Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Be a "bottle of water' for someone today

I have never run a marathon….nor do I aspire to do so, but I have great admiration for anyone who can run at all. I can’t really understand WHY people like to run because I have no desire to do so because I don’t like to sweat or be out of breath.  In fact, the friend from Boyne City that invited me to visit/speak at his church, Pastor Charles Fowler, once told me, “If you EVER see me running, you better run too, because it means something really big is chasing me!”  I laughed at that one because I share the sentiment, but at the same time, am in awe of those who are able to run/jog at all, especially those who run any kind of race.

The news media often covers the major marathons in the country, and one thing I am always fascinated by is the way the runners are able to grab a bottle/cup of water from those on the sidelines that are there to provide them with that much-needed refreshment. The runners can often grab the bottle and take a drink without missing a step or interrupting their stride. Often, taking a quick drink is all that the weary runner needs to get a burst of energy and keep running.  What a great thing ….to be either the one who provides the water…..or the one who receives it along the way.

I have always referred to my quest for a new life as a journey; not necessary a sprint, but rather a slow and steady walk that will end only when I draw my last breath. Though I’ve never run a race, I can imagine that one who has, likely feels many of the same things I have felt in the past few years of my own personal journey. I have experienced highs and lows. I have had moments of great energy when I was moving at a quick pace, making great progress, and times when I was so weary that I didn’t think I could do this another day. I have journeyed through days of “sunshine” and had moments of incredible grace….and times of trial and sadness when all I wanted to do is sit down and quit.  There have been times when it seemed like I was walking ‘uphill” and fighting a losing battle….and others when things were ‘smooth sailing” and the journey was easy.  The journey has taken me places that I never imagined I’d see and  provided me with the opportunity to experience things I never ever dreamed possible; allowed me to meet some pretty incredible people who have walked with me; and provided me with a joy (runner’s high??) that I have never known. This is a journey….a race….a walk…..that I will travel for the rest of my life.

Throughout this journey I have never had someone stop me along the way, and LITERALLY hand me a bottle of water…but I certainly have had MANY that provide me with a figurative one to refresh and renew me.  God provides me with that “living water” each day that comes from His grace/presence in my life. YOU….your words of encouragement and appreciation; your willingness to share your own story with me; your presence in this group and in my life….. provide me with that bit of refreshment each day that revives my weary soul and motivates me to keep going. Throughout the day, I find/experience so many things/people/situations that are just like a bottle of water to a runner….things that quench my thirst; renew my spirit; energize me; inspire me; and remind me that I AM NOT ON THIS JOURNEY ALONE: Even when it seems like I am the ONLY one on the road; the ONLY one not eating dessert or a special treat; the ONLY one trying to do the right thing; the ONLY one who understands my desire to help/inspire/bring hope; the ONLY one who knows how important it is for me to keep on walking. I KNOW….beyond a doubt….that I am not alone; that God walks with me AND he sends people into my life to journey with me. 

All day long there are ‘water bottles’ along the way. Sometimes I recognize them; sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I need them more than others; sometimes I am just fine and can walk on without them. The important thing that I want to always remember is that THEY ARE THERE. God provides them; God gives reveals His presence and provides us with all that we need to change our life. All we have to do is learn to look for them; recognize them; and  pick up those “water bottles”; reach out and grab all the blessings around us; allow Him to work through others to strengthen us on the journey; and above all, say THANK YOU and be grateful.

My friends…. Thank you….for  offering me a ‘bottle of water” on my journey; for standing on the sidelines to cheer me on; for inspiring me to keep going when I’m tired and want to give up; for walking the journey with me. Mostly, thank you for your words of encouragement and appreciation. I write each day for my “own” personal growth, but I share my thoughts with you only because you are willing to read them.  You are a gift to me and I am grateful for the part you play in my journey.  I too, want to be that for you. I want to provide you with that “nourishment” to motivate you to keep on track. I want to share with you all that I’ve seen along the way and the things I’ve learned. I want to warn you of the ‘pitfalls’ in the road and point out areas of the journey that might be harder than others. I want to walk WITH YOU…and share in your joy as well as the heartache.  What a privilege….to be both the GIVER and the RECEIVER of the water bottle! 

Today…. I encourage you both give and receive as you walk your journey.  Look for all the ways that God sends you strength; all the messages of encouragement He gives you; all the ways He reminds you that you are not alone. And….at the same time….look for all the opportunities He gives you to ‘be that bottle of water” for those around you. A smile; a word of encouragement; a “Hey, you rock” or “Thank You”; a gesture of kindness or love; even an act of forgiveness or patience can be all that someone needs to keep on their own journey to a better life. You never know….YOU….might be all that someone needs to keep on track rather than give up. You have the opportunity to change not only your own life; but the life of others….just by walking your own journey.   What a privilege; what a joy to be a ‘water bottle” for someone today!

Enjoy your day today….don’t get so caught up with getting to the finish line that you fail to enjoy the journey or you miss the blessings along the way!