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Posted in Charater Qualities, Holidays, Life

Is Your Vision 2020?

New Year resolutions, goals, decisions, purposes, hopes, dreams, prayers, intentions…  Everybody talks about it.  Some of the most common have to do with health, weight loss, money, and ending bad habits.  I mean that’s what our life revolves around right?  We need money to live and most everything we do, because we live in our body, depends on our health and well-being; and bad habits?  Well those are just annoying things that we partly want to stop doing but the other half of us enjoys the habit too much for us to really put our heart into quitting.

Even though these may be the first hopes that come to our mind, what about spiritual goals?  Or character development?  Or dreams that could bring God glory?  For 2019 God gave me a verse to live by.  “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  As the year went on – which went by way to fast – Jesus created in me a grateful spirit and it became easier and easier to thank Him for everything.

Because choosing a verse was so beneficial this year, I began praying for 2020’s verse in November.  Amongst all the holiday prep I was overly stressed in a way I can’t remember having ever been before.  I’m not sure what 2020 has in store, but my verse came out to be Philippians 4:6-7.  “Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of god, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

At first I was kind of anxious about the New Year.  I was thinking, Oh No!  What is around the corner?! I began wondering, did I see 2020 the way God saw it?  Perfect eye vision is 20-20 and therefore the New Year has a great fit.  Do I see the year 2020 with perfect vision?  Is my vision 20-20? 

Without a vision the people perish…

Proverbs

Through the month of January I will be praying a lot about what my goals should be for the rest of the year.  The book of Proverbs says, “Without a vision, the people perish…”  My focus should be on Christ, but what does He want to do through me.  What should I pray for?  What should I hope for?  What should I advance in?  I have so many ideas for writing, running, health, relationships, money, and habits, that I’m not sure which ones I should move towards, which ones are just bucket list items and which ones I should toss.  I want to make sure I’m seeing the year 2020 through Gods perfect 20-20 eyes.

Is your vision 20-20?

Happy New Years ya’ll!  May God bless you with hopes and dreams that He plans to fulfill in you!

Coming up next week is Cadence in the Snow, so stay tuned!

Posted in Charater Qualities, Holidays, Life, Uncategorized

Taking the Leap

Christmas is literally right around the corner!  Is everyone done shopping and all ready?  Does anyone have anticipation as the day gets closer?  Do you like giving the gifts or receiving them?  What do you hope you get?  What are you hoping the recipients of your presents reaction is?  Or do you have any hope at all?

The bible is full of encouraging, life giving verses, but do you have hope?  What is a promise of God you are hoping He fulfills one day?  Or do you have any?  Are we supposed to just hope in heavenly things or does God call us to hope in things on this earth too?  What is hope anyway and how do we have it?

All of these questions began filling my mind as I prayed about this week’s post.  A few years back, God shared with me a promise that I have a hard time hoping in, a difficult time believing in, and an extremely hard time trusting Him with.  I know if He said it, it must be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that humans in general have a hard time entrusting the unseen to our Father, especially when it comes to the future.

The real definition of hope is looking forward to something in the future with at least some bit of expectation in receiving whatever it is.  Today’s definition has changed a little in the sense that sometimes we may eat a bunch of sugar and carbs daily, hoping that it doesn’t make us gain weight.  For example, holiday weight gain. *Grin*   There are multiple promises in the bible, but do we hope in them?  Do we hope God fulfills them?  Are we looking forward to the day that He brings them to pass?

The promise God gave me was Psalm 37:4-5, Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass.

As I wait for God to fulfill the biggest dream of my heart, that at this point I feel is completely impossible, God has challenged me to believe what He told me, to have faith He will fulfill it and recently, to hope in that promise.  Our loving Father up in heaven knows what He’s doing and can see the whole picture.  It baffles me, after all God has done for us, how we can one moment trust Him with everything we are, then turn around the next day and run from Him because we are afraid.

The Bible says God cannot lie and so therefore if He says something, it HAS to be true.  My question to you is this:

In light of everything you know, and don’t know, is there a chance that maybe you can lay the promise God has given you at His feet, and let Jesus take care of it?  Are you willing to take a leap of faith and trust Him to catch you, trust Him to take care of it?

I pray you are all able to Hope in Christ as this year comes to an end!  But in the mean time, Merry Christmas and May God bless you!

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

What is Your Focus?

Christmas is almost here and what joy do we have to show for it?  This year I have not been in the Christmas spirit and though I enjoyed shopping for gifts and listening to holiday music, something just seems to be missing.  Am I the only one that feels this way?

As I began thinking about this I wondered if maybe my focus was off.  What is Christmas about anyway?  I researched a little on what the worlds view was and I found out that the percentage of people who believe in the true reason of Christmas is slowly declining.

Do we spend too much of our holidays enjoying the pleasures of this world while Jesus slowly fades away?  Are we as Christians okay with sticking Christ in the closet?  I’m not saying we should go around and tell everyone how selfish they are for indulging in gift buying, participating in the billions of dollars spent worldwide on things that will only last for a few years, (or if you buy food, only a few weeks *smile*).  But where does our own heart lie?  What is our true motivation for everything we do around this time of year?  And most importantly, what does Christmas mean to you as an individual?

I have to admit I have been very overwhelmed by all the things I had to do before Christmas and I have not stopped one minute to enjoy it.  I looked at the unwrapped gifts underneath my tree and wondered what the point was in all this.  My motive in getting those presents was to show the receiver that I cared for them, that they mean something to me.  But did I enjoy it?

Two weeks ago I spent time with a very good friend and her family.  I loved every minute of it.  When the enemy started putting thoughts of worry and concern about the next day in my head, God gently prompted me to enjoy the present.  Maybe this is what I’m missing in the rest of the season as well.  Maybe I need to just enjoy the present.  Is this maybe what we all need?

Although we are all different, each of us still has to make a decision of what we focus on, what we keep our mind on, and what our motive is.

What is your focus this Christmas season?

As we finish up our gift shopping and holiday prep, let’s not forget to live with God and enjoy each moment with Him.  He truly is the reason for the season!

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
-Micah 6:8
Posted in Uncategorized

Peaceful Feet

Are your feet peaceful with one another?  Are your feet peaceful with your shoes?  Are they peaceful with the road?  Without our feet we could not run- obviously, right?  Most everyone has had to deal with some kind of foot pain and it’s kind of annoying- especially the persisting ones that seem to nag you all day.

The definition of peace would be living in a state of quietness, full of harmony, not being disturbed, but free from agitation.

As a runner I train myself to have peaceful feet.  I don’t want to scrape my feet across the ground- that would mean they are lazy.  I don’t want my toes to be squashed- that would give me less freedom and more foot pain.  I don’t want to hit my leg with the opposite foot during strides- because that just plain hurts.  And I don’t want to slam my feet on the ground since that causes more strain on the rest of my body.

One of the fruits of the spirit is peace and according to Ephesians 6, we should be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  1 Peter 3:11 states that we need to seek peace and ensue it.  Being shod is simply having shoes on and ensue means to pursue.  So we are told to seek peace and pursue it and to wear peace on our feet. 

For me, physically speaking, shoes are required for running. (Although I have done a couple barefoot training runs, in the grass.  I wanted to try a couple on the road, but it’s a little cold for that now.)  I make sure to get ones that keep my feet supported and comfortable, replacing them as needed.  Right now that means about one and a half pairs a year. 

Spiritually speaking, peace, as I wrote about in a different post, is an awesome quality to have.  It’s so, well… peaceful!  In order to run the race of life effectively, peace is required.  Think of a situation you are in right now.  Pick the first one that comes to mind and write it down.  Now under that begin writing what it would look like if you added peace to the equation.  Now, you could just use the word peace but that would defeat the purpose of this exercise.  But really think about it.

Let’s say someone is going through a tough time with a relationship.  Without peace, they probably have anxiety, maybe fear, doubt, most likely some bit of worry is in the mix, could be some bitterness or sadness. 

If you are still bearing with me- since I know this is a longer post- here is an exercise I have been using quite a bit lately and it has helped tremendously.  But you have to do the steps in order.  No skipping around. Take Philippians 4:6 and follow each step in the verse. 

  • #1: Write down what you are worrying about.  What is taking your peace away? Write down how you feel about the situation, etc. (End of Thinking Capacity *smile*)  Don’t give God any requests yet, right now you are just writing down your situation and the problems surrounding that. 
  • #2: Give God thanks for everything you wrote down and more.  Spend about five minutes thanking Him for whatever comes to your mind- even the so called “bad”.  An added bonus is to thank Him for who He is.  Thank Him for what He has done in the past and thank Him for the character qualities He presents toward you. 
  • #3:  Now pour out your heart to God telling him everything.  Don’t leave anything out. Everything! 
  • #4:  Last but not least, find a verse that speaks truth to the situation and every time you are tempted to dwell on any negativity concerning this area, quote the verse over and over again. 

Recently while running, both physically and spiritually, I personalized 2 Timothy 2:17, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of Power, and of Love, and of a Sound Mind.”  So since God has not given me a spirit of fear, essentially I am choosing to live in fear.  But what comforts me is that I don’t have to live in fear and I’ve noticed fear is the motive behind most of my anxiety- fear of what others think, fear of getting hurt, fear of losing a loved one, fear of making the wrong decision, etc.

I pray you will try the exercise I have been using and that God would work mightily through that.

Happy Runnin Ya’ll!

Posted in Praise Report, Racing, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

“I Am Never Running Again”

Have you ever watched a hurdles race? To me that looks awful. Running straight forward is hard enough, but running and then jumping over fences throughout the race… no thank you. I sometimes just struggle picking my feet up high enough so that I don’t scrape my shoe across the pavement.

But do you know what happens when we determine to push through that wall, whatever it may look like to each of us? God gives us the strength and grace that we ask for because in our weakness, His strength is made perfect. Do you want God’s perfect strength over your life? Then you need to give Him your perfect weakness.

For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

Psalm 18:29

During my 5k race last Saturday, a thought crossed my mind that I’ve only had a few times in my running experience; I am never running again! But as soon as the race was over I couldn’t wait till the next one. What happens when I have this mental breakdown? The answer is mental fatigue and a stressed mind. When I run, I hit this mental wall that I dread. I call it a mental breakdown. I’ve learned that the sooner I can get over that wall the better my run can be.

This particular 5k, I had about three weeks to train. I had never run a 5k race in under 30 minutes so this was my prayer. But it seemed every time I prayed this, 28 would pop in my head. I would laugh and think, “Yeah sure, under 28 minutes would be great, but since that’s not possible, under 30 minutes will do just fine.”

Before the race I gave the results to God. The gun was shot and we were off. At the one mile marker I was shocked by how fast I had gotten there, and I felt great. A few minutes later, “Smack!” I hit the mental breakdown wall. I determined to push forward and prayed for peace. Coming up to the next mile marker I was praying it said two miles and not one and a half. It said two and I felt very relieved. A few moments later I noticed my body was getting exhausted, I knew I had pushed it harder than ever before. I prayed, “Please Lord, just let it be under…” Again, 28 popped in my head. I said, “No, under…” And this time, 29 popped in my head. I said, “No. Under 30. Please let it be under 30 minutes.”

I turned the last corner and when I could see the finish line, I took off as fast as my tired legs would let me. My parents were smiling and everyone was cheering me on as I crossed the line. When I asked my parents the time, they said it was around 27:30. I thought, “No way, you’re kidding!” It was then that I realized God must have been the one saying under 28. It seemed like forever before they put the final times out. And sure enough it said 27:30. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe God could, or would, or how, or… so many thoughts went through my mind. My HPR (Home Personal Record) was 29:48!

One thing I know… My Coach up in Heaven knows what He’s doing! If only I would listen and trust Him, I can’t imagine what the outcome of other things would be!

Posted in Uncategorized

There Are No Rocking Chair Marathons

Can you see it? You are watching the Boston Marathon and realize in the middle of the road sits a rocking chair with a young man on it. Quietly he rocks, swaying back and forth as each runner passes him. He looks pretty rested and peaceful but neatly etched into his brows to where you can barely identify it are lines of anxiousness. Listening to the pounding of the runners around him, he laces up his shoes but continues rocking. Occasionally it looks like he wants to get up but he only remains seated. Later after the race, you walk up to the man and ask why he remained sitting in that rocking chair.

“Well,” he answers, “I wanted to get up and join the other runners, but I was comfortable and occupied in my rocking chair. I didn’t see any need to get up and run.”

When you ask him why he entered the race he excitedly replies, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon!”

Confused, you may walk away, but you will never forget that man sitting in the rocking chair. How often are we sitting in our own rocking chairs, comfortable and occupied, with dreams and goals swirling around in our heads, as others run past us fulfilling the desires of their hearts?

My entire life I have had trouble with procrastination. I see the big picture and get overwhelmed. I may be very excited about the vision God has placed in my heart but fears, anxieties and worries, motivate me to procrastinate as long as I can. I have a friend who is in charge of organizing most of her family’s ministry projects and one afternoon she was telling me all the things she had to do over the next month.

“How do you get all of that done on time?” I asked her.

Smiling she replied, “I just do a little bit each week.”

This post was a struggle for me to get done. I kept looking at the notes on my desk and thinking, “Oh, I’ll do that later.” But the problem is, sometimes “later” never comes. There was a quote I found that said, “Run, even when you don’t feel like it, because it’s in those moments you probably need it.” Think about it. Without the tough days in our life, we’d never grow, we’d never get smarter, and we’d never get stronger.

Personally, I need to stop waiting for the perfect weather before going for a run because sometimes, that perfect weather never comes.

Have a Blessed Week and Happy Running!

***By the way, there is such a thing as a Rocking Chair Marathon. Look it up. Just keep in mind, they never get anywhere. ***

Posted in Be Still, Life, Training the Mind

Listen

This past Sunday I asked God what the topic for this week’s post should be. I instantly heard, “Listen.” Many times we love talking more than listening. Sometimes we have goals of “talk less, listen more,” or “be quick to hear and slow to speak.” But how often do we actually follow through with our good intentions of doing so.

This week God challenged me to take the headphones out, set the phone aside, and listen… and I listened. First, to the pounding of my shoes on the pavement, the soft breath of my lungs and the many people heading to work, creating the sound of what we call morning traffic. But there was more beyond that that I rarely ever hear; the cool breeze through the trees, the joyful singing from the birds, the crunching leaves from the leaping deer, the water trickling over rocks in the river, squirrels and chipmunks chewing up their nuts, and crickets quietly playing music in the swaying grass. In enjoying everything that God has blessed us with, how often are we quiet enough to listen to His still, small voice.

This was a struggle for me all week. To just listen and be still as I ran caused me to see and feel my negative thoughts about running on a more negative level. I prayed for wisdom and listened. I learned a lot. I came up with a ton of comparisons for this blog. However, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. “How do I conquer these negative thoughts and get past my mental plateau?” During my quiet time Friday morning I asked God to show me something in His Word. I always try to do that. It’s one way I feel loved by God because my primary love language is words of affirmation. I listened but nothing seemed to stand out. I decided to just start writing the post. Praying for wisdom in writing this, I looked up and saw a verse I’ve never seen before. It was on the opposite side of the page from where my devotional had taken me.

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Galatians 5:7

It struck me. I was believing a lie which was greatly hindering my running dreams. I would repeatedly say to myself, “I can’t do it.” That is a lie because the Bible clearly states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) That is the truth! And the hinderer… is the enemy, Satan, that great deceiver. He is out to steal, kill and destroy. Now I must add something to my running prayer. That God would bind and gag the enemy so that he may have no influence over my running. Praise be to God!

Take out the headphones and tune into the voice of God. Don’t forget to Be Still – at all times – and Run! God bless ya’ll! Have a great weekend!