Are you pursing happiness or Him?
I have been through many many many identity crisis in my life and my favorite one that stands is my 20 year-old-self going from couch potato to an all-in-runner. I was studying international mission work in school and reading all the inspiring tales of missionaries on the field. They climbed mountains, traveled miles, and crossed rivers to tell people about Jesus. But when I took a good look at my physical abilities, I knew there was no way I could run a mile without stopping let alone miles.
That was it. I made up my mind. I needed to be able to go the distance to show others the love of Christ. So I started small.
I began to walk the block. I added small bursts of jogging. Eventually I ran the whole thing. Then I added distance, one block at a time. I was never worried about speed because lets just be real – I never felt the need to go faster.
I exclaimed to whoever would listen: “I am getting FIT for the gospel. I will run every mile to tell others about His love for me.” Eventually I finished a half marathon reaching my hands to the sky with tears in my eyes, proclaiming: “Every step you were with me!” to God.
And, friends, that was very true for my heart. I really wanted to make sure that my body never held me back from a calling I felt placed upon me.
Fast forward almost ten years later – and here I am doing my fitness thing. I lift, stretch, and run to keep this body of mine strong. But that 20-something heart has faded and I listen to new voices: “Can’t stop now or your pants won’t fit,” “They are counting on you – you can’t quit,” and “You will be happy if you just get your body right.”
The joy of worshipping God by giving my desire to be lazy over to a practice of physical discipline has warped itself into a little gremlin that tells me I have to be more to be happy and to lay myself down at the idol of self. My hands stopped their work building the Kingdom of God to start building the Kingdom of Me.
Have you been here before? Do you know what I am talking about? We can start with the best of intentions and the purest of motivations but somewhere along the line we lost ourselves. There is hope for you and for me.
HEART CHECK ACTIVITY:
Grab a paper and a pen. Write out all the areas of your life where you invest your time and energy. Then from each of those get even more specific. Take a moment and ask God for a heart check. Then look back at your paper. Next to each part, write “Happy” if it’s happiness you are pursing and “Him” if it’s Him you are pursing. You might find some areas need to be marked with both, that is fine.
How are you feeling? What’s your paper look like? Take a few moments to ask God to show you what the next steps are to pursue Him. For many of us, it’s not things we need to quit, but a reorganizing of our priorities and our heart to get back to the main thing.