Waking Up Drowsy
I was sitting in an airport restaurant in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, leaving the country more sunburned and restless than when I arrived.
I fail vacations. This is not how vacations are supposed to work. You’re supposed to come weary from your every day life, you enjoy a week of rest on a beach, ignore your Google calendar, and then go home refreshed.
But what if you’ve spent years resting and ignoring? What if your sloppy hibernation is over? What if you’re waking up?
Exploding into the Race
Throughout my pre-flight Dominican chicken and peppers, I was fixated on the scene unfurling on the restaurant’s television. The Olympics were live, and men’s track and field was the event.
I’m not much of a runner. I can run a solid 5k. By ‘solid’ I mean ‘its not horrendously embarrassing.’ My athletic prowess is akin to Gimli the warrior dwarf from The Lord of the Rings. “I’m very dangerous over short distances.” I don’t know where these Olympic runners would fit in Tolkien’s saga. Maybe Gandalf’s horse.
They slipped their shoes in and out of the starting block to be sure nothing would catch them up. They stamped their feet, and shook their legs out, swinging their arms and throwing their heads back to flood their lungs with gallons of oxygen. They were so aware of their bodies, how each part moved, how it flexed and extended. Then the signal came. They crouched, placed their feet, arced their backs like a predator stalking prey, and waited.
I watched for a pause when the gun sounded. There was no pause. They didn’t hesitate for a second. They exploded from the blocks, and didn’t slow until the fastest pressed his chest through a bit of tape a few hundred meters off. It was stunning and ferocious all at once.
And then, on the bottom of the screen ran a ribbon with the day’s headlines. Terrorists had attacked. Bombs had gone off. Refugees were adrift. And Louisiana was under water.
I’ve been snoozing on the track.
It’s been nice, and peaceful, and rejuvenating. Good things have been handed to me. I took them, thanked God, and then cuddled up with them to snooze instead of using them. God’s blessings have been rich, but He doesn’t give us gifts to lull us into an apathetic cat nap. We’re meant to take them, wield them, and go out into the world. We’re meant to explode into the race.
This was my fourth trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m so in love with these people and this country. I love its color and choppy Spanish. I love its broken bits, its rough edges. I love how we watched a veil of rain pour down, and kids were dancing barefoot in the puddles because the radio was on and nothing was going to stop their joy. Driving through the countryside, I could feel the eyelids of my heart begin to flutter awake. As children walked the dirt roads without shoes. As teenage boys slipped naked machetes into their belt loops and trudged into a field to work because school wasn’t an option for them. As poverty nibbled its toothy bites out of lives and futures.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the third world. I know it well. But I haven’t been fully awake to what breaks God’s heart. It is not enough to sit in church, sing a couple Bethel songs, have a lot of feelings and tell people, “Guys, we need to be ready to serve.” It not enough.
The saints and disciples we love weren’t special. They just went and did.
We need to be awake and bursting into the gaps with the focus of a warrior, of a victor, of a servant, of children of the King. Are we ready to love and know HIM so we can respond the way He would if He walked the ground beside us? It cost Him. It will cost you. It will be worth it.
I’m preaching to myself. If you don’t know how to serve, serve where you are. Do the lowly tasks with joy. Surrender your time that isn’t really yours anyway. Take the second job. Dedicate time to pray. Know Him. Wake up. You’re cheating us all if you don’t.