Folks, April has proven to be a busy month and nothing seems to be changing. So, I’m throwing in the towel and taking the rest of the month off from the blog. I’m going to take the rest of this week off and just finish April off that way. See you at the beginning of May.
There is a podcast I listen to that asks five questions throughout each episode. The last question the hosts asks the person they are interviewing has been piquing my interest of late. It got like this:
What would you tell your 20 year old self?
I laughed the first few times I heard it, but lately I have taken it more seriously. I turned 20 during at the beginning of my junior year of college. What would I tell that guy looking back nearly three decades later?
I would tell that guy to not worry so much about women. Don’t try so hard. Be friends with gals first and then see what happens. I was blessed to meet my wife a couple of years after this, but this advice would have lessened my stress level.
I would have told my younger self to seek a job that you think is fun. Where would I tell him to work? Dollywood. Regal Cinemas. Something where he would have to work hard, but would be super fun at the same time.
I would tell that guy to work on relationships no matter what he did. Relationships with friends. Relationships with superiors. Relationships with peers. Relationships in the community.
I would tell that guy to have enjoy life even when he didn’t have money. Figure out a way to do the things you want to do as you go along in life so that you don’t have regrets.
I would tell that guy to get right with God and get moving in that relationship. Find a purpose in life spiritually.
I would tell him to enjoy his kids that are coming. Enjoy each step along the way. Don’t worry about having it all figured out. You can’t. You just learn as you go.
I’m sure there is more. I would want that guy to get through life a little easier. I would cram as much of what I have learned into that guy. I’m just not sure he would listen.
What would you tell your 20 year old self?
I think a lot of us want to be a hero. We love to feel the notoriety of being the one person who can get something done or make something happen.
This is, I think, especially highlighted during presidential elections. Someone, anyone, everyone from either party stands up and declares that they are the only one who can save the day.
The problem with this is that by now that we really know that no one keeps their promises to be the hero. No one lives up to the promises they make.
So, how can you be a hero? It’s really simple.
You help someone else be the hero.
You make someone else look good.
You put the other guy look better.
You decrease so they can increase.
You decide to put the other guy first.
Zig Ziglar said it this way. You can have everything you want if you help enough people get what they want.
It’s simple. I didn’t say it’s easy. It’s counterintuitive. We don’t really think we will win if we help others win.
I say it’s true.
If you want to be a hero, you help other people be heroes.
Do you want to be a hero?
In a few short weeks, I will begin leading my annual services at a local campground. I have been doing this since 2002, so this will make the fifteenth consecutive year that I have been doing this at this particular campground.
I spent about four years preaching and teaching through the gospel of John. Since then I have been weaving my way through Paul’s letters. I knew that I needed to do something different and I am returning to the gospels. This year, and probably for a few summers, I will be making my way through Mark’s gospel.
One of the things that jumps out at you in the first chapter is Jesus’ baptism. Like John, we all probably scratch our heads a bit at Jesus being baptized. After all, if anyone didn’t need to be baptized, it’s Jesus.
That isn’t what stood out to me, though, this time. No, it’s what the Father said to Jesus when He came out of the water. He said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.”
That statement astounds me.
First, it was personal. The Father said that Jesus was His beloved Son. He didn’t just say you are a beloved Son. No, the Father was a proud papa. Think about when you see your own children do something that makes you proud. You can hardly contain yourself. This is that kind of moment for the Father.
Second, the Father was well pleased in Jesus. Often when we tell our children they have pleased us, we tag a but on the end of it. “You did great, but….you could have done better.” None of that with Jesus. The Father is simply please with Him.
Here’s the cool thing. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, the Father has the same reaction when he sees those of us who have trusted Christ for salvation.
We are now joint heirs with Jesus. We are God’s beloved children. He is proud of us because when He looks upon us, we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
The Father is well pleased in us. Just like Jesus. No buts. Just please.
What difference does that make?
We have the same inheritance as the One who died on the cross.
We live the same God pleasing life because of Christ’s sacrifice.
Those two thoughts should directly affect how we live our lives. The heirs of royalty live differently that those who don’t. When you please someone, your actions are different from when you don’t.
Jesus lived a life and died on the cross so that we can have the same benefits that He has with the Father. Let’s start living like who we really already are and not like people who will get there some day.
I have written this week about the lessons I learned from running my latest half-marathon. The first post was about the effect the other runners and spectators had on me. The second was about preparation. I continue this series today.
I had a conversation with someone the other day about running marathons and ultra-marathons. Such people were declared crazy by the person I was speaking with. He couldn’t believe that anyone would want to do such a thing. On Sunday, he ran the half-marathon I participated in.
The thing is that many people would say the same thing about us running a half-marathon. Others would scratch their heads over someone running a 5k. The bottom line is that someone will always think that what you are doing is crazy.
The question lies there, then, about why anyone would do these things. Why would someone run a 5k? A half-marathon? A marathon? An ultra? Why does someone, anyone, put their body through the training and pain to do something.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it really comes down to why someone climbs a mountain. Because it’s there.
We don’t face the same challenges our forefathers faced. We don’t have to push our bodies as far as they will go just in order to survive. And guess what?
We aren’t made for an easy life. We aren’t made to be soft and sit on the couch. Sure, some will continue to do so, but we just weren’t created to sit around.
We were created for adventure and purpose. We were made to face challenges and overcome obstacles.
It doesn’t matter if you run 3.1 miles or 13.1. You have to fight and overcome to do it. It doesn’t matter if you run 26.2 or 50 miles. You have to overcome challenges.
That’s what these posts have been about. About how running a race is a metaphor for life. The Apostle Paul even describes life as having “run the race.” He knew that life can be seen in the physical challenges we face.
If we are aware we can see lessons for life in everything we do. Running is just one of them. You might do something different, yet you can see the same lessons there as well. Let’s make sure that we keep our eyes open for what we can learn in all of the things we do.
What lessons have you learned in what you do in life?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I ran a half-marathon Sunday. One of the side effects of doing a lot of running is that I get a lot of thoughts.
I mentioned that following mile 10 I cramped. Specifically, my right foot began cramping. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue, but on the other hand, I was bound and determined to get across the finish line if I had to crawl.
That finally eased up, but I faced another obstacle. My left quad began to tighten up and cramp. I basically hobbled and walked the last three miles. As I reflected, there was really one reason.
I was much more prepared a month or so ago than I was the last two or three weeks. My training had taken a nosedive. I was really living on the fumes of my training in January and February. March? Not so good. But that’s not all.
I grabbed something to drink at just about every liquid stop. I realize that wasn’t enough. I was hydrated well enough before the race. This was evidenced by the cramps. Drinking along just wasn’t enough.
I don’t think I ate enough prior to the race either. Midway through the race I was starving and I never get hungry during a run. That being said, I didn’t do like one guy who ate a burrito and had a beer during the race. But I do see the value in fueling up better.
I’m actually planning on running a few more half-marathons this year. I’m going to take what I learned running this one in order to do better next time.
Do you prepare for the events you face in life?
I ran a half-marathon yesterday. For most of it, it was a good experience. Unfortunately, it ended up being a brutal test. The first ten miles were good and went according to plan. The last three? They were full of cramps and I thought it would never end. However, there were several lessons I learned this time out. Today I will share one of them.
You have probably heard the story about geese, especially if you have spent any time in church. Geese fly in a V formation. Each goose takes its turn at the point, rotating out and letting another take its place. When you see this happening in person you will hear the geese honking to encourage each other. When a goose becomes ill or injured, it will drop out and another goose or two will drop out with it. They stay together until the goose has recovered and then they take off in order to catch the larger group.
I found this to be much the same with this half-marathon.
Running with a large group carried me further than I could have gone on my own. My fitness level wasn’t where I wanted it to be for this race. However, I found myself at mile seven feeling great. Just past this point was the worst hill of the race. I had planned to walk it and did. Once I got through that, I continued. And it was great until the previously mentioned mile 10. The runners, spectators and bands encouraged me to go further than I really thought I could.
One girl on my work team was struggling early. I asked her if she was ok. She smiled and waved me on. Later, she stopped and asked if I was ok, offering to carry me on her back. It was great to have another “goose’ willing to help me out.
The bottom line is that we are all in this together, whether it’s a half-marathon or life in general. We need each other. Each of us need to be picked up and each of us need to do some picking up. It’s not rocket science. It’s who we are and what we need to do.
Have you been an injured or sick goose? Have you helped another goose?