Before I did my first triathlon, I went online and asked others for help. The forums were filled with ‘wisdom’ and lots and lots of to do lists for the first-timer.
Some say you have to bring a bucket filled with water so you can get the sand off of your feet after your swim. Some say you have to bring this or that. Some say to get this gadget or some widget to help you finish the race.
The best tip I read was to learn by watching the pros race. When it comes to transition (when you go from swim to bike and from bike to run), the pros keep things simple. They don’t have a gazillion and one gadgets. They just have the essentials.
In a race, you don’t want to be complex. The more things you have, the more likely you will forget something or mess up. In a sport where every second counts, you don’t want complexity because it slows things down. The simpler you are, the better.
So for race day, I learned to keep things simple.
I learned that for shorter races I can ride and run without wearing socks.
I learned that I don’t need to pack the bike with 2-3 bottles of water (that’s extra weight!)
I learned that I don’t need to bring a bottle on the run because I can drink from the water station.
Did it work? Well, my transition time went from 2 minutes down to less than a minute.
When it comes to Christianity, we often think we need to learn more in order to become mature. To a certain extent, that is true. We need spiritual truths ingrained into our hearts especially when we are new believers.
Today when I read Oswald Chamber’s devotional, he said that perhaps God wanted us to unlearn something so our faith can be as simple as a child’s.
What if part of following Christ is to unlearn things?
The world will teach you that if you want to get ahead you have to be the alpha dog. You need to be aggressive and shut down all your competitors. You need to dress and walk and talk success in order to be successful. Fake it until you make it.
But Jesus never taught that. Jesus said blessed are those who are meek for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
What if in order to grasp the idea of meekness, we have to unlearn the idea of being aggressive? They are polar opposites.
You can’t live following these two principles. One of them has to go. In other words, you have to unlearn the alpha dog mentality in order to be as meek as sheep.
A while ago I talked to an American missionary who served in China for 15 years. He told me about how he had a bunch of health problems while he was in China. I asked him what his health plan was and what it covered. Because I had a liver transplant, health plan was very important to me. Many missionary organizations and missionaries will buy some sort of overseas health plan just to be safe.
He told me his health plan was Dr. Jesus. For a while, I really thought there was a health coverage plan covered by a Christian organization called Dr. Jesus. I’m embarrassed to say it took me a few minutes to realize that he meant Jesus was his healer as he shared how God healed him through divine appointments at the hospital.
It was then that I realized I had to unlearn the reliance on health coverage in order to trust more in Jesus as my healer.
I am not saying I have reached the faith of a child yet. But I am learning or I mean, unlearning things which don’t help me grow my faith in Christ. Having child-like faith does not equate immaturity. Rather, it is to strip down all the unnecessary baggage that stops us from trusting Jesus in a simpler way.
Simple is good.
Simple faith is a better way.
What is one thing God is trying to help you unlearn today?