Sunday, July 24, 2011

Running the race... doesn't mean you always have to be the fastest...

The past few days have been very difficult. I'm missing Haiti more than ever before and I'm holding on, as tight as I can, to the emotions of being there, the people, their smiles, the smells, and the joy. It feels like it was so long ago, and yet... I was there only 38 days ago. At times I feel like I can remember my birthday party when I was 5 or 6: sitting on my grandpa's lap on the porch outside of our house, rocking back and forth in the black iron porch chairs (well... maybe not those exact chairs, but I remember chairs like that from growing up, so let's say it was those), as my very long, blonde/white hair swung in the breeze, and we celebrated mine and my cousin's birthday together. That was the year of the Mickey Mouse record player. My dad was out of town for work, so we video taped the festivities. The video consisted of footage from the party, as well as an instructional portion where my mom showed my dad how she had learned to tie a necktie for him when he returned... I feel like I can remember those memories more vividly than being in Haiti one month ago and it breaks my heart to already feel distance.

Last weekend I was back home in St. Simons talking to my mom. As we discussed my new hobby of taking up running she said "You're the kind of person who goes all in... you give it everything... what about your knees?" Well, beside the worrisome moments of my Mom and my knees... she's right... I'm registered for a half marathon on Thanksgiving day! Be afraid, people! Giving life everything I have is so engrained in me that I can't put a book on my bookshelf until I have finished reading the book. Books I have not read sit strategically placed on my dresser until they have been read and are ready for proper placement amongst the others I have completed.

Some say it's a character flaw... I call it a passion to always give life everything I have, but with that comes pure exhaustion and a blurred focus for other things in my life. Those of you that know me well enough know I went into teaching to "save the world" one underprivileged child at a time. I wanted to have an impact... but that was during the days my focus was not set on our Lord. I was focused on what I could do, not what the Lord was and could do through me. I became frustrated and even had plans to go into radio sales and leave teaching. Thank goodness for my Mommy convincing me to stick it out for one more year in a different school. It took some time, but I have opened up to allowing God to use me for these students! The ministry I've found in education is more than I could have ever prayed for!

The past year and a half has been a crazy whirlwind of dipping my feet in everything the Lord has to offer me... saying "no" has never been a big strength of mine. "Why say no when it feels so good to say yes?!" ~ Name that movie! ;) This has created a culture of go, go, go in my life and I often find myself overwhelmed, tired, and spread way too thin to accomplish what I feel God is leading me to do. I don't want to miss it... so I'm working on running at a slower pace...

Our life isn't a race... no matter what race we register for, and no matter how it might appear, God has a plan that comes complete with a timeline, expectations, road map, and people. God has designed each of our invidual lives to last for as long as they need to in order to accomplish what He placed us individually here to do. No more time, no less time, and the more we try to race through it, the better chance we have of missing it... missing the point... missing our purpose and our design (Small Group - our blueprint - love you, ladies!).

Before I left St. Simons to drive back to Atlanta last weekend, I woke up and decided to go take one last run through the island. St. Simons is a very flat island... so I was able to run farther than the mountains of Chastain Park typically allow me to. Running the 3 miles on the island felt like the equivalent to the Bulldawgs winning the National Championship... pure success!! If you haven't visited before I HIGHLY recommend it! More than ever before I have started to realize the beauty that God has placed on that island. I used to see it as the last place I lived with my parents for my senior year of high school, a place I would go home to visit, but not have any of the friends I grew up with (I went to four high schools), and a place where I often felt like I just wasn't a part of anything... since I only lived there for one year. By running, at a slower pace ;), I began to soak up God's beauty on the island and, for the first time ever, I began to understand the beauty He created there. 

God is trying to speak to us ALL the time, but we usually need to be still to listen... a speaker at Grace Midtown said a few weeks ago: God speaks to us in a whisper, because that's how He draws us closer to Him... and boy do I desire to be close to God! SO... this weekend I took a hiatus from technology, to clear my mind, spend time in prayer, remember Haiti, and create the time needed to reflect on my life, relationship with Christ, and read.

I took the time to slow down, because running the life race doesn't mean you have to be the fastest... it just means you need to know where you're going. Without being able to hear God's whisper... you're probably going to get lost...

Ephesians 5:15-17