "Let us keep on throw(ing) off everything that hinders...and let us keep on run(ning) with perseverance..."  For me, this changes everything!  I have a part to play in this "change my heart, O God" operation! 

Lest I alarm anyone with all this "me" talk, let us continue on to the last bit I quoted above: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus".  That's what makes any of this possible at all.  Without Him, I can't even take one step, let alone hope to finish the race.  But that's the part I knew already, it just didn't help me because I was waiting for Him to swoop in and make me thin and my bank account fat and my house clean, make me disciplined, make me practice hospitality, make me show love to others...His power + my action = a step in the right direction!

I think that's all for now.  Next is to take a good look at my life and determine what exactly is hindering and entangling me, so I can throw it off, and keep throwing it off!  Looking forward to some serious self-evaluation and reflection - definitely not something that comes naturally for me. And   some action!  God's already shown me some places where I can get moving right away - literally! I have been so very weary and unmotivated and apathetic and discouraged for weeks now, and I just couldn't get to the root of the problem - until today.   Excited and wary and cautiously hopeful - I know exactly how much running hurts, and am anticipating how hard it will be to actually throw off that which hinders and entangles...  Bless you, Friend, for journeying along with me - may you know real joy today!