Sprinting or in it for the long haul?

Posted: 2012 04 05 by Chris Goforth in Authentic Man, Biblical manhood, Challenge, manhood, masculine, masculinity, Ministry, Production Values, Relationship, Spiritual Discipline

I made a decision to follow Christ when I was 7 years old while attending VBS at an old country church.   Something inside of me always knew and believed there was a God.  I wasn’t raised in a Christian home and my Dad wasn’t around to teach me what it meant to be a man.  During high school I started attending a church that I walked a mile to.  It was during these walks that I really drew close to God.  I poured out my heart to him, began reading his word and felt him at work in my life.

During college I had some God moments where I felt his very presence.  Despite living a fairly rebellious life, I continued to draw close to him and he revealed himself to me.  In those moments where I really experienced him it locked in my belief that God really did exist.  Despite what friends might say, I knew God was true and so was his word.  Prior to moving away,  I had spent a year praying that God would breathe new life into me.

So I moved to Portland I was lonely, missing my friends and family.  I began listening to Christian music for the first time and it spoke to me.  I once again drew close to God and spent many hours just talking to him.  I began dating my wife and found a church I could call home.  It was here that I began feeling like I really needed to grow up and mature.  I knew if I was going to start a family I needed to make some changes in my life.  Those changes included getting serious about becoming a man and growing in ways I knew needed to happen.

We got married, were part of a church, I began leading a small group and began allowing other men into my life.  I began reading the Bible and studying it.  It changed the way I viewed life, it opened my eyes to things I never had thought of.  I developed a prayer life and my life began to shift in how I viewed God.  I again experienced God in moments unlike I had never experienced.  I felt him in my life.  He spoke to me.  It is unlike anything I can really express in words.  I do know that time and time again I experienced God and it continued to solidify he was indeed real.

For over 15 years I spent pursuing God.  I served him in various ways as well as spent years leading others.  God continued to speak loud and clear what I was called to do.  He showed me the man I was to be.  It was as if I was in a race and I was sprinting towards the finish line to be the first to cross it.  Just over a year ago all of it stopped.

I got to a place where I was just tired of all of it.  I was worn out and honestly, just plain burned out on God, religion, the church and doing all that I had done.  I tried to force it; the practices I had once used weren’t doing it for me.  It just seemed to make it worse.  There were times where I began even wondering if all that I belied was really true, or was I just being foolish.

It’s taken a while but I realized, the sprinting I had done was not what I needed to sustain me for the long haul.  I needed to take a step back, re-examine my life and figure out how I was going to pursue my faith and belief in God for the duration of my existence.   I realized many times my problems have been me.  I have gone about following him in the wrong way.  I have made it difficult and complicated things.  I’ve put unrealistic expectations and conditions on it.  As I looked back I began to see repeated patterns where God showed up in my life.  He was real, his words were true and he has and will always be there for me.

I’m currently working through how this is supposed to look and feel, but I’m taking my time.  I’m going back through his word and allowing it to sink in.  The spiritual growth I had in my 20’s and 30’s was fantastic, it cemented principles and truths I needed.  Walking with God is not a spring to the finish line.  It’s a journey, one that will take years and one I am looking forward to.

Are you sprinting or pacing yourself?

Comments
  1. bobbalkcom says:

    Yeah.. I’m with you, Chris.

    I’m sure you’ve thought of this but that “tired of it” feeling may not have been you. It’s always an opportunity for God to draw you closer – for you to draw closer to God. God may have given you that feeling.

    I’ve found through a similar season that it most definitely is that. Surrender and greater intimacy with God come to mind as a way to explain it. I’m convinced the “fed up, tired of it, over it” feeling was Him rocking me out of the somewhat comfortable and drawing me (an opportunity, at least) into a deeper relationship with Him.

    It required some difficult decisions at first. They came easier over time. Why I was doing or participating in something has become the overriding question. It’s been tough but the answer “because that’s what everyone’s doing” (I’m talking “good christian things” here) is not enough.
    Sure, sometimes I go ahead and participate. Many times not.
    I’ve asked God to heal me of that feeling that I SHOULD be involved. It’s has made me rely on Him.
    He has led me to some things that I wouldn’t likely have seen/had the opportunity to get involved in – I can say that for sure.

    I agree – it’s a journey…our walk with God. One that has to be led by Him. I know He won’t lead me down any path but the narrow one.

    Bless you, brother!

  2. Steve Brock says:

    I love the way you’ve framed this because it makes me not only question whether I’ve been sprinting vs.running a marathon or journey, but even the metaphors themselves. I spend a lot of time thinkng and writing about travel and the spiritual connections to that, so I’m probably overly used to the journey metaphor. One aspect of it that you remind me of is this: On every good journey, we take breaks, or we should. I constantly encourage people to carve out a vacation on their vacation just to rest from the go-go-go of travel, but I realize I don’t do that enough in my own spiritual life.

    It’s in those breaks from the sprint or the marathon – those time-outs with God – that He and our own lives make just a bit more sense. I think about John Ortberg’s explanation of the spiritual disciplines and how it is about training, not trying. I agree. But even amidst that training and amidst the long journey of life, we need those moments of pause, reflection and even celebration.

    When I stop thinking about my spiritual life in movement terms, when I take the time for the breaks, I finally start to get a hint that it really is more about the relationship (John 17:3) than the destination or even the journey itself. But it’s hard to stay in that place which is why we travel best when we do not travel alone and we have other brothers and sisters to remind us of what we already know. Kind of like what you’ve done for me with this post!

  3. Kevin says:

    I like this post with the extra comments others have left, it was encouraging. May many more read the blogs found here on Hardcore Christian Men and that they have an impact in their walk with and becoming closer to the Lord.

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