A few weeks ago, I returned from work saltier that a potato chip (and I mean the regular kind, no reduced sodium here). I threw a nice pity party for myself, stewing over all my inadequacies at work. I dressed for a run, even though I knew the endorphins would improve my mood. Really, having decent running shoes and good health is so rough, especially on breezy summer days of 75 degrees. I had it hard.
Running in this neighborhood at 6pm is unadvisable so I ran laps in the park. By lap two I was still salty, now sweaty, and feeling like an idiot as I ran in circles. I tripped over sod several times trying not to interrupt the soccer spectators. This little park wasn’t good enough, not compared to other trails and paths I’ve run on. Just like how I wasn’t doing good enough at work as I compared myself to co-workers and other great people I know.
Then as I run past some people, I overhear, “I’m collectin child support from you and you don’t know me? Whateva.” Somehow that comment pierced my self-centeredness and comparison. And like that, honest reality broke up my pity-party. Maybe she was joking. It didn’t seem like it. I started looking up as I ran. Some people smiled back, while others looked away. “All who try to save their life will lose it. But those who lose their life for my sake, will find it.” The Holy Spirit reminded me in that moment that I moved to BOTY asking God to shed me of my selfishness, shatter my comfort zone, and break my hardness of heart.
In this humid, balmy weather, I am thinking about that day. It really was beautiful out, and I ran two miles.
These are some of the questions I have recently been confronted with on my drive to and from work.
In the process of making many life changing decisions, I have been left asking myself, why me? Why have I been given so much and how is it that I believe in a God who I seek to live my life for, but when talking to others I am given responses such as, it is just not my thing. In living in a community where I see the harsh realities that many face daily, and working in a place where people struggle in many ways, I have been hit with several emotions. I think it is one thing to be aware of the natural brokenness of the world, but another when it is staring you right in the face. I see people begging on the street, people selling beverages in the heat, and others who look worn. So I sit here and wonder, how is God working in the brokenness of this world? I am reminded though, that during his time on earth Jesus faced much opposition and had times of wondering his purpose, also. Even in these difficult times, Jesus still saw a greater purpose for the work he was doing and made the decision to be in fellowship and eat with sinners, tax collectors, lepers, and many more. Not everyone agreed with him and even if they didn’t choose to accept the message he was preaching, God’s love was still present and unconditional, waiting to be accepted. I think that we then, as his people, are called to live and have conversations among others even when difficult.
I think God works through us by transforming us into his hands and feet in helping to do his work. We are to reach out and be an example of him to those in adverse conditions and those who do not see the love he has to offer. I am reminded of the almighty one who dwells within me and that I am not better than anyone else. I have been given so much so that I might be able to give to others. God works through me so that I might be able to show others all that God has to offer. I still struggle with many things I see and hear on a daily basis, but I know through my simple act of showing love and having God as the reason for what I say and do, I can be used for his work. God has a plan and I am his vessel. Just as he guides me, he guides others. As hard as it may be, I am reminded of God’s plan for my life and that his work in my life and in others is constant. When the Lord’s kingdom comes his work will be accomplished and his people will be gathered together in his eternal glory forever. That is the hope I live for and know as he prepares me and others for this glorious moment.