I am a senior attacker on the Women’s Lacrosse team at a Christian university who loves Jesus—but I do have a confession: I don’t read Scripture as much as I should. But really, when do we read it enough? In all honesty, to me, being a Christian has never boiled down to sitting and reading Scripture as often as I would like to. Instead, it looks a lot more like walking to class, driving to work and talking to friends and strangers, while also having a running conversation with my Lord. That is what my prayers look like.
It starts when I wake up 15 minutes later than I am supposed to and start praying for patience. I go over my daily checklist, seeking strength and guidance to complete it all. If I could write a perfect morning, it would include a beautiful early morning wake-up during which I roll out of bed, pour myself a nice, hot cup of mint green tea with honey—always with honey—while I find my bookmark in my Bible. There would be no rush, no startled, “Oh, crap,” as I look at the clock, but instead a moment to look at my day, my week, my whatever, stare it straight in the face and think, “Bring it on.” Instead, I have my moving prayers that happen when I am not on my knees, but doing work. Thankfully, the Lord blesses my running conversations with Him, and the more often I just show up, He uses me in crazy, unexpected ways.
Here are a few things I have learned while being a college athlete:
1) Being exhausted at the end of the day is a sign of success.
2) Showing up is important.
3) The journey can be more important than the destination.
The first point on that list of three seems pretty straightforward, but I would like to elaborate. I am not just talking about physical exhaustion, but emotional, social and spiritual exhaustion. When the Lord fills us, it is our job to empty out all that we’ve got, to give it all out to anyone and everyone who comes along. We are able to do just this because we can count on his promises that when we empty ourselves He will fill us once more. It’s one of the best working systems ever created, but not everyone takes advantage of it. Some people call it “paying it forward,” while others call it “the mission field”—either way, spreading the love of Christ is beautiful, and anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this is truly missing out. Exhaust all of your resources, then enjoy the time of rest and dwell deeply in it. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains. Try it out; the reward is beautiful.
Secondly, showing up is important. We Christians get stuck sometimes as we ask to be used, but when the opportunity arrives and the need presents itself the volunteers scatter. Showing up is another one of those rewarding experiences that we only rob ourselves of if we don’t commit to it—whether that means showing up on the field with my teammates or showing up outside of Eastern’s walls. If we are willing to volunteer and prepare ourselves to be exhausted of our resources, the Lord will put everything else into place. All we have to do is show up: that’s it.
Lastly, a lesson that I am still learning is that the journey that leads to the end goal, the final destination, is far more important than the end goal itself. I am shown this over and over in the way that Jesus lived His life, how He took His time on the roads He traveled, how He intentionally walked everywhere He went. JESUS WALKED INTENTIONALLY! What a relief. We can too. We can show up and volunteer to exhaust our resources as we walk intentionally. We can meet other people right where they’re at and love them beautifully even when we first don’t know how. The process is beautiful. The system is perfect. Just show up.