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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Most Important Thing

I've been having a tough time sleeping today because there's a lot going on in my mind.  A friend of mine recently lost her sister, who left behind a husband and three children.  Meanwhile, up until I learned what had happened, I was selfishly complaining about my life problems.  The thing is, when I heard what had happened, everything changed.  Death changes things.  It changes what was once important to something so trivial, and makes something once so trivial into something important.

No one on his deathbed ever said, I wish I had spent more time on my business.
-Paul Tsongas

I've seen parents let their children suffer without knowing because they spend so much time trying to provide a good place for them, they don't build a proper relationship with them.  I've seen husbands wasting their lives on video games and neglect their wives.  I've seen girlfriends work hard towards their personal goals, that it drives a wedge between them and their boyfriends, and they don't know why...

I'm not saying providing for a family is a bad thing. I'm not saying that video games are an abomination.  I'm not saying that working towards your personal goals is a lousy choice.

What I'm saying is that there's more to life than that.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.
-Mark 12:30-31

Nowhere in the Bible does it say to love God, follow your passion, THEN love your neighbor.  It says simply to love God, and then love your neighbor.

Simply put, our lives are all about relationships.  Everything else comes after that.  Looking back through history, it's evident that we have always lived in a community.  Sure, here and there, there will be the occasional hermits, but the majority of the human race have lived TOGETHER.

Yet in society now, we have found various ways to pull ourselves apart, creating a gap in our hearts.  When a gap occurs, our natural reaction is to fill it... with what?  Whatever we can get our hands on!  Sometimes, society tells us to follow our dreams and that will fill your heart!  Perhaps it's a sport or hobby!  It could be a game!  Maybe it's about self development instead!

And we miss our very own purpose.

We choose to elevate ourselves and find a place where we can belong, and in doing so we push away the very people that we could impact.  We choose to follow a dream where we accomplish many things, and when we arrive at the top, we find it very lonesome.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
-Dalai Lama

We are all born with a selfish tendency, thinking about what we can do to serve ourselves, and in serving ourselves, we turn a blind eye to others, and end up hurting them.  I've seen other people in pain because they have opened their hearts to another but after doing so get hurt because the other individual prioritized something else over their relationship... but the same individual who was hurt would also accidentally hurt another because of another similar situation.

We live in a world where we prioritize ourselves over others, and in doing that, we end up hurting those around us... and showing those around us that that is the way of the world.

So it's time we change that.  It's time we understand that we must not look at the fault that may lie in another, but instead, look within.  Look at ourselves.

I've often looked outward at how I feel people have treated me, and in focusing on the fault of others, I've found that I've begun to ignore my own faults (Matthew 7:3 anyone?).  Here am I complaining about how another person has hurt my feelings... only to realize that I too am at fault with another.

So we must start from within.

Oftentimes, I have told my Cross Country runners that running is not the most important thing to me.  I continue and tell them that running is merely my tool to share with others and to encourage others... that the most important thing in my life is my relationships with the people around me.

Some of you may understand the amount of training it takes to get to the point of running 100 miles in the mountains... but if you don't... it's a lot of training.  Haha.  It takes a lot of commitment and a lot of discipline to get to that point.  Running a few thousand miles, it takes up a lot of your time.  So one time when I was training for Leadville 100, 3 weeks before the race, I learned that my father had a stroke.  I didn't hesitate at all, bought a plane ticket, flew down to Japan, did not run at all for a whole month and spent day after day in the hospital.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what was truly important to me.  It was my father.

Don't let life blind you with what you may perceive as important.  Don't find out too late, like a few do, when you realize the importance of something after it's gone.  Life isn't about you.  The most important thing is living out your purpose, glorifying God and building a relationship with Him, and with the people around you.

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