Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A runner, a writer, or a Christian?

Last week I read this New York Times article about Ryan Hall – the runner who is representing America in an Olympic marathon on August 12.

It’s a very long, very interesting, very inspiring read.

After reading the article I even considered taking up running...for a brief moment. 

The pinnacle of the article was the following statement:

“I was a runner who happened to be a Christian,” Hall said. “I needed to become a Christian who happened to be a runner.”
I was so intrigued by this statement – this conviction by Hall – that I immediately replaced the word runner with writer.

“I was a writer who happened to be a Christian. I needed to become a Christian who happened to be a writer.”

As I pondered the statement I thought about myself…my life…my faith. Am I writer who happens to be a Christian? Or am I a Christian who happens to be a writer?
So much of my life is about my writing: my work, this blog, assisting others when they have a need for writing.

I come alive when I write. Similar to what a different runner once said: I feel God’s pleasure when I write.

And while I believe God has given me the gift to write for His glory, first and foremost He created me to be in relationship with Him. That’s what I mean by Christian: I’m talking Jesus-loving, Christ-following. I don’t care if you’re Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic or non-denominational. I don’t care if you go to mass or church or Sunday school or other. I don’t care if you meet in a cathedral, school, 100-year old building or you’re part of a home church. When I say Christian I mean your relationship with Jesus. How you talk to Him, if you talk to Him, and how that impacts your life. I mean the gift of grace that is yours when you enter in relationship with Him. Not what your parents taught you. Not what your friends believe. But what you believe about the Gospel – the story of God’s grace – and His boundless love for you.  

So, what about you? What word would you replace with runner?

“I was a ______________ who happened to be a Christian. I needed to become a Christian who happened to be a ______________.”

Stylist, nurse, teacher, designer, accountant, chef, sales person, counselor, assistant, specialist, speaker, musician?

What about the non-professional roles in your life: neighbor, parent, spouse, cousin, sibling, colleague, volunteer, coach, friend?

So how do we do that? How do I become a Christian who happens to be a __________?

All Christ. All the time. Him in me. Jesus must become greater, I must become less.

Then it’s not about us, it’s all about Him.

Then these words that I scribble out here are not the result of falling in love with writing in 8th grade or a four-year journalism degree or endless hours of journal-writing and book-reading.

These words are a result of His Word transforming me.

Ryan Hall I think you’re onto something. Something even greater than recording-breaking runs. 

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