Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Today I did something different. Instead of running a race for me, I ran it for others. I was a pace setter for a local half marathon. 2:00 was the magic time. I was to do my best to finish around the 2 hour mark. (which I did…2:00:20) Pacers are put in place to help other achieve their goals. During the race we are to keep a consistent pace and finish well around our time.
This was a totally new experience for me….one I didn’t think through totally when I signed up. 😉 I accepted this challenge with a few of my other running buddies. We were ready to try something different for a change. 🙂 We all had a great time making new friends and running through the Chickamauga Battlefield. It was beautiful morning to run…glorious fall foliage and amazing historic surroundings.
Pictures courtesy of the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon
One thing I didn’t think about when agreeing to do this was the immense responsibility I would feel once I lined up to the starting line. I was there to put Proverbs 27.17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another…in action. Which, again I believe I did…but, and this is a big but…:) I’m not sure I finished with the right attitude. You all know this blog is about my ups and downs in running and in life. I am going to be transparent here.
My goal was to cross the finish line as close to the 2:00 mark as possible. That I did. My goal was to encourage others along the way. That I did. My goal was to stay steady and as consistent as possible…that I kind of did. 🙂 But, I never dreamed I would feel as I do now that it is over. I guess it is because I am a people pleaser. I wanted all five who started with me to finish with me. I had one start and finish with me. One finished ahead of us and the others I returned to the course and ran them in after I crossed the finish line. They finished but not at their goal pace. I felt as if I failed them.
Now, I am not reaching out for anything here…just stating where God took me today. After processing all of this in a cool down/stretch out jog, I realized how hard it really was for me to let go of self. God used this and will continue to use it I am sure. As I pondered what I was feeling and thinking, I googled PUTTING OTHERS FIRST. It led me to a sermon by Brian La Croix titled Putting Other First based on Philippians 2.3-11:
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
SERMON: The basic idea here is that we need to take our eyes off ourselves and put them on others.
When we’re filled with selfish ambition and vain conceit, we miss the needs of others that Paul tells us we’re supposed to be concerned with. But when we consciously and intentionally look at others as being more important than we are, we start to shed that old skin of selfishness and self-importance. You need to gain the right perspective on others – that they are more important than you. We just talked a bit ago about the fact that selfishness and self-importance are not Christlike attitudes.
Jesus took His eyes of His own glory – glory He deserved and will deserve forever and ever. He took His eyes off that and looked at what we needed. That’s the example I want you to catch today. He took His eyes off his own glory and acted on the needs of other people.
Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to set aside your convenience, your preferences, your agenda for the sake of others? Are you willing to be a living example of the love and priorities of Jesus? His example is worth imitating. And not just the example of Jesus, but also His words. I think we’re all familiar with the Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12 –
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
I think it’s pretty clear – putting others first is what Jesus did, and we need to do the same thing. For us to really put others first and bring unity for the Body of Christ, we need to be people who are surrendered completely to Christ.
The pacing job is one that puts the above scripture and sermon into action. You truly have to have a servant’s attitude. You can’t be anxious for anything but in prayer take your requests to the Lord and ask for His help.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
You have to be ready to have some runners that have set lofty goals and fall back or others that go out really fast and then fall way back. You have to be prepared to run as if you are running for someone else…because you are. They are first and your run does not count. As long as you keep your focus on the goal set before you, then you will succeed. Putting others first is the key.
I think I may have missed some of that today. Not sure…:) I did have fun and we finished on pace. So, why do I still feel weird about it? My mind was too wrapped up in the things…the worry of disappointing…the worry of starting too fast…the worry of not staying consistent…the worry of not making the 2 hour mark. I need to let go and let God take those things so I could truly Pace for HIM! Sharing His love through scripture, sharing His love through encouragement…just sharing HIS love!
Will I do it again? Maybe. If so, I will bathe it in prayer and go in it Putting Others First.
Thanks for reading today. This blog is part of processing my crazy brain. 🙂 The soreness of the run is settling in and I am feeling the effects of the beautiful yet hilly course. 🙂
Now to end on a great note, the lady who started and finished with me…she was a running angel from Boston. She came here to run and was so excited about the venue and the natural surroundings. She is also a cancer and brain tumor survivor. She sharpened me and made me realize in life we truly have to lean on one another, set goals that keep us going and focus on the one who we are here for – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Still running blessed and learning every step of the way!