I, much like a lot of other, people go through seasons. Seasons of worry, anxiety, stress, wonder, doubt and worst of all self-destruction. Maybe, your seasons are not the same as my seasons but I can tell you that you too go through seasons.
Seasonal changes are hard when you identify as a Christian and even more so when you are a member of a church. Why? Well yes, there are a select few people that pray for you through those seasons and send you encouraging words here and there. But, there are also people that watch as you go through these seasons and judge you.
You see, from your perspective at that moment it may look and feel like you are standing at the starting line of a race and everyone just took off running. It may look like they are sprinting full force ahead and there is no way you can catch up. The good news is, everyone is a winner at this race so you don't have to catch up or be where they are. This is your relationship with God we are talking about. Stop trying to be the Christian that Susan looks like she is when she is feeding the homeless on Saturday's.
It doesn't matter if you walk for a while. It doesn't matter if you stop for water. It doesn't matter if you run out of breath for a hot second. It doesn't matter if you jog. What matters is you finish the race. You get to the end of your life when you are old and God is calling you home. You get to stand before God and look him in the face as he says "well done, my good and faithful servant."
It was spoken to me during a Sunday sermon that Marathon runners hit a few walls when running marathons. Strength walls, mental walls, and physical walls. Sometimes our faith can hit walls and that is OK. The important part here is you recover from it and keep running the race.
I was the girl and maybe you're the guy or girl that can relate to this. I was the girl that never really took her faith seriously, never really had an intimate relationship with the Lord, and to be honest, never really followed through with living according to the Bible. The reason is, I was comparing where I was in the race to where everyone else was in the race. That left me disappointed, hopeless that I would ever win, and most importantly never full and always empty because I exhausted myself trying to have the faith everyone else had.
Recently, I looked at myself standing at the starting line. So many people in my life have already started running. They are way ahead of me. But, I looked at myself standing there and said, "no I am not going to stand here, I am going to move." I didn't tell myself to sprint and try to catch up with my friends and family. I didn't yell at them "slow down" and try and hinder them in their race. I simply, finally, had a goal in mind. I realized I wanted a real relationship with God. I wanted an intimate relationship with God. But, I was not going to exhaust myself trying to speed up the process of that by sprinting full force trying to get to where everyone else was.
So, I started walking, then jogging, and then running. I am still not caught up to some people, I passed a few along the way. But, I know that the finish line is waiting for me and that what is on the other side of it is beautiful. And now, I know I can take my time and really grow and stay healthy during the race.
"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision — you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it." — Philippians 3:14 (The Message)