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1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race
all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way
as to get the prize.
I've been thinking through a question I read this morning in one of my coaching books. Here's the senario. Steven Spielberg has heard about your story and wants to do a full feature move about your life. So he is sending out 3 writers. The first writer will tell your story and how it will play out if you just keep doing what you are currently doing. The second writer will tell how your story spins out because you made one significant change (you meet a new person or move to a new place kind of change). The third writer tells your story from the vantage point of you becoming the person you've always wanted to be, doing the things you've always wanted to do.
So for me my first stop on this journey was to realize that the story is never about the supporting characters. To realize that I have trouble seeing myself in anything but a supporting role and to discover why. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with playing a supporting part. I suppose that's fine if that is truly what God has for you to be. But what if... I'm stuck there because I never considered trying out for a lead part? Honestly for me I've been content to work mostly behind the scenes on the make up or painting the scenery or doing the tech work. How many movies are made about the dolligrip or the first assistant. Clearly they are important, they do get their names in the rolling credits that hardly anyone reads except maybe their mom.
I'm having to think about this because not too many months back I finally got free from some chains that had kept me bound for many years. So I have been evaluating my life in light of that new found freedom and trying to sort out what I'm going to do with it. So this three scripts thing is a great tool for me to think about what I want and what I will need to do to get there. I've written about getting free from these chains in other posts so I won't repeat that here. I had owned the idea that I was not ever enough. I've spent a lot of time in the shadows of others because I just could not see myself as anything other than a supporting character.
Anyway Jesus helped some other folks re-write their stories. You remember Saul on his way to stone and murder those who were challenging the religious statutes quo of the day. On the road he encounters a bright light from heaven that blinds him. He hears a voice saying Saul Saul, why do you persecute me? You can read the story in Acts 9. You'll find that Jesus gave him a whole new story.
There's another story about a women Jesus meets at a well. She can't even go to the well during the customary times. Her life is an embarrassment to herself and others after all she's had five husbands and the man she is living with is not her husband. That might fly in our culture but that did not work back then. You can read her story in John 4. Next thing you see her doing is proclaiming to the whole town about this amazing person she met at the well.
There was the woman caught in adultery. Jesus writes in the sand and her accusers walk away. She got a new story. Theres the lame man at the beautiful gate. Peter and John on their way to pray help him rewrite his story and its started with 'silver and gold I have not but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus rise up and walk." Look at the disciples, they go from fishermen, tax collectors and pretty ordinary guys to become the leaders of this new thing called back then "The Way" that we now call Christianity.
Maybe its time for you and I to take a look at a new script. Thats what Jesus wants to do for all of us. Do you want script one, script two or the amazing script number three? So if Jesus is offering us all the choice of scripts why are so many stuck in the land of ordinary. I will remind you of the story Jesus told in Matthew 13 called the Parable of the Sower. “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
In every case the seed was good and had great potential. Lets say you are the seed and the scripts are the ground of your life. There are things written into each script that set the limits on what you are willing to allow the Lord to achieve in your life. In script number one the cares of day to day life are eating up your seed. You are running around putting out fires. You may not have a very clear idea of what you want or if you do there are obstacles that stand in the way. Maybe its the same old tired excuses or just simply not seeing yourself playing any other part than the one you currently possess. In script number two, you make that one change and you are so excited only to find out that no matter who you are with or where you are, life is still full of challenges. Ugh you chose to change the circumstances when what needed changed was you. Script number three is the one where you allow Jesus to come in and transform you. To redefine what is possible. It will take change and work to play that role. You'll have to stop blaming everyone else and take responsibility to begin today to make small but significant changes. One step of faith after another towards the vision that God wants to help you to see and move towards.
Writing these devotionals is a daily step of faith for me. In script three for me I can see myself in the part of inspirational speaker, writer, life coach and artist. Yikes its a lead role. It feels really big kinda scary. I am having to learn to dream bigger. I'm having to allow the Lord to challenge my old tired ways of thinking. The first step was to get free of those chains of self doubt and unbelief. I had to then realize I have something of value to say. I've had to get past my fears of being transparent and open and to begin to let people see the stuff the Lord has been building in me all these years as I have worked in the shadows of others. I know I am a work in progress and I know the script writers are before me as they now stand before you. What will you choose?
Our verse today says all the runners run but only one gets the prize.
Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Do you even know there is a race? Perhaps are aware of the race but you are content to sit in the stands and cheer the runners who have decided to run. What if you got up out of the bleachers and put on some shoes and headed for the track. What if you began to train and work with a coach. What if you decided to run. What if you decided to not just run but to compete for the prize. What if you got to the place where you believed you could win? What if you won? The good news is the race is your very own and you are competing against the you in the various scripts. The bigger question is what kind of race do you want to run?
Forgive us for limiting your plans in our lives. Forgive us for looking at the circumstances, our flaw, failures and weakness and thinking that has anything to do with your equations. You who have begun a good work in us are faithful to complete it. Lord help us to begin to think about how you might want to rewrite our story for you glory. Help us dream bigger and have the courage to begin to take steps of faith towards that dream. Lord walk with us every step of the way. With you all things are possible.