Change, it seems, is both gradual and all-of-a-sudden at the same time. Yes, we inevitably grow and change over time, but then we can also reach this point when we wake up one day to realize our old self would likely not recognize our new self if they ran into each other on the street – or the coffee shop. Maybe especially the coffee shop. My old self didn’t drink coffee. Crazy, I know! I now ask forgiveness from every cup of coffee I consume for ignoring it for so long.
Last summer, everything changed though outwardly everything stayed the same. Knowing that “leaders are readers,” I’ve resolved to consume as many books as I can. Now I’m not talking Nicholas Sparks or J.K. Rowling, while they are both solid successful writers for whom I have the utmost respect; my heartbeat is for writers who produce books that challenge both who I am as a person and how I relate to my God. Last summer’s read was Anything by Jennie Allen. Seriously rocked my face off and wrecked my life. So, hesitantly, I prayed, ever so meekly, offering God my “anything.” And He answered. I could stop there. To think that the God of the universe would 1) care about my “anything” and 2) would bother to answer. “What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him?” (Job 7:17 ESV) God’s answer came, not in thunder or smoke signal or a host of angels, but in the most ironically modern way: an email, the very next day. No, God does not have an email address – though I have many times wished that He did! To think that we could have answers straight from God in written form…oh wait. (Insert:Bible) The email was from the dear sister who has been leading a Bible study I’ve been a part of for the last few years, informing me that she was in need of a break and would I consider leading. I am simultaneously excited and nauseous as I feel God whisper This.
Feeling both confident of this calling and panic-stricken, I begin the daunting task of looking for a study to lead. Seeing as Jennie Allen got me into this mess, I stumble over to Amazon to see if she has any study suggestions. That’s where I found her study Restless. Watching her video for the first week’s lesson, (Watch Here) everything she said resonated so deeply with me I knew instantly this was the right study to do! After she read Hebrews 12:1-2, which I have read hundreds of times before, I realized there was something more, at this point in my journey, to my “anything.”
God: You need to know what it is to run with endurance.
Me: Umm, no. No I don’t.
Y’all I am NOT a runner! (I’m also not a southern girl, but this just felt like a “y’all” moment.) There are two things in this world that will make me run: being chased (which has, thankfully, never happened) and hearing a loud crash or scream when my kids are in the other room. I do not run for fun, because it’s not. It’s hard work. Perhaps that was the point of God’s, umm, “suggestion.” Nevertheless, within a week I found myself signed up and beginning to train for a 5k that was less than 8 weeks out. With the encouragement of my husband, and the help of my friend-turned-running partner (who actually does like to run for reasons I will never understand), I successfully finished my first 5k in 34 minutes and 36 seconds. After it was over, my then 5-year-old son asked me if I had won the race. I told him that I had not even come close, but that the point for me was not to win but just to finish well. And that’s when everything clicked for me. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes that we are all running a race – not aimlessly but with a goal in view.
This year God has placed in me a desire to run in a different way – telling His story in my life through blogging. Will you be my running partner as I’m learning to run with reckless abandon for the Savior who has called me to do so? Thankfully we’re not called to run alone – God has given us both His Spirit and each other. We will all stumble at times, giving others the chance to pick us up and dust us off. The point is not to be the best, but to run with endurance and to finish well. What is your “anything?” I dare you to find it! And when you do, dear friend, run your heart out!
P.S. This post was not intended to be a shameless plug for Jennie Allen, but she is an awesome leader and lover of Jesus who has written several books and Bible studies. Check her out at jennieallen.com.