There are many parallels with the Christian life being likened to a race, or a marathon, in the Bible and outside. I’ve never liked this analogy. Anyone who knows me knows that if I’m running, it’s because something is CHASING me. So, I’ve largely ignored this part of the New Testament, a metaphor for this thing called life.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m plenty ambitious. I take a lot of enjoyment in finding the most efficient way of doing a thing and then doing it fastest, first. I’m definitely competitive. Recently, however, I’ve been experiencing an onslaught of one thing after another, and feeling frustration for things not going to the pace that I’ve set for myself. Maybe you’ve said it yourself, or heard someone put it like this, “If only everyone was operating at my pace, everything would be so much smoother…”
This week, in a session of prayer, I
griped voiced my concerns to God, genuinely baffled and lost and feeling like everything was falling apart. I couldn’t understand it. That was when He said three words to me,
“Wait for me.”
It was a message that could have come from one child to another, and perhaps, that was His point, speaking to me like the five-year-old that admittedly, I feel, when the world seems to come crashing in, and I just want to hide under a table.
“Wait for me.” When someone is lagging behind you because you’re setting your own pace, going too fast for the other person. When it’s about you, and not them.
David Bonifacio put it succinctly another way, “Ahead, Behind, Beside, Always Moving Together“. While I didn’t read the entire article, one idea that I found compelling was his illustration of wanting to run beside his wife (emphasis mine) because of their relationship, not because of his own ambition or goal.
I’ll repeat that in case you missed it, because of their relationship.
Had I been setting my own pace … instead of running with God? We hear a lot about running from God, or running towards God, but running beside Him? Is that really what He wants — to be our companion?
The destination is the same, but rather than experiencing the frustration of waiting for God to catch up with me (because clearly I know where we need to be, ha!) or being the one trailing behind, never catching up, and feeling brow-beaten with discouragement, running alongside Him, for the race, and occasionally, He runs ahead to challenge our pace, to push ahead a bit more.
How often have I sacrificed developing a relationship in other areas of my life, for the sake of my own ambition?
I’m thinking of the trips I’ve taken, the antique malls I’ve browsed, ‘to spend time together’, where I’ve abandoned my friends/family and set my own pace. I’m naturally antsy and in an antique mall, I will breeze through an aisle and a half and loop back to join the remainder of the group, which has advanced a few booths down from where I left them.
Have I been unknowingly advancing my own ambition (to find the best deal, to unearth some new bauble) at the missed opportunity of developing my relationship with those individuals? The thought is a troubling one.
Maybe it isn’t for me to set the pace; maybe it’s His. To walk, to jog, to run.
To be together.
And to trust that His timing is always the best for our lives.