The other day I was running at the beach. It’s been awhile since I have done street running (been mostly hitting the gym), but this day I was running along enjoying the crashing waves, the smell of sea air, the deep blue of the ocean, and the friendly gestures of fellow travelers out for some hearty exercise. However, this was not one of those ordinary days where the soft breeze and gentile climate makes for a pleasant run. This was one of those extra blustery days where the sky is clear, the sun is hot, the wind is blowing hard, sand is pelting you and blowing you off course (sounds like a not-so-fun adventure!?!). At first I did not notice it. It felt like I was running along just fine. I thought, “Wow I guess I’m not that much out of running shape. All that gym time has kept me in good running order. This is enjoyable and fun. I think I will pick up my pace. ” And so I ran on, listening to my music, praying, thinking about life, the Lord, and His unique call on me and our church. Yet when it came time to turn back, I was hit with the full fury of the unrelenting wind. Every stride was a strain and my pace slowed dramatically. It was no longer fun or enjoyable. It was work! I was really starting to sweat, and my lungs were burning (don’t worry that’s kind of normal with my asthma). I was praying hard, not about life or even about the unique call – no, I was praying for survival! “Lord, please help me!” When I finally made it back to the car, I just sat there catching my breath stunned at how difficult my “pleasant” run had turned out to be.
As I pondered my short journey along the beach, I was challenged by the Lord about our unique call journey. I first was reminded that as we travel this journey of living God’s unique call (remember it’s not just one particular assignment, event, ministry, or activity but a life journey living out God’s purposes, reaching towards God’s vision, inline with and aspiring on with our God given values, fulfilling God’s mission, and following God’s strategy) there will be times where the journey is easy breezy, running with the wind at our backs and every step is a great stride. Those times are great, so enjoy them and pick up the pace and move on. The Apostle Paul said this:
1 Corinthians 9:24 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
As we are running along this journey seeking to live out God’s call on our lives, we are to go for it! Give it our all and be victorious by living life God’s way. Have fun and celebrate our progress.
Now at this point we can get a little frustrated or maybe even a lot frustrated because as we have gone through these weeks of hearing sermons, getting these e-mails, discussing notions in small groups, wrestling with God in those personal devotions with those last two haunting questions: What is God revealing about your unique call? And what is He saying to you about how your unique call is inline with the church’s unique call? It can be frustrating because it can seem like God is not saying anything specific. To some He is, but to most there have not been many “ah ha moments,” and this concept of living God’s unique call seems like something off in the distance.
Some of the reasons for frustration with discovering God’s unique call could be we have set an expectation that God’s call for us would be some great new revelation of something spectacular or unique that no one else is doing. Though that may be the case for one in a million, we are all called to live life God’s way and to be open for God to use us – like Nick. Nick has been attending our church for a few months now and has been seeking to live life God’s way and to discover his unique call. He sensed God directing him to share the love of Jesus with some of the men in his boarding house. So he asked Pastor Brett to come over and one of the men prayed to receive Jesus and even came to church this past Sunday! Nick’s unique call was to live life being sensitive to God’s call by being a willing servant of the Lord waiting for his next assignment. What are you sensing from the Lord?
Maybe another reason it may be frustrating getting a grasp on God’s unique call on our lives is that we may be running against the wind. Maybe for you the pressure is great and has to do with relationships, job issues, financial struggles, marriage strains, dealing with sin, or just plan temptations and trials that are relentless and make you just want to cry out, “Lord help me.” In those times it’s difficult to feel anything but the strain of the journey and leave you with a sense of “why is this happening to me?” In times like these we need to be reminded that crummy stuff even happens to good people. Life, on this side of heaven, is full of struggles. So, yes, we should get help, but for the purpose of moving forward. Remember God created us for a purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The only way out of whatever we are going through…is right through it. God also uses these times of suffering to teach us, grow us, and ready us so we can help others (read again the devotions on 2 Corinthians 1 as a reminder).
God’s unique call is like my run with times of ease and times of struggle, but the key is to keep running. I do have to tell you that after this run I felt that rush of endorphins one gets after a good work out. I bet Nick is feeling that great sense of spiritual endorphins one gets when living God’s unique call. Not that it’s all about the feeling, but it’s a good thing to want to get that sense we are living a life pleasing to God.
So let me encourage you to be living God’s unique call every day. This is an incredible journey God has us all on. I’m glad we are on this adventure together
Journeying with you,