I am training for a mini marathon. Most weeks I have to do a long run on Saturday, consisting of ten or so miles. A few weeks back I took off on my long run. It was a picture perfect day for running. It couldn't have been any better, really. It was in the low 50's--not real windy and sunny but not too sunny. I took off, enjoying the solitude and listening to my tunes on my Ipod.
All was well.
Until I got to mile two. Yes, only mile two.
And my Ipod completely shut down. Totally dead. How can this be??? I thought for sure it had enough battery power to make this run???
So many emotions flooded my being: Anger (this Ipod is a piece of crap! Denial (Surely it is not dead...let me just wait a few minutes and try to turn it on again). Panic (What??? Eight miles in complete silence? Are you serious?) Fear (What if I can't do it?). Dread (This is REALLY going to be painful). And finally, acceptance (Okay, looks like this is my reality. This is my lot. Better make the most of it.)
As is most often the case, I believe this experience was ordained by God to apply to other areas of my life. He so often does that with my running times.
Just as I was relying on my Ipod, I realized how often I rely on lesser things in other areas of my life. Obviously, an Ipod is not 'bad' and it can be a wonderful tool to use to praise Him with my music and get me focused on something besides the pain of the run. Yet, when it becomes the 'be all, end all, I can't run without it', it has just trumped the very essence of why I ever started running in the first place. And why do I run, exactly? I know many of you reading this are now sitting with furrowed brow, quite complexed at the absurdity of doing such a thing! As absurd as it may seem, I do it because it is an act of worship to my Creator God. Just as some of you may glorify Him through your art, your music, or your organizational skills (okay, at the thought of that, now my brow is furrowed!:)), I know one of the ways I can glorify Him is through running.
To get back to my point, I realized that God was giving me a picture into the other areas of my life through this Ipod mishap. How often do I rely on other things in my life more than I rely on Him and Him alone? How 'spiritual' would I be right now, for instance, if my electricity went out and stayed out for the next couple of weeks? Or my washer and dryer quit working? Or my coffee pot, for crying out loud? What if my van broke down and I had to stay home for the next month? Could I handle it? Could I rest in the power of the Almighty alone, or would the absence of these things do me in?
At the moment my Ipod quit, I had to decide one of three things:
1.) Forget this. I'll just turn around and go home and try again tomorrow with a fully charged Ipod.
2.) I'll keep going but it is going to be ugly. I am going to whine and complain the entire time and stop and walk and do it--but do a poor job of it.
3.) I am going to be optimistic here. I am going to ask God for help. I am going to use this time to pray. God is the God of the universe--getting me through this run is a mere blink of an eye for Him!
Let me just say that I've had my moments in the past of choosing #1 and #2. More moments than I care to admit. On this day, however, I chose door number 3.
Well, okay, I chose it after a few minutes of whining and complaining. Yes, I still whined for a few. But then I sucked it up and actually had a really great run. AND I learned a lot about making the most of disappointing and less than perfect circumstances. Mostly, though, I had a special time of communion with my Lord (once he knocked that electronic device right out of the way). I got to experience a deeper time of Fellowship with Him when I no longer had distractions.
What's keeping you from experiencing Him fully today? Is it a 'to do' list a mile long? Is it the television? the computer? facebook? Maybe it's sports? talk radio? Or maybe it's something that is a beautiful gift from the Lord like your children? your spouse? A ministry? Or dare I say it--homeschooling?
We all have areas that are competing for the Lord's spot. We all have them. And many of those things are really good things. I heard a message entitled 'The Idol Factory' by CJ Mahaney not long ago. He said something that really stuck with me: 'It's not the fact that we want or desire good things. No, it's when we want those good things TOO MUCH. That's when it becomes an idol.'
Too often I settle for lesser things rather than the one, true God. Only He alone can satisfy. HE ALONE. I am praying for God to show me how to live this truth out--not only in action but also in the uttermost being of my soul.
8"'You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10but showing steadfast love to(G) thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deut. 5-10
4"Hear, O Israel:(E) The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[b] 5You(F) shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And(G) these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7(H) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8(I) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9(J) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:4-9