Scared, Nervous, Excited.

I ran track and cross-country in college. I’ve competed in hundreds of races, ranging from one mile to marathons. I completed my first half-Ironman triathlon (70.3) last fall along with my daughter and son-in-law. I ran in a 5K last weekend.

And every time I’ve lined up for a race, I’ve had the same feelings: scared, nervous, excited. Every. Single. Time. Ask any runner, and they’re likely to tell of that internal dialogue. I often pray: “Lord, help me do my best. This is going to hurt. Gotta push myself. Help me leave it all out there on the course. Am I ready?”

My stomach hurts. But then, the excitement is there, too. “This is what I’ve been training for!”

Yesterday, I addressed the congregation I serve, for the last time until May 3rd (we hope). We talked about what we’re getting ready to do as a congregation in response to the coronavirus. It’s scary. We’re nervous. But there’s also excitement: this is what we’ve been training for!

This is what we’ve been hearing sermons and singing songs and studying the scriptures and learning from Jesus for! This is our opportunity to care for others.  This is our chance to organize to feed kids who live in homes of food insecurity and food scarcity who won’t be getting the free or reduced-price lunches at school. This is our chance to check on our neighbors in those at-risk categories as outlined by the CDC. This is a chance to share toilet paper and hand sanitizer and food from our pantry with people who might not have any. This is our chance to go to the store and do shopping for people who are afraid to get out or whose health makes it wise for them to stay isolated for a time. This is a chance to serve, and to trust God. This is a time to share of our means, believing that we are but stewards of anything we possess, and only for a time.

Like the starter’s pistol that starts the race – whether or not we’re ready – so has a time come when it’s time to do our best, with God’s help.

Scared? Nervous? Excited? Me too. But this is what we’ve been training for!

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kevintully1204

Dr. Kevin Tully is pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie, Texas.

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