Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I Call Hating Running

I have finally started running / walking again for exercise again after my foot surgery last fall.  Let me just say that I realized I still hate running.  I really do. As in....I need a t-shirt that says I Hate Running and even though I've run several half marathons, I don't have one of those 13.1 stickers on my car because I couldn't find one that said "...and I hated every mile."  But I love having run. In fact, the only reason I do it and the only thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other is knowing how great I will feel after....because at the moment the torture I feel would likely violate the Geneva Convention.  But I do as much as I can to make it bearable, like chew my favorite gum and listen to podcasts.  My absolute favorite way to start my morning run is to listen to Tim Keller who, I believe, is one of the best speakers/writers/theologians of our time.  He's our generation's C.S. Lewis.  He just has a way of making the gospel simple and relative to my life, right where I am.

This one really got me.  One of the things I battle constantly in my home is the "I call" announcement.  I cringe when I hear those words come out of my kids' mouths.  "I call the chocolate donut!"  "I call the front seat!"  "I call the last piece of cake!"  "I call that chair!"  It's like this major proclamation that no one is as important as I am and what I want is all that matters....never mind what anyone else wants - it's all about me.  

But it's not just kids.  We adults do the same thing, don't we?  We may not say it out loud because, well, that would make us look just foolish. But inside we're feeling it and thinking it.  "I call the corner office!"  "I call the seat next to the cool people!"  "I call that teacher for my kid!"  "I call that PTA committee!"  

You know we do.  And we hurt each other with it.  It hurts my heart to see one of my kids put him or herself above the others, because what it means is, someone gets left out.  Someone I love gets the shaft.  The short end of the stick.  Or no end of the stick.  And that makes me sad.  I imagine God feels the same way when he sees the way we treat each other.  

Here's an excerpt from the Tim Keller sermon I listened to this morning:  

I hate cancer.  Cancer has taken away a number of friends and family members of mine.  But there is a relational cancer - a spiritual cancer - and that is the deep default mode of the human heart, instinctive, to say "me first".  So, for example, if you go into a marriage - and marriage is in some ways the most intense kind of human community - in a marriage, if both people are saying to the other you first - you first - I'm putting your needs ahead of mine...If both people are saying you first, you're going to have a great love relationship.  But if either one or both - hear that - say "me first" - it's like a cancer eating at the marriage.  It might not survive.  Now, the me first impulse is absolutely natural.  If any of you have ever raised children, you know you don't have to teach children to say me first.  Me first!!!!  It's like they're born saying it, practically.  Or at least they're born feeling it until they have words to say it.  And what we have all learned from our parents hide it.  To not say it.  And I guess our parents are saying we shouldn't even feel that way but of course the fact is all we have learned to do as we get older is to hide it.  Little children just let it all hang out.  We can't get rid of it unless something radical happens to us.  And this is the reason the gospel starts with repentance and faith.  

Repentance is admitting that your whole life is permeated with self-centeredness.   Repentance isn't just "oh I've done some bad things".  Everyone says that.  That doesn't change your life. That doesn't connect you to God.  Saving repentance connects you to God.  ....  Repentance is saying that self-centeredness, self-absorption, self-righteousness, "me first", has - it permeates - everything.  Not only my bad deeds but my good deeds.  You have begun to become a Christian when you realize even my good deeds I've been doing to try to control God, control people,and even my good deeds are done in self-righteousness and self-regard.  So repentance is - Christianity starts - with saying I realize that my big problem is me first. 

(I think this is the link where the sermon can be found but it doesn't look like it's made it onto the site yet....or you can go to iTunes and download the Redeemer Presbyterian Church podcasts and it's the 4/3/16 sermon to hear the rest of it because there's so much more good stuff there.)

Let's try to re-program this default, y'all. This "deep default of the human heart to say me first."  I think we can.  I really do.   I want my kids to think you first instead of me first.  I want them to stop "calling" everything and instead ask, what would you like?  Instead of them thinking "it's all about me" I want them to think "it's all about you".  

And it needs to start with me.  

And I still hate running. But I love the revelations I have along the way. 

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