Thursday, November 21, 2019

The (Un) Amazing Race

We don't watch 't.v.' here (although we do have Netflix) but in the past, my all-time favourite show was The Amazing Race. I loved watching it to see which countries the teams would go to - especially when it was somewhere I'd been. 

Recently while away at women's retreat, one of my friends told me that the Event Co-ordinator had told her that The Amazing Race was coming to the resort the following day (Sunday). We had actually watched an Amazing Race episode before where the teams came to Chiang Mai, and people we knew saw them at the airport. 

So, when I heard this, I was SO excited! Our retreat finished after lunch on Sunday and I had some flexibility before I had to be at church at 4pm so I was hoping to spot something before I left. I envisioned seeing a clue box, detour, the pit stop mat, teams, camera crew... anything really!

So after lunch, I went to the lobby to check out. I repeated AGAIN about how cool it would be to see The Amazing Race. Just then, my friend spotted something behind us... a team!!!!

Eeeiick! I couldn't believe it. I noticed that they were wearing Amazing Race t-shirts so I grabbed my phone and took this photo.

"Let's go follow them!" I said to my friend, but since she's never even watched the show, she did not look the least bit interested. 
We parted ways and she started walking off to her car and I watched the team get away... {sigh}
Determined not to miss the opportunity for an exciting adventure, I start walking back to my car to dump my belongings so that I could go investigate.
Just then, I spotted a different friend packing her car. I started to explain that the Amazing Race were around somewhere and asked if she wanted to come stalk them with me? 
She said YES!! And then we saw them again!! I started hyperventilating and asked the a team for their photo. Then, I noticed that their t-shirts had some Chinese writing on them. "Oh it must be the Chinese version of the Amazing Race" I told myself.
Who looks more excited? LOL!

And then, off they went again... looking for clues or something!!

Knowing that the resort is big, I suggested to my friend that we ride bikes to get around faster. We set off, giddy with excitement (okay maybe that was just me).

As we rode around scanning the manicured gardens and paths for signs of the competition, we saw some guys up ahead of us, who looked like 'the crew'.
"Are you guys with the Amazing Race" we asked as we pulled up on our bikes. 
"YES!" they replied, "Well... it's a modified version of the race". 
"Can we take your photo?" I asked.

O.K. Yes. I was acting like a bit of a star struck teenager! I know.

So we kept riding around, still surprised that we hadn't seen other teams or the camera crew yet. As we turned around a corner, I spotted a 'challenge'. It looked like teams must have had to scoop animal poop until they reached a certain weight. COOL!

Getting back on our bikes, we kept laughing and searching. Finding one more team (who did not look rushed...hmmm) and evidence of another completed challenge. We were surprised that there was still no 'real' activity or a camera crew.

Eventually, satisfied that there was nothing more to see, we concluded that this "modified" version of the Amazing Race must have been for a Chinese television show or something.

Upon returning home and telling my family about my little adventure, I showed the envelope that I'd found on the ground to my daughter who used Google translate on her phone and then sent the writing to her Chinese friend to translate. We found out that this  whole "amazing" race was actually just organized by a Chinese school and was actually not that amazing after all!! 

Why am I sharing this story? To embarrass myself? Haha. No!
As I was thinking back over this funny experience (I guess you had to be there) it made me reflect on how so much of my time and energy is often taken up "chasing" after things that are not all they seem to be, that do not satisfy or that aren't even the 'real deal'. 

What, at first, sounded to me like the Amazing Race, ended up being so...un-amazing! It seems I had actually been following after something that failed to be what I thought it was.

And it made me question, in real life, what things do I need to stop chasing after this week in order to stay on my course? How can I forget what is behind... refocus, ignore distractions, and strain toward what is ahead? 

If this week you got distracted and ended up going down a wrong path, chasing after the wrong thing or mistakenly thought the modified version was the real thing... Pick yourself back up! Get back on track. It's never too late for the real AMAZING RACE to begin again. 

Phil 3:12 (TPT) I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover.  I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.

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