“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” I Corinthians 9:24-25 (The Message)
I don’t always like my personality. I feel disrespectful saying that because I’ve learned over the past few years how insulting it is to God when we say we don’t like something about us that He created and hurting my Father is the last thing I want to do. However, I think the part of my personality I don’t like wasn’t part of His original design for me. Or maybe He allowed that aspect of me so that I’d need to reach out and ask Him for help.
I have a tendency at times, maybe it’s to combat the laziness I also possess, to jump in with both feet and bite off more than I can chew. I don’t think that was God’s purpose when He created me. I’m thinking He wanted me to have that zeal for living but to learn how to balance it alongside rest, fun, etc. So, it’s not a coincidence that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how my relationship with God isn’t a race. It’s something to be savored and enjoyed – including the ways I grow deeper in that relationship with Him.
I used to work for The Book Club Network and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was in charge of their READERS ONLY GROUP where they give away free Christian/family friendly books every month in exchange for an honest review. These books are nonfiction as well as every genre you can think of for fiction. Great books. Wonderful books. My own personal library. (If you’re interested in checking them out for yourself, visit www.bookfun.org) And I learned a lot about God as I read the different types of nonfiction books offered. I use a “Read Through the New Testament in a Year” guide for my Bible reading every day and then I like to read a chapter in a nonfiction devotional type book as well. It works well for me and I grow deeper in many different spiritual practices that way: marriage, parenting, prayer, self control, etc.
God invited me to resign from that position in mid-January and since then, I’ve been playing a lot of catch up in every area of my life. That includes reading books from the library. But my schedule is much busier than it was previously, so I’m finding I have multiple books I’ve reserved from the library sitting, waiting to be read, and I’m having to give them back before I can crack open the spine. And I’ve been feeling guilty.
However, just because a book is offered at the library, doesn’t mean I have to read it right now. It’s not a race to see how fast I can read all the great information to help me grow in my relationship with Him; it’s more about the journey and asking God what He wants to teach me in our relationship together. God would much rather I enjoy my time with Him – exploring, talking, debating, communicating, listening and recalculating when I get off course then to check off some imaginary boxes because I’ve “mastered” yet another topic. It’s a relationship, not a registered class. It’s about building that relationship, not racing to some imaginary finish line.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017