Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trying new things...

For the first 23 years of my life I was an above average athlete. My strength was always my speed. I was deceptively fast. I could really move for 50-70 yards and that was great for playing soccer and later flag football among other things.

While I could move for short distances, endurance sports have always been my weakness. I was always one of the better soccer players on my teams but would consistently get beat handily in 2 mile runs by the bench warmers. It was frustrating. I have always wondered what the deal was. Do I only have one lung? Do I have lungs the size of peanuts? I don't get it. I used to run all summer long and see guys come to pre-season camp having only run for a couple of weeks prior to arrival and they would run circles around me in distance races. Ughhh....

Having said all that, you would think that I would just stick to sports I have a knack for but that just isn't the case. Last Fall, I began riding single track bike trails. I got hooked and had a blast. After a while something kicks in a I want to see where I stand in regards to other cyclists, thus racing. I was supposed to race last Sunday in a Clydesdale category for heavier riders, but the race got rained out.

This leads me to my near death experience last night in Garland. There is another sport called Cyclocross. It is basically a steeplechase for bikes. You ride through a track in a grassy field and have to carry the bike across certain obstacles and hop back on a continue riding. I rode in the lowest category of riders and was quickly thinking that folks like me should inspire an even lower category. Most guys were on special bikes created for this type racing and I was riding the only bike I have, my mountain bike. The race format calls for riding all out for 15 minutes plus two laps. Sounds pretty easy, but is much harder than you can imagine. I was covered in mud from head to toe, raced in two races, though I would die after each one, and finished nearly dead last. But I have plans to be back next week.

Here is why:
1. I am intent on living a missional life. As a pastor we have a tendency to live in a little bubble with other church people. I want to invest my life in building relationships with folks outside my bubble. This is a place where I go and hang with people, hang with their dirty mouths, the obscene jokes (which are usually very funny), a place where adult beverages abound and there are very few other Christ followers hanging out. Am I there to try and convert them or set up a PA and play Christian music and preach? Ha, no. I simply want to intersect my life with their life. This is one of the ways I can be missional. In time some of them may figure out that I am a pastor and perhaps a crisis may arise where I can step in and play an important role in a difficult time of life. How are you living missionally? How are intentionally living life outside the bubble?

2. It is a challenge. With my body type, it is unlikely that I will ever become a great cyclocross racer, but I have always tended to shrink away from things that do not come naturally to me. I am not naturally good at this. It will take a lot of work for me to ever place (finish top 3) in one of these races in the lowest division. It may not ever happen, but if it does, it will have cost me a lot more than some of the other victories I have had in life that had more to do with natural talent than lots of hard work. Are you like me in that you shrink away from things that don't come naturally to you? Is it time you pick a new challenge in your life?

1 comment:

Jared said...

This is awesome man! I know what you mean about the bubble. I'm trying to figure out what living missionally means for me now that I'm a stay at home dad with a 9 month old. Good luck with staying injury free in your new adventure.