That. Was. Ridiculous.

I’ll take a detour from the normal postings here because I just finished journaling about my experience at the Pacific Grove Triathlon and thought I’d share it for laughs.

My first attempt at an Olymipic distance triathlon quickly turned into the greatest physical challenge I’ve had to endure. Not because of the distance of the event, since I’ve done more than the required distances in my training. But because one of my fears going into this particular race became a reality.

The day started off unassumingly. Picked up my race packet, racked my bike, strategically laid out my transition gear, and got to know my rack neighbors, ate a sandwich, visited the port-a-pottys way too many times…all normal stuff. I was all set to go. And before I realized it, I was standing on the beach at Pacific Grove, soaking in the view of the recently risen sun over the water. I was in a crowd with a few dozen young guys in slick looking wetsuits and yellow swim caps. We were all part of the first wave. For some reason, the triathlon powers that be determined somewhere along the line that the youngest competitors are probably the fastest, so they should go first. They obviously have never seen me swim.

Anyways, the gun goes off and most of the young bucks eagerly rush into the water. Not wanting to get knocked around in the crazy washing machine of flailing arms and legs I stayed back a few moments before running out into the waves. The water was icy. The “steal-your-breath-straight-out-of-your-lungs” kind of icy, but I figured that I would warm up after I got moving.

Famous last words.

The course is laid out in a triangle, with two turn buoys out in the ocean. Swimmers have to go around both of them, then swim back to the beach, run around a rock that old ships used to use as an anchor point back in the day, then run back out in the water and do it one more time.

About 50 meters in, I hit my first patch of dense kelp. Ah, the kelp, the trademark of this particular triathlon and the bane of many a swimmer. I managed to slide through it without much difficulty, grabbing clumps of it and using it to pull myself forward. So far so good. Cake. Salty flavored kelp cake, but cake nonetheless.

On my way to the first turn buoy i hit a few more dense patches, some were not a problem to get through, but some of them proved to be a struggle. The kelp would get caught on my arms as I stroked through, and instead of just sliding off, they would stay caught and then bring along more of their kelpy friends as I pushed forward, eventually stopping my movement. I would stop swimming and take a few moment to untangle my arms, only to find that my legs would get tangled up as they sunk downwards.

Pretty soon I could hardly get more than a handful of strokes in before I had to stop and untangle another kelp mess. Its as if an ocean dwelling kelp monster was purposefully wrapping its infinite slimy tentacles on me.

I managed to finish my first lap, but was dog tired wrestling the kelp, using up much more energy than i anticipated. I went in for my second and final lap, resolved to just move slowly and not panic. Normally, this is a wise move. When the water is icy cold, it is a BAD idea.

The key to doing well in cold water conditions is to keep moving. My form had completely deteriorated by the second lap, and the kelp was relentless, dragging at me, pulling at me, latching its slimy arms on every limb so I couldn’t move. I made it past the first of the two turn buoys but I was in bad shape. Because I was moving so slowly and stopping so frequently my core temperature was plummeting, and my body was diverting all its blood away from my extremities.

About halfway through the second lap, again stalled and untangling myself from a patch of kelp, both my legs seized up. It felt as if two boa constrictors each wrapped themselves around one of my legs and simultaneously went for the kill.

I desperately tried to keep my legs stretched out, knowing that if I bent them even slightly, they would contract and start convulsing. “This is not something you can push through,” I thought. “Not here in the ocean. Be smart and get help.” I motioned to a race official on a surfboard and told her that my legs weren’t working anymore. As I hung onto the board for dear life, she called for a boat.

As I waited for the boat, hanging onto the surfboard, the other harsh reality hit me: If you don’t move, the cold will get you. The frigid cold invaded my now motionless body. My core temperate nosedived and by the time the boat got to the beach, I was a shivering mess and my legs were painfully convulsing. A team of race volunteers carried me onto the beach, where they stripped off my wetsuit, lay me down and piled blanket after blanket on top of me. They shoved hot water bottles under my armpits and next to my feet, but I couldn’t even feel them. If it weren’t for the convulsing pain in my legs, I felt like I could pass out. I felt like a beached whale. The skinniest beached whale in the history of…umm, beach-dom.

A doctor rushed over and started asking me all sorts of crazy questions, like “What is your name? Do you know where you are?” I guess the questions weren’t that crazy, but I was more taken aback that they were asking me stuff like that. I thought they only did that in movies and TV shows. (Do I really look that bad? Later, they told me that I had lost all color and that I looked like a ghost.) I wanted to answer to at least show them that I was still coherent, but my teeth were chattering so violently I had a hard time getting words out. I lay on that beach shaking uncontrollably for probably 45 minutes or longer, with volunteers trying to massage the cramps out of my legs. Meanwhile wave after wave of people were starting and completing their swim. I had a good view from my “beached whale” location by the rocks.

Eventually, the feeling returned to my legs and I was able to walk with some assistance to the medical tent, where they lay me down on the makeshift cots there and continued to ask me questions about when I last ate and if I was adequately hydrated. They gave me a lukewarm cup of instant noodles (nom!), which I ate with one of those disposable wooden tongue depressors (never did that before). I chilled (no pun) there for a while, responding to texts and Facebook comments. (The race actually posted that I finished, when in actuality I had just passed by the finish line on my way to the medical tent. My timing chip had triggered it) They had me walk around to increase my circulation, so I hobbled around while they observed me and scribbled things on their clipboards, murmuring to one another.

After a while, my core temperature had stabilized (it takes a LONG time to level out your core temperature, I realize, because of your body’s mechanisms to retain heat in your vital organs) and aside from really tight legs that felt like they would explode if someone so much as sneezed loudly, I felt okay.

Then I got a crazy idea…maybe I can finish this thing! Just half an hour prior, I wouldn’t have even thought about going back in. Now I really wanted to get back in the race. So I asked.

“Hey, can I get back in the race?”

The doctors discussed among themselves and essentially told me that it wasn’t a clear cut case, but they would advise that I didn’t, given that I just recently regained control of my body.

“Well, I’m not saying that you can’t do it. Moving around will probably be best for your core temperature, but your legs aren’t looking too good. You’re not walking well, your muscles need to replenish themselves, and you seem pretty dehydrated. Also, you’re still looking kind of pasty (thanks, doc). But your extremities are getting their color back.

I continued to talk with them and eventually they cleared me to go, probably because I was showing that I was lucid enough to speak intelligently and even joke around with them. They did give me a warning though.

“You have to take it easy. Your body uses up a ton of energy when its shivering like you were. All of your muscles contract rapidly and continuously, just like when you’re sprinting. So its as if your body were sprinting for 45 minutes. (wow, no way I could sprint for 45 minutes. What a workout!) You need to make sure you fuel up and don’t push too hard.”

I gathered my things and headed back to transition, where I chatted with my rack neighbor, who had already finished up his bike ride (errgh, I’m so behind. I’m going to be racing all old people now. Old people can be pretty fast, though).

Freed from trying to achieve any time, I was able to simply enjoy the scenery and humor the volunteers during the bike ride (it helps to break up the monotony of their day, and some athletes don’t acknowledge them). But it was clear that it was going to be a tough rest of the race. My legs were already starting to seize up again on the first lap of the bike loop, so I shifted into a quicker cadence and spun faster. Gotta keep the blood flowing.

I was fighting my hamstrings wanting to seize up for the entire 25 miles of the bike ride, and by the end of it, I was exhausted. I downed a bottle of coconut water and a pack of cola flavored energy chews along the way, trying to obey doctors orders, but I didn’t want to drink too much, otherwise my stomach would be sloshing around on the run, which is never pleasant.

I got off the bike and chatted with my rack neighbor again, who was gathering all his things now. (Errg, he’s done? Good job, though, buddy.) Pulled on my Vibrams and hit the run course. Within the first 100 yards I knew I was in for a really hard run. My legs could barely move. and I was hitting the energy wall like the doctor said I would. I ran (more like shuffled) for the first half mile, but had to stop as my legs led an open rebellion against me. This is what I imagine the dialogue was like.

Legs: “We’re not running anymore! We quit!”

Brain: “What!? What do you mean? I know you’re both locked up, but we’ve fought through getting locked up before, we can fight through this one.”

Legs: “But we’ve fought through it before at the END of a race, not at the BEGINNING of a 10K. And before it was either quads or calves only. Now its quads, calves, AND hamstrings at the same time!”

Brain: “Come on, you guys can do it. I’m tired, too. But think of all the training miles we did.”

Legs: “Dude, we were already locked up during the swim. The SWIM! Then you biked 40K. This is cruel and unusual punishment. We’re going on strike. And here’s some pain to prove we’re serious!”

Brain: “Aaah! You punks! That hurt!”

At this point I had even stopped walking and was leaned over on the side of the path, massaging my legs. A few passerby’s offered some words of encouragement, but I was now faced with how in the world I was going to run 10K without my legs.

I walked for a little bit, then shuffled along for a little bit, then stopped again. I was getting passed up by old ladies. (Man, this is going to take all day). I was really beginning to question if I could make it. 10k suddenly seemed like 100K. I was back over on the side of the road, debating with myself. Whether or not I would finish this thing would be decided by my brain, not my body, because my body had already checked out.

Kevin, you signed up for this thing and now you’re here, are you going to finish what you started?

I concluded that finishing this thing would be about guts and will, not physical ability, because whatever physical ability I had was completely depleted by now. It was no longer about the training, or aerobic capacity, or lactate threshold or VO2 max, glycogen stores, or mitochondria or any of those crazy terms. This was about asking myself if I wanted to finish or not. yes or no. If yes, then go finish the thing. If no, then don’t.

I started walking again, which slowly became a shuffle, which became a trot. One step at time, became one block at a time, became one aid station at a time.

“Go Vibrams!” “Come on Five Fingers!” the crowd kept urging me on, even if they didn’t get my name right.

And by the final lap, my familiar quick stride was back.

I finished the race, in horrible time. But that’s ok, beached whales are not known for their speed. There are always more races. But I still don’t feel as if I’ve proven to myself that I can do the Olympic distance well. I feel like I owe it to the distance to complete it easily before attempting the next step up (half-ironman). Call me old fashioned, but that’s how I do things. You have to respect the sport, respect the distances, and not just brush them off.

All in all, a memorable race, where I gained more mental endurance than physical endurance. I’m also not going to swim in kelp again. That stuff is brutal. And I’m getting a wetsuit that has sleeves next time.

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For a guy who considers one of his life’s passions to be writing, I sure don’t write a lot, at least not on this blog. I’ve alway intended to write more here, but a combination of things has kept me from posting more: namely, 1) lack of time, 2) fear of misrepresenting the Truth, and  3) a perfectionist mentality. But I think things may be changing. I’m learning that more people actually read this thing than I know, so I need to consider blogging as more of a ministry.

Its a time of re-evaluation for me. Every so often in your life, you have to step back and look at what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and correct the course. I’ve done a lot of thinking about passion, giftedness, providence, circumstance, to really figure out what God wants me to do, in light of who He has made me to be (gifts, personality, desire) and where he has placed me (circumstance, providence).

I don’t want to be someone who just goes through the motions, but someone who is intentional with all the things I am doing.

Part of this has stemmed from putting my body, mind, and life in overdrive for the past two years. I’ve definitely learned a lot about capacity and burnout from the experience.

A few years ago, as a college student at UCSD, I was walking down Library walk, and saw an acquaintance sitting and calmly watching people walk by. Not accustomed to seeing people just sitting somewhere without really doing anything, I went over and asked her what she was up to.

“Just waiting for divine appointments” was her reply.

That response has stuck with me for years.

I don’t think that sitting around and waiting for divine revelation is the best way to go about discerning the will of God, but there is a lot of wisdom in leaving margin in your life for the unexpected, rather than stuffing your calendar to the brim with activities. Flexibility is important when ministering to people, because people don’t fit neatly into schedules.

I understand this, and I’ve tried to remain as flexible as I can be, even if that means staying up super late or getting up super early. But largely, for the past 2 years, I’ve lived life without margin, and it has taken its toll, both on my body and my soul.

As much as I want to push myself to the limit when serving the Lord, I’m realizing that I can do the most for the kingdom if I can minister for the long haul, rather than drive myself into the ground and blow up after a few good years.

I realize that my approach to ministry and life should be more like my approach to training for endurance sports. Training for triathlons and endurance sports has taught me one thing:

You have to go slower to go faster.

When I go out for a workout, I rarely put forth more than 80% effort. Sure, there’s a huge desire to push harder than that, but its better to train at 80% effort consistently and frequently, than go all out at 100%, and then need to take a week to recover before you can run again, or worse yet, injure yourself so you can’t do anything for weeks. At the pro level, the training volume is about the same across the board. The key difference between the top pros and the rest of the field is that the top pros hold back and recover faster. Muscle is built during recovery, not during training. So as an athlete, if you never recover, you never get stronger. And if you never recover, you are likely to get injured. In all my years running, I haven’t injured myself (yet). Some of that is luck, because accidents will happen to even the most careful of athletes, but most athletes set themselves for injury by overtraining or training at too high an intensity. It takes more discipline to hold back than it does to go all out.

Who is going to run a marathon better, the guy who tries to sprint the whole thing, or the guy who knows the distance and makes sure he has enough to make it to the end? The first guy might not even finish.

And thus, I’m understanding the need to build margin and recovery into my life. Not to make things easier, but to ensure that I can minister longer and with more wisdom. You have to go slower to go faster. The goal is not to go slower, it is to go faster, but interestingly enough the best way to run faster is to run slower, and to do this intentionally. I think there was a reason that God set an example of rest when He rested on the 7th day, and set up the Sabbath as a day of rest.

Its important to note that I’m not advocating a “take it easy” approach to ministry. Muscles that are never stressed never grow either. But I’m advocating an intentional approach to ministry, one that realizes that not all the gifts reside in one person, one that understands that margin and flexibility is key when loving people, and one that realizes that a renewing relationship with the Lord is essential to minister to others, not just filling up a schedule and doing lots of things.

So here’s to margin. Here’s to longevity in ministry. Here’s to running faster than I ever have before when I’m a 70 year old man, with an even greater passion to do the Lord’s work.

Run hard, but run smart.

 

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one,  not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness…We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.What I know about love and believe about love and giving ones heart began in this.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 

To be hurt but alive, or to be safe but dead. My heart always returns to this dilemma…

 

No matter who you are, there are things you fear. Some fear public speaking, many fear death. For my entire life, I’ve had fear of heights, and growing up, I had a persistent fear of fans and windmills (seriously. its complicated).

But fears aren’t always so trivial. Many of us struggle with relational fears. As social beings, these fears are deeply rooted in our heart of hearts. I realize that fear determines how many of us live. We are afraid of being hurt by people, so we distance ourselves from them. We are afraid of what people will think of us, so we don’t speak up when we need to. We are afraid of not living up to someone’s expectations, so we either try too hard or don’t try at all. We are afraid of being alone, so we surround ourselves with people, or even isolate ourselves so that we can’t say that its because we were rejected by others.

God did not call us to live in a way that is governed by fear.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

This verse comes in the context of Paul exhorting Timothy to use the gifts given to him to be a steward of the gospel and of the teaching of the apostles. This was Timothy’s gifting. This was Timothy’s calling.

Perhaps Timothy was afraid of fully seizing God’s calling on his life. Maybe he was settling for something less than what God wanted him to do. Perhaps he was afraid of the consequences of being a minister of the Word of God. Maybe he felt inadequate for the task.

In any case, Paul tells Timothy: Don’t hold back your gifts. Instead, fan them into flame. Whatever fears you have, they are not of the spirit of God, because God didn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of self control.

There is no need to fear, because the power of God is with us, enabling us to do what we are meant to do. Do we trust Him?

We don’t let have to let anxiety and fear control our lives and dictate our actions, because we have a spirit of self-control. Do we use that spirit that we have been given?

Are our fears and inadequacies really bigger than God’s ability to use us to accomplish His will?

I say all this, but I can’t ignore the fact that fears are very real, and they are not something we can simply ignore, or pretend they aren’t there.

So what do we do? Here are some a few things I have found helpful:

1) We should consider if our fears are really worse than failing to glorify God. What is worse, having our fears realized, or not fully utilizing what God has given us for His glory?

2) We should keep moving forward. Its a Catch-22 that we often remain idle because we want God to reveal His will to us before we act, but God rarely reveals His “secret” or sovereign will to idle followers, but calls them to act in faith. Its true, there is much we don’t know about the future or exactly what will happen. But when we move forward in faith, we can begin to see the workings of God’s providence in action.

3) We should love God and people. Personally, this one hits home for me. So much of what I do or don’t do is because I fear people, not because I love them. So much of what I do isn’t driven from a love of God, but a fear of the consequences. If we walk to love God and love people, we will never be far from the right path, because these things embody the commands of God.

4) We should remember God’s presence. Isaiah 41:10 says:

10  fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The presence of God is assured to us, even as we walk and even as we still wrestle with doubt. We are not called to do this without any help. His constant presence is our help and comfort.

5) Soli Deo Gloria. There is nothing more basic and yet nothing more profound than this. The glory of God is the purpose of the universe. We as human creatures are in a unique position to do that, as those who bear His image. Everything, everything according to the glory of God. We must ask ourselves, what will glorify God best?

Despite the appearance that I may give off, I am a man who struggles greatly with fear. These conclusions have come from a careful consideration of Scripture and also as a result of my personal struggles with living according to fear rather than by the Spirit of God. I’m still striving to take those steps, facing my fears and finding the sovereign hand of God holding me up just enough to continue. But then doing it again and again as our relationship with God resembles a child learning to walk with more and more assurance and strength.

Keep striving, friends.

Mother’s Days aren’t the easiest days for me.

I am tremendously grateful for my mom and tremendously thankful to God that He saved her before she passed. So those thoughts are good to think about and meditate on, and I have no problem talking about them.

But there’s something about Mother’s Day itself. The last Mother’s Day I had with my mom, I didn’t take her to dinner.

I took her to the emergency room.

So as Mother’s Day approached, there was a bit of apprehension about what thoughts would go through my mind. I never know what to expect when I go visit her grave. Sometimes it gets emotional, sometimes it doesn’t.

I think many times I just choose to focus only on the good things. But this time around, I was confronted with a reality that I couldn’t avoid anymore.

I really miss her.

Its been a few years now, and I would not trade the fact that she is with the Lord for anything. But as I stood alone at her grave site (since my dad is traveling right now), the weight of everything that I’ve had to endure the past few years seemed like too much to carry on my own.

I’m not sure what it was exactly, probably the fact that I was there by myself, the ultra sentimental setting, and the fact that a cemetery is probably one of the quietest places you can possibly be, especially when normal life is busy and hectic, but I found myself in a rare moment of real weakness, when I honestly and genuinely believed that I couldn’t handle things on my own.

I’ve been experientially learning so much about dependence on God the past few months, and this has continued that lesson. I can’t remember such a prolonged time where I’ve felt the urgency to pray continually. It definitely has not been an easy road, but it has been a good road.

When my heart can so easily head towards the pride of being independent and self sufficient, this has been a very humbling and very sanctifying time. And I believe that a Christian in prayer is in a better place than a Christian in pride. I don’t believe it is possible to be in both at the same time.

God does use the most difficult of moments to bring ourselves to Him, quite honestly, the difficult moments do a much better job of this than the lighthearted ones do.

Strive on friends, He is drawing you to Himself, in the midst of your current trials. It may be a hard journey, but it is a glorious destination.

Growing up, I never liked Superman.

Things were just too easy for him. His strength was unfair. His speed was untouchable. He could take flight. He was invulnerable. And if that weren’t enough, he could see through walls and project focused heat beams from his eyes. Might as well give him invisibility and the ability to breathe underwater too. Why not? And he did not have to even try to gain these abilities either. He just inherently had them. It’s too easy for the guy. Even his name is too easy.

But oddly enough, as much as I disliked Superman as a kid, I now see myself with the compulsion to be like him. Or more accurately, not be like him, but become some version of him.

The heat beams are coming along nicely….

This is not the first time I’ve written about wanting to be Superman. The struggle to constantly have it all together, the desire to never be weak so others can rely on me, be seen by others as someone who has limitless inner strength, ever dependable, to always have the capacity to help, to fix, to care, to rescue, to carry any load, and bear any burden that I might have to bear, to be unphased by any pain that comes my way — these are constant struggles in my heart.

As much as I’ve tried to be the man of steel, the reality is, I’m a man of flesh. Flesh that gets bruised. Flesh that grows weary. Flesh that can hurt.

But when you’re trying to be Superman, there is no room to slow down and just be wounded. There is no provision for you to be bruised. There is no allotment for you to grow weary. You are not allowed to be hurt. Because everyone is expecting you to always be ready. Always be on. Always be the strong one. If you have a bad day, you’ve failed, and failure was never an option to begin with.

And there lies the problem. I’m not Superman, and trying to live up to that expectation just wears me out. I’m just a regular guy with an sinful heart. A man in need of a true Superman, the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Funny, how the path to living with the strength of God involves completely humbling yourself in utter dependence on it. I don’t contribute my strength to Christ and His work, rather I daily walk by clinging to His strength, in reliance on the work of His Spirit. I was never called to be Superman, but to be super dependent.

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 

Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Colossians 1:29 – For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.  

We all face things that we don’t think we have the strength to face, and its true: we don’t. But if we are living for Christ’s purposes, His purposes WILL be accomplished through us. Do we believe that? If you have Christ’s will, you have Christ’s strength.

Walk daily in grace, friends. Cling to Christ.

Here we go. Another post that has been on my mind for a while, but has been too daunting for me to tackle, because to write it would require too much honesty, and too much insight into my heart.

But I’ve learned that there is value in living transparently, and if my honesty can be of any help to anyone who may be struggling, then it is worth it.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I regularly struggle with discouragement. It does not take a lot to get me discouraged, and sometimes, it happens for no apparent reason. It feels like a letdown, and it feels as if nothing that I do really matters, as if nothing I do has any real significance. During these times, everything I do seems so…incredibly…small. And there begins to creep in a gnawing dissatisfaction.

“Lord, I want to do something BIG. What I’m doing for You now doesn’t feel big enough”

I’ve denied it for the longest time, but I really have to admit it now, that in my heart of hearts, there is a deep seated, unshakeable sense of unsatisfied ambition.

Ambition that regularly pushes me past my capacity to carry it out, and yet remains unsatisfied.

It seems so obvious to me now, that I’m always striving for something bigger, something greater, that I never ever really feel satisfied. I always want to be able to run further and faster, there is always something new I want to learn, I am never satisfied with how good I am at anything, there are always more ministries that I want to be a part of, always more people that I want to invest myself in….

It doesn’t stop, pushing me to strive harder, do more, learn more, give more…until I realize that I can’t keep pace with my own ambition. And instead of accepting the sovereignty and rule of God over these circumstances…I get depressed. And it gets bad.

What’s a man to do? Stop his runaway ambition?

It sounds like such a noble problem to have. Poor guy wants to do so much for the Lord that he is never satisfied with what he is currently doing. Bless his heart. 

I wish it were that simple.

The problem isn’t having an ambitious heart. God has sovereignly given me my circumstances: my spheres of influence, my resources, my gifts, my weaknesses, my capacity – and my ambition must bow to His sovereignty. The problem is molding that ambition to conformity with the plan of a sovereign and wise God, whose concern for His Kingdom outweighs my own, as does His knowledge of how to best accomplish His will with my life.

Is my ambition really for the Lord? Or is it to feed my own sense of fulfillment and significance?

Am I more concerned about how big my part is in His grand redemptive plan? Or will I be more concerned with the fullness of His plan? When we all stand in glory, looking back and marveling at the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan throughout history, will I even care how big my part is? Or will I be too busy worshiping Him, floored by His character and wisdom? Probably the latter. So why am I even concerned with how big my contribution is? Its not the size of the contribution that matters, its the worthiness of the goal that matters. And it is infinitely worthy.

Will I be satisfied to do the many little things that He has called me to do, but to do them with the full force of my ambition? Will I let Him guide my ambition, rather than me determining what will be best for His kingdom? God doesn’t call us all to do big things per se, but He calls us all to a big cause. And everything we do for that cause, though small, is inherently big.

There are no little people. There are no little sermons. There are no little prayers. There are no little ministries. There are no little Sundays. There are no little times of fellowship.

Friends, strive on. No work, if done for the Lord, is small. But do it with your full heart.