Walking to International Headquarters in the mornings (when I am in London) energizes and motivates me. When I arrive at my desk, my mind and heart are alert and ready for the day. I accept the 30 minute walk as a gift from God and seize every moment in reflection of his blessings, in anticipation for what the day will hold, and in prayer for the concerns and challenges for my family, friends, my colleagues and the international Salvation Army.
These past few days during this ‘cherished’ time, I have become somewhat distracted by the people sharing the same space with me on the streets of London. For some unknown reason there seems to be a significant increase in the exercise sport of ‘running’. Regardless of age, culture, shape or size everyone is ‘running’ to get fit and stay well. My two daughters (one in Australia, one in Canada) have embraced running as a significant part of their way of life. To be truthful, I admire those who have the capabilities and capacity to ‘run’. I will gladly champion, empower, encourage and support anyone who is finding that ‘running’ is improving their physical wellbeing. Good on you!
Me? I will continue to ‘walk’ physically but when it comes to my spiritual fitness and wellbeing I am intentionally ‘running’ big time! The challenges – being holy in an unholy world, living out my social justice convictions, embracing the opportunities to inspire and empower, preaching the gospel of transformation with confidence and outrageous courage – keeps me ‘running’ in step with the Spirit.
For me it is just not running but running to make a difference! Growing in Christ and living a holy life with all its challenges require purpose, confidence, discipline, endurance, perseverance and resiliency. There are many times when I feel like slowing down or dropping out but the words of Hebrews 12:1-2 (The Message) have become my mantra:
‘Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he ploughed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your soul.’
Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. We need to embrace this gift of life so that we can enjoy the race and, in the process, invite others to join us in this journey. Take a moment to consider those individuals, who inspired you to join the race, who continue to inspire you to press on. I am blessed by so many women around the world, who inspire me every day to keep moving forward, to not lose sight of the goal. I am especially proud that our international Women’s Ministries continues to make significant impacts and experience tremendous victories, as our women on the ground fix their eyes on Jesus and engage with their communities, working to make a kingdom difference in our world.
Even so, stay vigilant. Don’t let any obstacles or distractions keep you from running so as to win the prize. Make the most of every opportunity to insure you are fit for purpose and can stay the course. I say this, knowing that even in my current position, there is still much opportunity for growth and development. I want to be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead, and I want to ensure that my sisters around me are also ready to engage with our ever complex and changing world. As such, I invited members of the Women’s Forum to join me in attending an Understanding Governance seminar recently held here in London. It is a subject that many of us are being asked to speak into and engage with, but it is also an unfamiliar and complicated concept. I do not want to let the fear of something unknown keep me from being fully available to God and His calling on my life. These are the types of stumbling blocks that can derail us in our faith race. But stumbling blocks can also be turned into building blocks. I challenge you to consider the potential stumbling blocks in your ministry path and how they might become building blocks to opening new avenues for service and to advance The Salvation Army right where you are at today.
The race is on and I do not intend to be running all by myself! I want you to join me in this race. As women of God, we are running the race of our lives, and the prize is not a mere gold medal but it is eternity for ourselves and for those we will be privileged to champion along the way. We need to run without burdens that will weigh us down. We need to keep our heads up, eyes focused on Jesus and alert to any obstacles to ensure we will cross the finish line. So, here we go!run, ruN, RUN!