Sunday, November 1, 2009

God on the Greenway: Yielding

If there’s one thing that I have learned the importance of, it’s the value of yielding!! I’ve learned this principle the most while running around town and on the River Greenway. Yes, I admit, I most enjoy running uninterrupted. However, yielding is something I have had to learn and practice frequently (especially if I want to live to run another day!). ;)

You might recall that I once blogged about how I had to stop and tie my shoes. I pointed out that it’s better to stop and tie loose ends at that point rather than risk being stopped more roughly via a trip or a tumble! It’s a surrender issue either way you look at it. Either you surrender and fix a problem (and possibly save yourself from unpleasant consequences) or, you surrender to your pride (and possibly pay for it later)! Regardless, I think surrender is often inconvenient and loathsome to us, but since it MUST be done (one way or the other) which choice is obviously the better one?

The surrender/yielding issue has come up so many times in my running. One day in particular, I had it staring me right in the face! It happened as I was waiting to cross an intersection. I waited for the little white walking man to light up and when he did, I started running across. As I did, a huge tour bus (or something like it) was turning right in front of me!! I had a split second to decide what to do. If I continued, I would have been road pizza! But, because I YIELDED (even though I had the right of way!!) I was spared! I remember standing there in that intersection; looking at the short distance between me and the front of that bus and how close I had come. I looked up at the driver and threw my hands up in the air and said, “EXCUSE me!” I couldn’t clearly read the driver’s lips, but I think he/she was about as stunned as I was! I think they also knew that they were in the wrong and they waited as I finished getting across.

I thanked/praised God for saving me and for giving me the presence of mind to make the right split second decision. I wondered to myself about what I might have done had I had the mentality of, “No, it’s MY turn! I have the right of way! I shouldn’t have to stop! I’m going to keep going!” If I had an “about me” attitude, it literally would have killed me! The Bible isn’t making stuff up when it says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.“ - Proverbs 16:18 (KJV). Pride can and will kill you, but yielding saves your life! “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” - Matthew 10:39 (KJV). If you live for self, you’ll lose yourself (soul). However, if you lose yourself for Christ, your retain your self (soul) and live forevermore!

Yielding is an issue of either stubborn resistance or humble surrender. I know our sin nature makes it incredibly hard for us to do the right thing, but it’s not impossible. In fact, I think it’s simple enough that a DOG can do it! You can train a dog to yield to its master can’t you? Why can’t we yield to ours? I saw the perfect example of that on another occasion when I was running on the Greenway. I was going past a couple walking their dog when I saw it lay down behind them. I didn’t understand what it was doing. Most dogs get excited and try to come up and sniff you or something, but not this one. I thought that maybe this dog was tired from the heat or maybe just wanted to sit and watch me go by for some reason. Or, maybe it was just being a little “difficult” with its owners and didn’t want to walk anymore. However, I found out that none of these things were true! When I passed them again, after I had turned around, the dog once again laid down when it saw me coming. I smiled and asked the people if she was hot or tired. They said, “No, we trained her to do that.” I was just blown away by that! I thought it was amazing that they had instilled in the dog that kind of humbleness and respect! Like I said, many dogs on the Greenway are so excited and wrapped up in their own adventure of walking, sniffing, and um…..well, you know…that they don’t have time to “wait” on anyone or anything (remember Hitch…the inspiring, but hyper, dog?). This dog was a refreshing exception! I was humbled and refreshed by her graceful behavior. She had respectfully “bowed” (in a sense) to me. She laid down and put me above herself. It makes me think of these two verses:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” - Philippians 2:3 (KJV)

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Luke 14:11 (KJV)

What would happen if we honored God (and others) more than ourselves? What would happen if we ALL put pride and selfishness aside? What if we stopped pursuing our own desires and agendas and just bowed down in respect, humility, and service a lot more often? Can you imagine how much sweeter this world would be if we treated one another with this kind of mutual love and respect? Personally, whenever I see a glimpse of this, I grab onto it and treasure it in my heart. I cherish those moments and use them as fuel for my own behavior. Of course, I’m not perfect, but I strive to have a yielded heart of servanthood and submission!

Grace and peace to all of you! I pray that each and every one of us will learn to put our pride aside and yield to the Father’s Will! Pride can only bring us misery and destruction, but surrender brings us joy and life!! Yes, it can be difficult, but it’s far less painful than self-made problems resulting from our refusal to yield!! God bless you all!!


Shane Gilreath said...

I often find myself having that stubborn mindset that it's my turn and I'm not going to stop. I would have been road pizza after the tour bus ran me smack over! I also hate to let people cross when there's a designated cross walk. I think if I turned them into road pizza, or at least a slice or two, it would be their fault. Luckily, no one's ever caught me a real road rage. That sounds pretty bad of me, come to think of it, doesn't it? Your blogs are always great. This greenway series should be published. It's so well written and always makes me think.

Melissa said...

You? Stubborn?! No way!!!! LOL ;)

Thanks for reading/commenting!

Caite said...

Hello friend.. I am loving your greenway series. :)


Melissa said...

Well hey there sweetie! Didn't know you were on Blogger! I'll check yours out and "follow" you. :) How are you doing? Long time no see/talk!!

I have probably one more blog to post in the series before I'm done (at least for the year). You are one of the many that has helped confirm to me that I should make it into a book. Pray for me as I work on putting it together! :)

Shane Gilreath said...

Caite is very smart. The greenway series definitely needs to find a publisher.

Melissa said...

Ya'll can count on it as soon as I compile it into book form. ;) Thanks for the encouragement!! :)