Monday, June 23, 2014

Running and Discipleship

Last night l went for a 5 mile run - ok, it was 5.3 but who's counting? Up until the second mile all I could think about was stopping, turning around and walking home. Everything that could hurt, hurt. l started rationalizing that l could just stop running and concentrate on becoming a good walker. Nobody would think a thing about it if I suddenly stopped running. After all I am on a fast downhill on the way to 70 years old.

After about 2 miles I suddenly started feeling stronger, the annoying aches and pains were making their way to oblivion and suddenly I felt as though I could conquer anything.  The dictionary says chaos is disorder and confusion.  Talk about disorder and confusion, one minute I am wanting to quit running, the next minute I am feeling as if I could run forever.
Running up Cerro San Luis trail a few years back
Nothing could stop me, I had been given the gift of endurance and I wasn't going to let the ups and downs of the experience rob me of what I knew to be true, I was gifted with the love of running. I am still confused as to why I  just want to quit at times it and then suddenly I can't get enough, but I just accept the fact that runner is a name I wear and I am determined to wear it with pride. 

Running has been good for me. Physically it has helped me control my weight, has strengthened my heart and increased my lung capacity. Within a half hour after a good run I can breathe all the way down into my toes, I feel infused with oxygen and it is a great feeling. I can do things at 68 years old that I couldn't do if I didn't have the background of running.  From running I have learned to overcome setbacks. I have learned that the journey may be challenging but the end result is worth the effort. I have learned that if you truly love something you will find a way to make it part of your life despite the chaos of the ups and downs. I have learned that you cannot trust the "feelings", you have to have faith in what is, not in what you feel at a given moment.

That brings me to discipleship.  I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. No, I did not walk and talk with the human Jesus Christ as the original twelve disciples did, nevertheless, I am a disciple. According to the dictionary a disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. Jesus Christ was a teacher and I follow Him.  45 years ago I was gifted with salvation.  I didn't earn it or deserve it, I just accepted it when I realized that the offer was open to me.  Although I have been a disciple of Jesus all these years it doesn't mean that I have been the ideal disciple.  Much like the gift of running I have questioned at times whether I really wanted the gift that bad.  I have gone from being an assistant pastor in a church to not even going to church.  During the years of my discipleship I have slipped into bad habits that should have been long gone. Yes, my discipleship has been chaotic. There have been many times when I have felt like life would be so much easier if I didn't even make the attempt to serve God.  Plenty of people go through life without a relationship with God and do ok - or, at least it appears that way sometimes.  For me it always comes around.  When I feel like the effort may not be getting me any where I always seem to get a "second wind" and am made to realize that the privilege of serving God is worth whatever chaos may be involved.  I have been given the gift of salvation and it is up to me to be the best disciple I can be. The end result, spending eternity in heaven with Jesus and the saints is well worth whatever messiness and chaos I experience.  I just have to learn to have faith in what the Spirit of God has told me through the Bible and not put too much stock in what I feel at a particular moment. Yes I make mistakes, yes I shake my fist at God at times, no I do not always do what I should, yes I sometimes do what I shouldn't, but you know what, God is ok with me just as I am. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

45 years already?

 I asked God to take over my life 45 years ago. I was 23 years old and had so much of my life ahead of me.  Now I am 68 (almost) and struggle every day in my journey to fulfilled discipleship.  45 years, I should be a saint right?  Not so much. Though I love God with all my heart, am active in my church and try to be a good example to others around me, I fail. There I said it, I fail.  I struggle to say inoffensive words when the words I really want to say are battling for air time.  I turn my head for a pretty girl though I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world. I don't make a phone call when everything in me says I should.  I take the easy way out when confronted with a difficult situation. Why do I fail, I guess because I am human.  That stinkin' serpent in the garden messed it up for all of us. 

One thing I do know, I am determined to honor Jesus Christ in my life.  It may look a little messy and chaotic at times but that's why the Holy Spirit was given, so that I wouldn't have to figure out how to do it all right on my own. As God is my witness and the Holy Spirit gives me strength I will conquer my demons and continue my journey to be the best disciple I can, though it may look out of control at times and I may run face first into a few walls along the way.  Stay tuned.

This is The Chaotic Christian

This is The Chaotic Christian