Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5K faker...

I recently began to pick up a renewed interest in running.  When I was in college, I ran all of the time.  So much so that I would eat food all day and never gain a pound.  I am not talking about that healthy stuff people tell you that you need to eat to stay skinny.  My old roommate would appreciate this post, because she could tell you of the times we would order pizza and I would eat MOST OF IT myself!  That is embarrassing, now that I think of it.  I sort of don't want to publish this with that last sentence in place, but it is the truth, and that is what I do...."gumball head", remember?   

Anyway, running was easy!  I had so much strength and endurance that I would sign in RELIEF when our coach would tell us we only had to run a few miles that day.  "Good, easy day", I would think.  Now, thinking about running a few minutes makes me feel sick.  So, how did I get here?  It is obvious really.  I got married, new life began:  working/teaching, church life, ministries, exhaustion, then came our daughter, and then a move, more church and ministry obligation, our get it.  It happens to everyone.  At some point, within all of the "busy", running to anywhere but the refrigerator became taxing, so, I just, stopped.  I don't necessarily miss it; I have this love/hate with running, but I do miss the health aspects of being in shape.  

So, as I stated, recently, I began to pick it up again...sort of.  I signed up to run a 5K for "Life Choices".  I planned on preparing for it, I really did, but that life thing got in the way again, and well, I only worked a little hard.  I suppose I only worked hard enough to prevent certain death on the road.  I showed up, pretty nervous, and ran the race.  I ran 3.3 miles, in 35 minutes.  Not bad!  I was surprised I did as well as I did.  I felt good and proud of myself.  

As the week went by, however, I realized that although I finished that race in a reasonable time, I totally faked it.  I didn't prepare adequately for the race.  I was terrified going into it, and sore and exhausted the week following.  Not to mention, during the race, I seriously contemplated heaven as a viable option.  

I showed up, with snazzy running clothes and ran that race in a time that would make anyone think I tried beforehand.  I faked it!  

I was in pain, it was hard, and I suffered throughout the next week.  The 3.3 miles proved to be difficult because I didn't do anything to become strong enough to endure.  

Life, serving or living for Christ, is a lot like running a 5K, inadequately prepared.  I was probably able to complete the race with some level of success because of my past ability and strength.  I was able to fake being a runner, but I reaped the consequences.  

Life is hard.  It hurts and leaves wounds.  Jesus promises he will walk with us through these hurts.  But, that is all depending on how much we are willing to get to know him.  The better we know Him, the more equipped we are to handle life's lemons.  If you give your life to Jesus and prepare your heart with His word, He can give you what you need to endure life's not so sweet moments or seasons.

Just as remaining idle didn't help me run the 5K, idling away our life as a  follower of Christ, will not prepare us for running the race of life. 

We must keep growing, maturing, and serving to the end of our days.  

Faking it will exhaust us more, hurt us more and take more energy and recuperating than anyone has energy for.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

This stuff is hard!

Luke 6:27-28: 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, 

do good to those who hate you,

bless those who curse you, 

pray for those who mistreat you.

I've read this bible verse many times, heard it preached on more than the number I represent in age, and heard it said candidly many times.  As my eyes scan the words, I think yeah, duh.  Of course, smile and walk away.  Wish good on someone who is out to drag your name through the mud.  Look in the eyes of a seething, hurtful person and silently pray for them.  Best one yet, turn your unmarked cheek and let the person smack you AGAIN; perhaps literally.  In theory, it sounds simple enough, I think.  In a stable, still, calm state of mind, I honestly believe that revenge is for losers.  

BUT, who the heck am I fooling?!?!  This, it hard stuff!  No one is perfect, and if I am honest, I can say I am a big offender of anger and chalk lines that represent the offenders.  I want people to pay for their offenses.  I want them to know they hurt me.  Even when I don't realize it, I am waiting for the moment they realize they were wrong.  Sometimes, I even put together scripts in my mind of the moments the offender comes back, begging for forgiveness.  

Lately, I feel God is preparing me for something bigger than I have ever thought possible.  I feel that He is calling me to a speaking and writing ministry.  I have lived through Hell on Earth in my early years, and have been pulled out of mire and muck.  My dysfunctional upbringing has left scars and wounds that no one should bare.  My choices as a result of my sin have left me shamed, and my head reminds me, constantly, how inadequate I really am!  There have been people strategically placed, by Satan, that have helped to remind me when I have forgotten how terrible I really am.  BUT, God has something to say about this.  He doesn't believe any of those things I have written and He is wanting to avenge me!  Grasping on to the fact that the God of the universe wants to restore my broken heart, give me back purity, show me the love of a Father, and take away memories that cause me cringing pain, is still something I can barely fathom.  The thought actually causes physical weakness.

So, with this said, God is doing some Spring cleaning lately.  And...we (Him and I) are stuck somewhere around the first room.  The cleaning of this first room includes easy stuff like, LOOKING WITHIN, within to my heart!  The things that lie dormant in our hearts can be hidden from man, but never from God.       

Within my heart, there lies hate and hurt and desires of revenge and, here it is, ENEMIES!  Because God knew he was creating humans, he put this little nugget of truth in His word.  He didn't say ignore your enemies, He didn't say walk away from your enemies, He said LISTEN, Love them, bless them, and pray for them (NOTE: not for fire and brimstone to reign down on their itty-bitty heads).

So, God is working on me and in me.  He is forcing me into being the child of God He has had planned for me to be all along, but refused with reckless strength.  He is shaping me into that person He wants.  The one who can turn their other cheek, who can pray for the ones who hurt me, and the ones I could, if I were so inclined, call an enemy.  

The funny thing about giving power over to God,  praying and finally desiring the peace that comes with living a way God wants me to live:  HE has given me lots and lots and lots of opportunities lately to use this new found open heart.  I am changing, slowly, but surely.  I am wanting more of Jesus, and less of the revenge that brings about worldly glory. 

You are my Rock and my Strong Tower,
My Creator, my Sustainer.. my Deliverer.. 
You are my God..and You know..
Yes You know...
  Therefore what can man do to me? 
For Your will is perfect and Your timing immaculate.. 
And in Your time You make all things beautiful....

All things...