Howdy, pardner! Welcome! This post is the last in a series called Swim Your Own Race, which I’ve worked my way through, writing each day in the month of October. If you’d like to start at the beginning (good choice) or find a link to each day in the series you can do so, at Day One. And P.S. … it appears, among the many issues with my website at the moment, that my comments might be BROKEN… sorry about that.
So, if you’ve been following along for a few (or many) of the last 31 Days, you’ve gathered the idea that I’d like to encourage/challenge you to swim your own race. And, since we pulled a lot of concepts out of that one simple metaphor over the past month, there are just a few things I’d like to say in summary so that if this is one of, or, the only post you read from this series, you’ll “get” the main things I want to say.
First — you are second rate to no one. Do you remember the scene at the end of the final movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy where the King has been rightfully placed on his throne and the hobbits are standing there, knowing that they had a part in making that a reality? They’re bowing to Aragorn, and he turns to them, and honors them by saying, “You bow to no one.”
Well my friend, hear those words, and know that they’re for you.
Now, I’m certainly not saying you belong on a pedestal higher than our one true King, Jesus, but what I am saying is that you do not need to compare your story with the stories of the people around you to determine whether or not it matters.
You are not on the bench and you are not second string.
Your story doesn’t need to have the drama that makes it made-for-Hollywood material. You don’t need to be aspiring toward ridiculously outlandish endeavors that might one day get you famous, or try to create something that will “go viral” and change the world.
You are already changing the world, my friend. You’re here.
So don’t worry about comparing what you’re doing, the race you’re swimming, to anybody else’s. Do your best to ignore the hype from the world around you, trying to convince you that fame and fortune are synonymous with living a life that matters. Remember that faithfulness to the God who loves you and has a purpose for you is the standard for measurement.
Love God. Serve God wholeheartedly. Love the people around you and be faithful to follow where He leads you. Let Him take care of the rest.
Your race is going to look different from everybody else’s, and it’s going to look different this month from next month.
Those words — abide in me — that Jesus repeated five times, just in the first eight verses of John 15, those words are crucial. How will you know what to do next month? How will you know what faithfulness is going to look like in that job, that place, that situation you haven’t encountered yet?
If you abide in the Vine, you will bear fruit, and be a disciple.
Remember that there are times when postponement makes the best become possible. You will sometimes feel like you’re treading water instead of moving forward. But the Lord is not wasteful with our hearts or our lives — He loves us too much for that. You can trust Him.
Don’t swim back to where you feel safe when opposition comes. Overcoming opposition is always a part of the greatest stories. There is going to be resistance until all things are made new, and anything worth doing is going to meet resistance on the journey.
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Sometimes it’s hard to feel joyful. Even just thinking about the race ahead of us, we perhaps want to furrow our brow and get determined that we are going to give whatever time we’ve got ahead of us all we’ve got. Believe these words with me: God cares more about you than about what you can do for Him.
He tells us the truth, and the truth should give us joy.
We know we are redeemed! We know this life is a gift! We should be THE most joyful people in existence! We have the privilege of knowing and loving and serving this amazing God who loves us so much He gave His Son for us!
In the southern part of the United States, we have a saying for a person who might be silly, a child that might be rambunctious, basically anyone who might’ve once had it all together but forgot where they put it. We say, “He’s a mess! She’s a mess! They’re a mess!”
But let’s be honest: WE’RE ALL A MESS!
And that God who created the universe finds us worthy. So worth loving that He would send His Son to reconcile us to Him, even when we were such a mess that we disobeyed Him and totally blew it.
The simple fact that God loves us in our mess is enough to put a smile on my face and even make me start laughing!
Find your joy in His truth today. There is a lot to think about when you’re racing. Your pace, your timing, your breathing, the right moment to start a good hard sprint-to-the-finish… but in this race, you can relax all those concerns and let go of all the worry. Our Coach decided to make it simple for us.
Abide in Me, and you’ll bear fruit. Keep my commandments, and you’ll abide in My love. Apart from Me you can do nothing, but abide in Me, and you will be a force for good that the powers of darkness will not prevail against.
Give thanks. Find your joy in the Truth and rejoice. Swim deep into the knowledge that you are so precious, and so loved, and so destined to be an important part of the most incredible story ever. Ever.
Keep swimming friends. Thanks for joining me in this journey.