This post was written on September 3rd. My church, RockHarbor Orange, has a blog and I’m excited to announce that I am now part of the Content Team! To see this post in it’s original form click here.
If you had the chance to attend a RockHarbor service last weekend, you probably saw a video with a guy running for a reeeally long time. The video was artsy. It was intriguing. It had a point, which is always nice. The video was a fitting end to the amazing series we’ve had through the book of Acts. The running man was symbolic of Paul’s incredible perseverance throughout his gospel-spreading ministry.
As I watched the video, I felt my jaw set, my eyes narrow, my palms sweat. You see, I’m not really a runner.
When I became a mom, everyone asked me if my stroller was capable to be used as a “jogger.” Like, literally, EVERYONE asked me this question. My response always included some nervous laughter and stuttering, until I finally answered something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t really jog…” The questioner then felt uncomfortable (confused, maybe?) and there was an inevitable awkward silence.
I guess everyone jogs but me. So, when I saw a video at church of a guy running for a really really long time, you can understand why I got nervous.
I illogically feared that the announcement following the video was that RockHarbor would be holding their first annual marathon in which all of us were expected to participate. Of course, it wasn’t.
It was worse.
Like I mentioned earlier, the video was a metaphor for Paul’s ministry journey. He “ran the race” so to speak. His ministry also reached “the ends of the earth” to the best of his ability. As a Christian, I look at Paul’s life and it’s hard not to feel like a failure.
The thing is, Paul’s life required a lot of discipline. The thing is, when I hear the word “discipline” I sort of want to hide under a rock. I don’t really do well with rigidity and rules. I’m more of a “go-with-the-flow” kinda girl. Maybe that’s why running and I don’t jive. I get bored or tired and I don’t really feel the need to prove anything to anyone, so I just stop running.
This is how God has been wrecking my life lately. He hasn’t been making me run literally, but He’s been showing me that sometimes, discipline can be a beautiful thing.
I’ve started with reading God’s word every day. I’ve made the decision that I want God to come before everything, so before I allow myself to open my computer or text anyone, I read a chapter of Isaiah. I even made a little checklist with all of the chapters of Isaiah so that I can cross-off each chapter when I’ve read it. It’s actually quite gratifying to cross those numbers off.
But more surprisingly, it’s been crazy to see how God is changing my heart. I can’t quite put my finger on it… but just from reading one chapter a day, I’m feeling Him work in me. I’m no Paul, that’s for sure… but He’s refining me nonetheless.
Some days I really don’t want to read and those days are hard. I start to question my reasons for beginning this practice. “Am I doing this just to check a box (literally)?” “Am I doing this to earn favor with God?” The list of questions can go on and on. Then, I just put the questions out of my mind and pray that God will use the reading for His purpose. Finally, I open the Bible and read regardless of how I feel.
This is how I’ve been practicing “discipline.” This is my race. I feel like I’m fighting to keep God first in my life. I hope that God will use this practice as a stepping stone for bigger and greater things in my future. It’s a dream of mine to someday spread the gospel to “the ends of the earth.” Who knows, maybe this is just the beginning to that journey.