I went running today; that in and of itself is an amazing feat as I have not been physically active for quite some time. Technically, it was my second day of this horrendous torture some super fit person dreamed up as a way to rehabilitate the couch potatoes of the world. Anyway, I was encouraged by a friend to join her in her “getting fit” goals as she and another friend agreed to be the inspiration for one another to complete a couch to 5K using an app on the phone. How this deal works is a super perky motivational non-human tells you how awesome you are while having you move through an alternating run walk sequence for so many miles. You start out slow running and walking approximately 3-4 times then the next day or so you increase the intervals and it goes on like this until you are running a whole 5 miles without the walking intervals. I’m not sure why or how I was roped in on this deal other than the fact that misery loves company.
So here I am plodding along trying to look like I am not about to pass out, focused on putting one foot in front of the other until the little bell tones so we can walk again (I secretly live for this moment). The bell toned and I began a walk interval; praying as I walked along asking God to give me strength to finish today and to take away the pain in my back and calves so I could move into the next run. I was not enjoying the moment because I knew any minute the bell would tone and I would have to pick up my pace in spite of my infirmities. I may have even lamented my predicament out loud to the group in an effort to gain a sympathetic supporter or two but was met with encouragement and “come on we’ve got this attitudes”.
It was during this walking interval I felt God whisper into my heart. For the past year or so I have had this wall or block or something I faced when I attempted to do something significant for His kingdom. Before today I could not squarely name it or even tell you why it was there it was just there. I could feel it in my spirit and in my mind. I have had a calling on my life for some time and even though I am eager to move into His calling and the desire to serve is there I have this thing in my spirit that rises up and prevents me from doing so. I lacked focus and was easily distracted and confused about which direction I should take. God knew this must be healed or fixed before I could move forward. Over this past year I have prayed about it, cried about it and sought mentoring about it but to no avail. I recently reached a point in this process where I told God I would begin where ever He wanted me to so I could overcome this and be effective for Him. He had me start in my home. Straightening, simplifying, clearing the clutter and the distractions after which he had me move into my work area and begin to do the same. When I had a significant portion of this accomplished he told me it was time for me to work on me. His temple. He had me slowly take away food and drinks that were not nourishing and then begin to add things back into my diet in an effort to become healthy again. Even though this process was not easy; as he directed and I obeyed my spirit began to align with His. He used this seemingly simple task of rearranging, organizing and decluttering to speak to me about what was inside of my heart that needed His attention.
The bell toned for us to begin the run interval number 5 of 6 and as I was lifting my foot to run, when right there in the midst of my misery; God chose that moment to reveal several things to me. The truth of what He spoke into my being so overwhelming I was taken aback and actually stopped and told them to go ahead and I would catch up. As the group began to run I stood listening with my heart to what God was saying. First is this, we are to run the race marked out for us. It says so in His word. Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Every person on this planet has been given something to do, to accomplish; not on our own but with Him through us so that He may receive the glory. We become sidetracked and ensnared when we lose sight of Him. When we spend too much time in that place of entanglements and distractions we become weary and may even give up. But God perfected faith, he endured hardship and shame and hostility. He can show you, just as he was showing me; lovingly step by step how to untangle from my chaos and remove the things that hindered my walk with Him and therefore my service as well.
The second part of what God revealed to me had to do with the Church. More specifically every believer in the church and how we are to be toward one another. When the three of us began this journey, we started as individuals with different reasons for why we wanted to get fit. Together as a group we shared a common goal of completing the app and maybe running a 5K someday. Individually we are each at different fitness levels. One runs strong and sure, rarely winded and is eager to move through each cycle. The others are motivated, but haven’t been as active and need encouragement from time to time to continue in spite of the pain and discomfort. Even so, we continue to meet and run; increasing our time of running and decreasing our walking until we reach our goal of running all 5 miles. Right at this moment we do well to keep our eyes on the small goal of whatever time it takes to finish just this run then a walk. Together encouraging each other to stay motivated and moving toward our common goal of completion. When one would fall behind as a group the pace slowed so they could catch up. If they voiced a resolve to quit encouragement was given by the others to continue.
That is exactly what God’s word says in Hebrews 10:23-25 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The church is made up of individuals each running the race God has given them, attempting to accomplish whatever task He has for us to do for the kingdom. Individually we each have a unique purpose set about by our Heavenly Father, some of us at different levels of maturity in our walk and faith. Some are strong and certain of what task they are to complete, moving along with little effort, while others are motivated to serve but need encouragement to get started or continue in spite of setbacks and difficulties that can at times present themselves in this thing we call life. Collectively we are a body of believers; a group who shares a common goal of completing the race. Our unique purposes given to us by our Heavenly Father, joined together in unity to “Increase the population of Heaven and decrease the population of hell”. We are to assemble together, keep our eyes fixed upon Him, and encourage one another to love well and finish strong.
Copyright © 2016 Melanie McKinley. All Rights Reserved.