Today I ran. It was a crisp cool morning.
The weekend rain had settled the dust.
The long gravel driveway and the two other gravel roads I ran were quiet and peaceful.
My running music was Billy Squire’s greatest hits, but as my mind ran on ahead of me, the music was soon an almost unheard background tempo…
I have never been an overly confident person.
Like many others, I often struggle with self-doubt.
As a preacher, even when I should have been confident in my ability, such knowledge often eluded me.
Why did I have such a lack of confidence?
There are a number of reasons.
I’d like to let myself off the hook and pretend that’s just the way I was wired. But the truth is I have allowed other factors to reprogram my original software with glaring glitches that are not all that flattering.
Where do these glitches come from? What causes our programming to be corrupted? The preacher in me wants to pound the pulpit and say in thundering voice sin is the reason. Sin corrupts everything, but that may be too simplistic of an answer.
From my personal perspective, instead of trusting in how God sees me, instead of finding my self-worth in Him, I tended to find value in performance.
As in how well I performed in whatever capacity was called for.
Great performance always calls for pride and setting oneself up as the standard by which we measure.
But, performance is subject to many different variables. Some we can control; others we cannot. At any rate, as long as pride allows any of us to be the standard, failure is bound to happen.
Nobody is perfect.
Certainly not me.
Nor you either.
You know what happens when you fail often enough or performance falters? Yep. Prideful self-confidence is going to suffer!
But that’s not the end of the matter. As it turns out, our own pride in performance isn’t always the culprit. Sometimes it’s the pride of others. When they set themselves up as your standard, chances are, you’ll fail that little song and dance too. Where or when any of us tries to live our lives to please others? We will both be miserable before it’s over!
This is hard stuff for me to admit and change. I like to make people happy. I like even more to know I knocked it out of the ballpark.
With that kind of motivation, it is easy to find yourself doing things for all the wrong reasons.
If I ever preach again on a regular basis, it has to be different than it was before. I have to be different. At the very least, I need to do a much better job of taking my ego out of the equation.
There I ago again.
Isn’t it funny where and how pride raises its ugly head?
I need God to take my ego out of the equation.
So today I ran.
As I ran, the music faded into the background, and I could clearly hear Cole’s words from the not-so-distant past… You done dood, Dad.
That’s Cole-speak for good.
High praise indeed.
How I wish I could hear it today.
One day I hope to listen as the Father says well done good and faithful servant, followed by Cole’s pronouncement you done dood, Dad. You done dood.
Today I ran on gravel roads. But in the blink of an eye, Cole and I? We will run together on streets of gold…
Ready to run,
Les Ferguson, Jr.