What I didn't expect from traveling to Portland was how deep I was going to be in the world. I get a glimmer of it each time I race, looking and listening to what people have to say, what they think is important, what exactly their focus is. I watch the way "good people" treat each other, slipping into moments of harsh words because that person deserved it, but they are still a good person. The judgements rendered at what is good enough, acceptable, and what is inspiring or not.
The people out on the streets were the obvious ones in need of salvation. They wear their sins on their sleeve so to speak. But as I walked through the Marathon expo the Lord was constantly pulling my attention this way and that. It was if I was standing still in a room that was spinning around me as people poured out their minds and money. Any cost for the perfect race day outfit. They talked PR's and goals, cool and not cool, winners and losers, acceptable times and, well, down right unacceptable times.
I know my place in the running world and when it comes to long distance I'm pretty far down the rung on impressive times. No doubt in the back of my mind my time would fall in the not so inspiring category and my worldy flesh was slightly bothered by it. I admit that I talked up a 5 hour time on my weight loss blog and felt pretty sure of myself that I could accomplish it. I hoped the Lord would provide me with the strength to do something amazing time wise.
But he didn't. Those desires in my heart would not have produced a fruitful branch in me. It would have produced an inflated ego, an intimidation factor to my character, no glory for His name. But getting people to understand accepting a "mediocre" time just goes beyond some people's limits.
The morning after the race as I made my way through the airport and posted results on facebook I got a number of responses. Many of them were congratulatory on finishing a Marathon, something only 1% of the population will do in their lifetime. But then there was the lady on the plane who rendered the answer I had been waiting for. The first question she asked me was what time I finished the race in. I responded with 6:54 and she said. "Oh."
She proceeded to go on and on about the high class restaurants she ate at, the art she saw, the funny little people who sell their wares at the open air market. And as I sat there feeling the sting of judgment I wanted to reach over and take hold of her by the shoulders, shaking her saying- That is all meaningless!!!
If that is all you ever invest your very short life in- fancy food, fashion, doing everything you can to be better than the funny little people singing their hearts out to earn 5 measly dollars in a span of an hour, cars, money, the list goes on and on. You know what I see...things that all burn. If that's what you want to invest all your time and effort into then that is all you get.
By your hand save me from such people, LORD, from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
I see way too many Christians caught up in this world thinking they are walking the path of righteousness only to turn away a beggar and continue to stand in line for an hour for donuts. Yes I'm talking about myself. We go right along with everything this world sees as important, neglecting the bible and never knowing our Savior. Then, we boast about how great heaven will be, don't we see that most people want to believe they're going to heaven? People refuse to believe in Jesus, that all he wants is for us to receive his love and salvation, but they still want to believe they are going to the pearly gates.
They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.
Oh Lord, you know my frustrations right now. With myself and this world. With the places I lack and the places that lack you. I was knee deep in the world this weekend and there were times I failed miserably to share your love.
We know where this story ends, we know this world and everything in it and on it will pass away. We have to be the example of what is important. With each day we do get it right we take the chance of really shining the light of the Holy Spirit bright and reaching someone who is lost. With each day we keep ourselves away from the world's opinions and trends we stay diciplined and focused on our discipleship.
If I could take one thing away from this weekend it would be to live my life even more contradictory to how I am now. To be more vocal about where my hope comes from. To be less fearful when a beggar approaches me and sit with them when no one else would. To throw away the magazines and programs that tell me I'm too slow, my house isn't the right color, my wardrobe is so circa never in style, and lastly that my body is not right at all.
I am created in the image of God, the One perfect God. You are too. His grace and forgiveness covers us all. Leave this world behind and come learn about the true heaven. It's not here, it's yet to come. There is still time to make a change.