Celebrating Our Stories – Words We Long to Hear…

Sue’s Note: Today’s post is written by my friend, Stephen Robinson, who has written two previous guest posts.

About five years ago, I approached Stephen after church. I knew he was a tech guy, and I knew I needed a tech guy in my life if I was going to develop a web site and write a blog. While I felt certain God was calling me to do just that, I also knew I had neither the ability nor inclination to master the technological aspect of my calling.

Stephen is one of the nicest people I’ve ever me. His patience and graciousness never cease to amaze me. His technical skills to take what I write and make my words and Ron’s photos magically appear on email and Facebook every Monday and Thursday mornings enable me to do what I love to do and feel ‘called’ to do. My friendship and professional relationship with Stephen have helped me understand how the Body of Christ functions together to accomplish the work God wants to do in our world.

I love Stephen’s transparency in this week’s two-part post. Our commitment to God and to the disciplines we’re convinced God has called us into include progress, challenge, victory and sometimes failure. In our lifetime journeys, including our journey of faith, progress is often three steps forward and two steps back.

Every step of the way, every miss and win God’s grace is more than enough!

“You Are an Ironman!”

“Well done, good and faithful servant” – Matthew 25:23

     I long to hear these are two phrases one day.

     However, as I shared in my first Listening On The Journey… post titled, Finish, I have struggled in prioritizing time in spiritual disciplines over time spent training.

     Sue has graciously offered me the chance to write about what I have been up to since completing my first half Ironman in 2018.

     I remember reading Sue’s email a few weeks ago congratulating me on completing the CDA half Ironman again this summer. While it was not easy, I had to humbly reply that I did not in fact finish this summer’s half Ironman.

     I didn’t compete in it this year. My wife gently reminded me/advised me there would be far too many family activities to even think about training. A far more exciting milestone was happening in our family. Our oldest daughter graduated from high school in June.

Stephen and his family after graduation

     If I said skipping this year’s half Ironman was easy, I would be lying.

     Taking a year off from training showed me how easy it is to become undisciplined in my spiritual development. Looking back on this year, I realize how undisciplined my time in the Word has been. Hitting snooze on my alarm is MUCH easier when I’m not training for a physical race. Less time in the morning to get ready for work often meant my time in God’s Word would have to wait, sometimes until that night, or more often than not, until a few days later.

     2019 started with the best of intentions. My wife and I agreed together we’d read the Bible in one year. I had every intention of staying disciplined in my quiet time. What I realized, though, was that without a fitness goal, I really struggled to reach my spiritual goals.

     This realization hit me hard. I began asking myself tough questions:

     Am I living to one day cross the finish line of a 140.6 full Ironman to hear the words, “Stephen Robinson, You Are an Ironman! OR,

     Am I living to daily die to self and serve the King of Kings?

     Has my life become about reaching physical fitness goals OR growing in my spiritual journey?

     I yearn to one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I ask myself another sobering question:

     Anything less and what am I living for?

     I’m reminded of this uncomfortable truth. All the medals on my dresser don’t mean anything if they come at the sacrifice of my time spent with God.

     In my follow-up post on Thursday, I’ll discuss how I plan to re-start both my training for the next CDA Half Ironman and jumpstart my spiritual discipline as well.

     I hope you’ll join me for Part 2!

     Stephen Robinson

9 thoughts on “Celebrating Our Stories – Words We Long to Hear…

  1. I appreciate your transparency and insight, Stephen. I’ll look forward to reading Part 2, but I I remember when Dr. James Dobson took a sabbatical for a few years as the head of Focus on the Family. If I remember correctly, he took a leave when his children were teenagers, because he wanted to invest significant time with them. It sounds like you’ve made the most valuable choice as well.

  2. I’m so proud of my youngest child (by a few minutes), Stephen. For a very long time he has been super active physically and in his desire to be one of God”s faithful children. . . and . .
    supporting his beautiful wife and 3 daughters. His plate is very full, a challenge we face many times in our lives. I keep him in my prayers, praying God will help him make the decisions on how to live an abundant life!

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