Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The track at my local fitness center has three lanes. Two of the lanes are walking lanes and the third lane is a running lane. Every few feet painted on each of the lanes is "walking lane only" or "running lane only" depending on which lane it is. Runners are suppose to stay in the outside lane and walkers in the inside two lanes. This does not mean that it is impossible to run in the inside lanes that are for walkers or impossible to walk in the one that is labeled for runners, it is just organized this way to keep people from colliding into each other and allow runners and walkers to share the track.

Whenever I am running there are usually people who are walking at the same time. Sometimes there are people who walk in the running lane and when they hear me coming they move over to the walking lanes. The outside lane requires one less lap to make a mile so I think people who are walking use it when there is no one running to cut out that extra lap. There are also times that people walk in the running lane and runners have to switch lanes, to the walking lanes, to pass them. So, why am I telling you this?

This morning as I was running there were two sets of walkers walking on the track with me. As I began running neither of the groups saw me on the track. Each group had two people walking one in the running lane and the other in the center walking lane. When I ran up to them on my first lap I moved over to the first walking lane and passed both groups of walkers. On the next lap I noticed that the first set of people moved over to the walking lanes allowing me to stay and run in the running lane. However, the second group of walkers remained walking in the running lane and I moved into the walking lane to passed them. This went on for over three miles. I ran two laps to every one lap that was walked. Sixty six times I ran passed the group walking in the lane that was for runners only. It got me thinking.

I am not on here to complain about the walkers in the running lane at the gym. They helped me to understand something about myself and about how we behave in the church at times. I am not mad at them. They didn't upset me they illustrated for me how we play church and how we sometimes are unnecessary obstacles to people running with God in the church.

The lanes at the gym are clearly mark and runners and walkers are free to be in whatever lane they choose. We can choose to follow the markings and live in harmony or we can choose to be an obstacle that others to have to deal with.

I see too often in the church, people walking or even standing, in the running lanes. They hold there ground and refuse to allow others to pass. They refuse to move aside so that others can participate in the life of the church. They stand in the way of change and new ideas. The become obstacles to creativity and others serving and leading. They talk bad about the new things and the new people. They do everything that they can so that no else can have the way but them. It is their lane and as long as they are in the lane things are going to be done their way. They just refuse to allow anything to have the lane but them because they have taken control of the lane. It doesn't matter what is said or how often they can be told that the lane is for others and there are lanes designated for them they refuse to budge. They choose to be an obstacle to those that are trying to run.

In this metaphor, which I believe God showed me this morning as I ran with Him, the runners are people who are trying to follow Jesus and live out the mission of the church. They are people who are dreaming dreams and seeking God's plan for the church. They are people who are willing to try new ideas and believe that all things are possible in Christ. They are people who want to serve and try new things. They are people who want to grow deeper in their love and commitment to God. They are people who want to walk by faith and not by sight. They are people who believe that God's greatest days for the church are ahead of us and not behind us.

The walkers are those people who are unwilling to change and fight any new things that happen. They are people who wont allow new people in leadership or tell someone new in leadership that they are not doing it right. They are people who try to control and micromanage everything and everyone. They are the people that say "we have never done it that way before." They are the people that say "the church has always done it this way." They are the people that talk bad about the church and talk behind peoples backs. They are people who just hold onto the past and complain about anything going on in the present. They are people who try to make everything into an issue. They are stumbling blocks and obstacles to anything happening that they are not in control of.

We are either walkers or runners. The church has both and just like the fitness center we can all coexist if we will choose the right lanes. We cant get in the way of others. Because we just get in the way of God.

What I learned this morning as I was running is that I just have to keep running. If you are a runner in the church, don't stop running even if there are a lot of walkers to maneuver around--keep running! Eventually, they stopped walking in the running lane. I persevered and outlasted the walkers. Also, some people did move aside and made a way. But, I also could have said, "this lane is for runners only. Get out of my lane." I did not do that, I just worked around them each time. I did not let them get to me. I did not let them anger me. I was willing to run a different path. Eventually, I was able to run whole laps in the running lane obstacle free.

Something for us to think about.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,


Diane said...

Wow - I want to be a runner!

Tammy said...

I am behind on your blog - but think you should print this in the newsletter so EVERYONE gets the opportunity to read it!