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Posted in As A Person, Life

Footprints in the Snow

Do you journal about your day?  Do you know what the benefits of journaling are? 

Journaling has become something I really enjoy and am often encouraged with when I go back and read the entries.  Multiple times in the Bible it says to remember all of God’s works, what He has done, and who He is.  I have done bible journaling and prayer journaling, but regularly still struggle with a normal everyday journal.  When I find myself discouraged, sometimes going over those writings, seeing what God has done, where He has brought me or changed me, can be all I need to persevere and continue running the Christian life.

Apparently for runners, journaling and keeping a running tally of how your runs go is also very important.  It helps you to “see” what makes your runs good or bad and enables you to plan ahead for your next outings to make them better.  I asked a running group I am part of if they use journals, and lots of them said that they did.  They explained that it really helps keep track of their training plans, what works well, what doesn’t work well, and also encourages them to push forward.

Have you ever heard of the poem called Footprints in the Sand?  Where the man is looking back over his life and wonders why during some of the hardest times in his life that God’s footprints disappeared.  He was recalling happenings of his past and noticed a pattern.  Though it turns out God was carrying the man during the rough times, which explained one set of footprints missing, lately that is not what stands out to me.

A few weeks ago, I went out for a run planning on just having fun and throwing in a couple training aspects here and there.  On my way out I practiced cadence training, of which I will talk about in an upcoming post.  On my way back, I stopped and looked at my footprints, which were neatly spread apart on the newly fallen snow.  But with closer examination I noticed smudge marks between my left foots landings.  As I stood there, I realized my suspicions over the last couple weeks of having a muscle imbalance, was in fact correct.  I decided to take advantage of the snow.  Running a few paces and then stopping to observe the footprints, I learned the left side of my body was definitely not as strong as my right.   

As I continued my run-stop-observe exercise, I focused on using my left leg muscles more.  Even though it was difficult for the rest of the run, after a mile I got the hang of activating certain muscles in order to gain a higher step, so that there was a smooth surface between each footfall.   Between then and now I have been focusing on strengthening my left side more during strength training workouts.  Next snowfall will show whether I have improved or not.

I have been learning we can apply this to our daily lives by journaling about our days.  Prayer journaling specifically about the day has helped, but the days I do that is far and in between.  My goal is to start journaling about the day, even if it is only a few quick jots, so I can look back and maybe see what went wrong and how I can “fix” it. In my memory I may be able to remember some things but it’s not to the same extent as if it were in writing – you know how much easier it is to remember the bad and not the good?! 

Upon receiving a late Christmas present from a friend yesterday I feel like God answered one of my prayers.  One of the items was a really cool journal of which I have already written in!  I love it!  The hard back cover reminds me of an old-fashioned book, with cream paper, ruffled edges, and a verse printed at the bottom of each page.  For me, paper and gel pens are something I absolutely love.  I could stand in those office supply aisles for hours scanning all the items, until I finally chose just the right one.  I have noticed finding something we enjoy in each new habit we want to form is very helpful in reaching our goal.  So for me, I think God may have given me the perfect journal to help.

If this is something you would like to start doing, I can give you the same advice God has been giving me.  While trying to research how to do things, He is always reminding me, “Just Write, Just Pray, Just Run.”  These three areas are what I have been praying about but feel like we could use it for everything in life.  Just get up and do it! 

Happy Running!

Allison

Posted in As A Person, Be Still, Life, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

Who Am I

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:10

This week I am doing a collaboration with Emily over at Emily’s Journey on YouTube. She spends a lot of time making her videos, which have been a big encouragement to me! She loves Jesus and strives to glorify Him! Her boldness in sharing the truth will challenge you to ask yourself many questions about your true motive in every area of life. Go check out this weeks video at Emily’s Journey by clicking on the following link:

Video will be published at 3pm, Eastern Standard Time, January 31, 2020; Enjoy!! And don’t forget to like, subscribe and comment!

Who are you?  What is the first thing that comes to mind when I ask this?  Is it your occupation that labels you?  What happens if you lose your job, what are you then?  After watching Overcomer by the Kendrick Brothers I found myself asking that very question.  If my hands were to go limp, I could not be a writer anymore, it just wouldn’t be the same.  If my legs were to be paralyzed, I would not be a runner any longer.  If I were to never be able to go outside again, I could never consider myself a country girl. 

I have been praying for the past couple months that God would help me see Him as my All.  I knew my identity needed to come from Him.  If anything goes wrong in life, I want my faith and joy to remain stationary – set firmly on Jesus!  I want my peace, trust, faith and joy to be unshakeable and not dependent on outward circumstances.

Lies – Fears – Negativity… Is this what rules our minds?  When someone treats us wrongly and we are hurt, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  When things go not as planned and all life wrecks havoc, what are your thoughts?  I have seen this splayed out in every area of my life.  My most common running thoughts are, “I’ll never get faster” and “I’ll never get past this wall.”  For life I struggle with “I’m slow and get in people’s way,” “I don’t do anything right” and “I’m not good at anything but working.”

But this is not who I am! 

Through Christ –

  • I am blessed  (Ephesians 1:3)
  • I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
  • I am holy (Ephesians 1:4)
  • I am blameless (Ephesians 1:4)
  • I am accepted (Ephesians 1:6)
  • I am redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
  • I am sealed (Ephesians 1:13)
  • I am loved (Ephesians 2:4)
  • I am alive (Ephesians 2:5)
  • I am raised up (Ephesians 2:6)
  • I am ordained, I have a purpose (Ephesians 2:10)
  • I am cared for (1 Peter 5:7)
  • I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10)
  • I am capable (Philippians 4:13)
  • I am not alone (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I am free (John 8:32, 36)
  • I am hopeful (1 Timothy 1:1)
  • I am cherished (Ephesians 5:29)
  • I am satisfied (Psalm 17:15)
  • I am powerful (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • I am clean (1 John 1:9)
  • I am a child of the living God! (John 1:12)
  • And so much more!

What joy we would have if we believed this!  Friends, I challenge you to stop and ask yourself who you are.  Then stop and ask God who He says you are.  Start with Ephesians 1 and 2.  Do not just go off of my list, let God show you himself.  You will not be disappointed!

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind

The Wind of Adversity

…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…
– 1 Peter 5:5-8

Living in the country where there are miles of fields, the wind has nowhere to go but straight – and hard! A lot of times on a windy day I will try and plan it to where I run into the wind on the way out, that way when I’m sweating and tired on the way back the wind is blowing at my back, keeping me from cooling down too fast, but also helping to push me forward.  Sometimes I miss judge the wind direction, but other times I may purposefully choose to run against the wind for some extra “strength training”. 

When the wind is to your back pushing you along the road God has you on, it can be a very encouraging and helpful feeling.  But what happens when that wind changes direction and you feel like everything is against you.  Every hair on your head, every muscle in your body, every sinew, every tendon; they all feel like they are pulling you backwards, like you are suddenly carrying a hundred extra pounds on your back.  Do we still run forward or do we collapse on the ground in frustration and tears? 

Last month I got to test this theory out really well.  Once or twice a year, for the last four years, we have held a widows banquet in our home.  When I woke up the Friday morning before the banquet, I was so looking forward to holding it this year, but we had to cancel.  All the time and energy put into getting this day together felt wasted.  I had a sudden attack from my adversary, Satan.  The first arrow he shot I was not ready for and it hit with force.  I was overcome with emotions. I felt useless, like my life had no point, why was I even here anyway? And they just kept spiraling out of control.

Running forward may not always be easy, it may not always be enjoyable, but no matter what, if you keep going, God will use you in many ways.  He created each of us for a purpose, but we have to choose, even when the adversary comes against us, to cast him away and cry out to God for strength.  Most runners, no matter the circumstance, will push themselves beyond what they think their bodies are capable – this is how we get stronger.  The wind isn’t our only adversary, there are many trials along the way, and many situations that we can either choose to allow ourselves to give up and refuse to move forward, or slow down and persevere through the difficulty.

As I washed dishes for all the food and desserts we had prepared for the banquet I began crying out to God in my heart for help.  I realized I was dwelling on self-pity not even thinking about how others might feel.  I tried to focus my thoughts on God and resist the temptation to dwell on any negative or selfish thoughts.  And I gave thanks!  If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, my New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was to obtain a grateful heart and I have been weaving that into a lot of my posts.  It really is a life changer, but it is not easy. 

I encourage you all to not resist running into the wind, for it is on those days that God makes you a stronger Christian.  Find someone to run with you during those hard days, (Jesus is an amazing friend!), and persevere till the end.  Let God strengthen you!  Many times I find myself thinking life would be so much easier without the wind, but could you imagine how boring life would be?

Posted in Uncategorized

Bucket List

Photo taken by Keenan Smith

Have you ever said, “Oh, I have that on my bucket list,” or, “I’m going to try and do that before I die”?

Most everyone has things that they would love to be able to do on this earth before they have to leave it.  For me, I have two “major” ones, visit the Coral Reef in Australia and go out west where there is nothing but flatlands.  And maybe if there is time, I’ll visit some place with valleys, fields, rivers, and snow topped mountains. *Grin*  

I have talked about dreams, hopes, visions, goals and resolutions before, but God has been challenging me lately to look past what I can see and grasp for a higher calling, a higher purpose.   For me, I’m not sure what that is or what that looks like, but today I listened to a sermon called Chasing God.  He was talking about how our life on earth is the only chance we get to live by faith.  Once we die it will be all “seeing”.  In Hebrews it says it is impossible to please God without faith.

What has God called each of us to accomplish on this earth?  Each of us, as Christians, has a common purpose that He created us for – to glorify Him and cultivate a relationship with Him.  Actually, the more I meditate on John 15, the more I realize that maybe chasing after Jesus is all that really matters.  But what does God want to do with you as an individual?  He uses each of us for His purpose.  Each of us has a unique calling. 

Dreams and desires are not a bad thing themselves, for God can direct us through them if we surrender our lives to Him and ask Him to do so.  But the question is, have we done that?  Have we asked Him to change our desires and dreams to live the life he wants us to live?  The hardest part about this though is total surrender.  Have we totally, with no desire of our own, totally surrendered our lives to Him?  He may give back what we give Him and He may not, but what we can take comfort in is that if He does keep what He gives us, we can expect Him to give us something so much bigger and better than we could ever imagine.

So let’s try and look at our bucket lists from a new perspective.  Go to God in prayer and ask Him what He wants to do through us, in us and with us.  I mean, if we were to be totally honest with ourselves, how many of those things on that list are we actually going to accomplish?  So why not replace them with things we can actually do?  

Truthfully, I am still working on this, especially the surrender part.  I have not been able to actually go to God and honestly say, “What do you want to do in my life?  I’m willing to do whatever you ask.” because I am still clinging onto my own dream.  I pray that as this month comes to an end in a couple short weeks, that I will be able to honestly and with an open surrendered heart ask God what His will is for my life.  I pray many others will join me as well.

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!