Last night, I was asked to participate in a word association game. For this, I was to hold onto the first word or phrase that popped in my head when presented with the word. Why don’t you do the same?
Ready? Here’s the word: “Surrender.”
It’s likely your response was “give up,” “give in,” “lose,” or something similar. Admittedly, “lose” was the second word that popped up in my mind, but that wasn’t the instruction. The instruction was to hold onto the first word or phrase. When it came to my mind, it didn’t make sense, though.
My answer? “Selfless.”
Strange, right? It’s why my mind almost immediately jumped to another answer. It just didn’t make sense at the time. As the night progressed, it all came together.
I was participating in a small group study at my church, and typically, I facilitate a small group of my own. For a variety of reasons, no one was present from my group, so I joined another for the study. At first, I was a little discouraged about no one from my group being there. Had I done something wrong? Maybe I shouldn’t be leading? Either way, I shrugged it off and stayed with another group and I’m so glad I did.
As we went around the table with introductions, I gave some basics, how long I’ve been at the church, how long I’ve been a believer, and about all the “running” I’ve done from God over the last 20-something years. I’ve lived a life alternating between worldly and “christian.” I’ve sinned and destroyed my testimony in more ways than I can count. I deal often with guilt from those behaviors, but I have come to realize those are simply attacks when I get started on the right path. I’m resting more confidently in the saving grace provided by the death of my Savior, Jesus, on the cross. His blood covers all sin, no matter how horrible I believe my sins have been.
About a year ago, I committed myself to reading the Bible cover to cover. A Christian for nearly three decades, I should have done it years ago, but regardless, I’m doing it now. As I started that journey, something a former Bible study said to me years ago popped into my head.
When I was nearly high school graduation, I had already made up my mind on my path. I was leaving for boot camp three days after I graduated. I was going to make my own way, follow my own path. A month or two before I left, I was stopped in the hallway at church by Lori to tell me God had laid it on her heart that I was going to make a big impact on the world.
I didn’t know what to say. A little freaked out, I don’t really remember how I responded. I just remember walking away. I shook it off and shoved it out of my mind. I had not been prepared for what she told me.
As this year of scripture reading has continued, I have been feeling more and more like those words Lori spoke to me all those years ago were true. I am feeling more confident there is something more I should be doing. I’ve worshipped, I’ve prayed, I’ve broken down and sobbed. Last night, I realized I am to surrender my “self” to whatever the next step God gives me.
Get it? Surrender my self… selfless.
We were posed another question: “Has there been a time in your life when God asked you to surrender something?” As another shared, the word “belief” popped into my mind, which led to the title of this blog and my introduction in the small group. I referred to myself as “running” from God’s will for so many years, now, I’m “running beyond my belief.”
I started this blog about a year ago, focused totally on my running and coaching experiences. When I returned to running, I broke belief barriers of my own, as well as what others thought I could accomplish. Now I guide and encourage others to break their own belief barriers on what they believe they can do. Now I think opening up this blog might be the next thing for me to surrender.
That said, I intend to continue to post about running and coaching experiences, but I will begin sharing other things leading me “beyond my belief.” I hope you’ll join me on this journey.