Is it Really Worth it?

When the Pain Makes you Question and Doubt your Decisions

Since I first started running, never have I dealt with so many different issues till the day I agreed with God that I wanted to be a running coach.  Then, BANG!  Tight Hips, IT band problems, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis, imbalance in muscles causing discomfort, weak muscles, stress, post race depression, decline in fitness, races being cancelled… not all at once, but it was as if God said, “Okay, you’ll need to learn a few things before we go forward with this.”  Had he told me ahead of time that I was going to suffer this much, I would have taken a lot longer in making this decision, possibly ending with the decision to not even become a running coach at all.  I catch myself thinking, “Is it really worth it?”

In our Christian life, a lot of times God will pull us in a certain direction and when we decide to follow Him, it causes a lot of pain and discomfort.  Even the choice of becoming a Christian in the first place is followed by difficulties and struggles.  We can often catch ourselves thinking “Is it really worth it?” whether consciously or subconsciously.

When we ask ourselves this question we come to a fork in the road.  It’s either the route of joy amongst the pain, or the path of bitterness through the discomfort. 

Jesus promises in Matthew chapter eleven that His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

When I first started running, I ran alone.  In the following years God encouraged me to run “with” Him, and that was one of the best things I ever did!  But as of late, God wanted to step it up a notch and encouraged me to be a vessel willing to suffer for Christ’s sake; now He wants to run “through” me!  This is amazing and feels so much more effortless than running “with” Him, even though the difficulty of the runs have magnified.

This new practice has given me a new look at the phrase, “Is it worth it?” because now it is not me doing the work, the running, or the focusing, but Christ in me.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

Honestly I still can’t wrap my mind around how this works.  God’s ways are far beyond my limited understanding.  It’s like one of those questions you get from someone that you can’t explain, you just know it’s right. 

So is it worth it?  Unbeknownst to you, some people are looking at your life and wondered, “How do you know God is real?  You’re life is no different from mine, you have just as many if not more problems than I do.”  The reply, which would be given with you actions, could simply be that you walk and talk with Him every day, you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and He has proven Himself over and over in your life and those around you.  It doesn’t have to be a complicated answer.  People want to “see” God and He chooses to make Himself known through us.

Are you willing to be a vessel for God?  Are you willing to step out into the unknown and be full of Christ?  Your answer to the Christian life will undoubtedly become, “Yes! It is worth it!” And people will see it, because what is on the inside is seen on the outside.

Until Next Time,

Happy Running Ya’ll!  Hope you have a great week!

Stop Wearing the Bridle – Part 2

Last week I shared about my experience with the lesson God taught me using my horse.  About how the Bible shares two reasons bridles are used:

  1. We either bridle our own bodies and do what is right or
  2. We let God bridle us and lovingly guide us to do what is right

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here.

God promises to lead and teach us, but He also asks us to bridle our own selves so that our relationship can be built on trust and not force.  One of the sweetest things I have ever seen is when a horse has such a strong relationship with his owner that he will follow them around without any kind of bridle.  The relationship that is based off of mutual trust, love, and respect is the most endearing thing to watch. 

Most of the time these relationships are built with children, but I have seen some instances in which adults are able to develop this type of closeness as well.  Maybe that is why God calls us to come to Him as a little child who is easily able to trust, love, and respect those that woo them. 

God asks us many times to rest in the promises of God, to hope in Him, and place our expectations on Him.  Have you ever thought of why?  Why would God be so adamant about us bringing our requests to Him, of asking Him for things, even getting to the point of wearying Him with our requests (which by the way I do not think is possible.  You can check Luke 18:1-8 to see more on this).

It’s because one of His characteristics is Loving-Kindness!  Have you ever looked up the definition of Kind?  It’s wanting to good to others, wanting to help them, wanting to give them what they want, wanting to make them happy. 

Now let that definition sink in

God wants to give us what we want and do you know how the best way to let Him give us what we want?  We have to stop wearing bridles.  Friends, you may be wearing multiple right now as you read this.  The point of a bridle is to be led and controlled by someone or something.

We can wear a bridle of fear, indecisiveness, comparison, other people’s opinions, bitterness, your inner critic, idols such as running or money, and even a sin habit.   Hebrews 12:1 says to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us”.  A bridle is going to weigh you down and keep you from experiencing the blessings God wants to bestow upon you.   He wants to bless you.  He wants to give you your desires, but you have to let Him, and as long as you are being led around by the cares of this world, you will not be able to receive the gifts God desires to give you.  He wants to give and He wants to give freely.

I challenge you to stop right now and ask God to help you toss aside your bridle, however many you may be wearing.  Ask Him to free you so that you do not have to wear that heavy metal bit in your mouth anymore.  If you feel any resistance in yourself because you feel comfortable wearing this bridle then that’s fine, tell Him that.  He already knows – might as well tell Him. And here is a tip that has been a life saver for me… if you are not willing to let go of the bridle, but you would like to let go, than ask Jesus to make you willing.  He is willing and more than able to change your heart!

I love ya’ll!  May God bless you as you continue seeking Him!

Until next time, Happy Running!

I also did a podcast on this topic which you can find here.

Stop Wearing the Bridle

Hope in the Promises of God and Live by Faith

One afternoon, when I went out to feed my horse, Hemingway, I decided to pet him first.  He was really grumpy and decided since his lunch was late, he wanted nothing to do with me, so whipped around to look the other way and totally ignore me.  I grabbed a lead line and rushed over to him.  I was clearly upset and he knew it because he suddenly became very solemn.  I looped the rope over his neck and pulled him back to where we started.  Now, we were both content and I was the one in control, not him.  He even ended up enjoying the little “grooming” session I gave him.

In this instance, God brought a verse to mind,

“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”

Psalm 32:9

As I stood their petting Hemingway I noticed the parallel between this verse and the little spat we just had.  Horses are naturally wild creatures.  They have their preferred way of doing something and can be pretty stubborn when it comes to doing things our way.  But, horses are also mutually respectful and loving.  When you earn their trust, most of the time they will do whatever you ask.  As soon as I put a “bridle” on Hemingway, he is instantly reminded of who is boss and will likely not test my authority.  Though sometimes he may not like it, he is generally very obedient when I bridle him.

When I later looked up the reference of the verse, God also brought to my attention Psalm 39:1.

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” –Psalm 39:1

A bridles job is to guide and direct the animal, or in this case the human, to do what you want them to do.  According to these two verses, we have two options in this life:

  1. We either bridle our own bodies and do what is right or
  2. We let God bridle us and lovingly guide us to do what is right

For a long time I had been praying that God would bridle me, that He would lead me everywhere I should go, that He teach me everything I should know, and give me exact step by step instructions on what to do next.  But I suddenly realized God wants us to bridle ourselves, to step out in faith, and do what we already know to be right.  We need to hope in God’s promises etched all throughout the bible and trust that He will keep them when we do our part.

The promise I want to share with you today is the verse right before Psalm 32:9. 

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

Psalm 32:8

To be continued…

The Palm of His Hand

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

Isaiah 49:16

Have you ever written something on your hand because it was the easiest and quickest way to remember something?  Years ago I loved writing verses on my hand to remember them.  It was the most convenient way to go over them throughout the day.  Some people write phone numbers, reminders, lists… all types of things.  But I’m going to make an assumption that whatever you have written on your hand, that it was important.  Keep in mind that each person will have their own idea of what is important, but I’ll bet whatever it was, you thought it was important.

Have you ever seen an engraving on a piece of wood?  Most likely you have since it is very popular.  It’s taking chisels or a hot metal rod and writing or drawing something of value onto an item that is meant to be displayed.  Unless someone is practicing, we can be sure that the work these engravers do is not meant to be thrown in the trash, it’s meant to be remembered, looked upon, and to some extent, valued. 

Remembered, Looked Upon and Valued

So what does Isaiah 49:16 mean to you?  If you have given your life to Christ, your name and everything about you is written on the palm of his hand.  Do you know what else is on the palm of His hand?  The nail imprint which was given Him the day He died for your sins!  How precious is that?!  So looking back at the first two paragraphs, I’ll ask you again, what does it mean to you that you are graven on the palm of His hand, and not just the palm, singular, but palms, plural?

What I felt God impressing upon my heart while reading over this verse is that I am important enough to be a part of Him.  He desires to remember me personally.  My every detail is before Him and it’s important enough to Him that He would take the time to engrave my name upon His hand.  I am of value to Him because no workmanship is free. 

One thing you should know for sure… It’s almost impossible to get rid of any kind of engraving without throwing the item away; therefore it can be assumed that God never wanted to forget you.

Happy Running Ya’ll! May God bless you with an understanding of how much He loves you!

See you next time!

Cross-Training

As I typed out this word last week – Cross –Training – something stood out that I had never seen before: CROSS training. 

In scripture Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him.  “And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”  (Luke 9:23)  This is a hard task for anyone and we can’t do it without Him. “…for without me ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)  But with Christ, we “can do all things” because He strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

For runners, cross-training consists of any kind of exercise that is not running.  This keeps their muscles fresh and less-injury prone.   For Christians the same is true.  Running is not, should not be, and cannot be the only thing we do 24/7. If it was, we would crash, wear out, and become weak and injured.

Running is not, should not be, and cannot be the only thing we do 24/7

-Allison Anne

God doesn’t intend for trying circumstances to last forever in our lives.  They are there only for a season.  Some of us may choose to live in depression or self-pity once the trials are over because it gets us attention, but if we take a minute to look up and acknowledge the God of heaven and earth, we can find that we are already accepted, loved, and cared for by the One who made us.

Can you imagine, if after you won a race, all you ever talked about was how sore you were while you were running?  You complained to people about how hard it was to train, how miserable and tired you were…  Would you do that?  Most likely not. Rather you would probably go around telling everyone that you Won the Race!  How exciting! Sure you might tell people how hard it was while training and then that final stretch, oh how your muscles burned with every step.  But you won!  You did it!

As a Christian,

God takes us through life circumstances that are in the valley, while others are on the mountain top, and yet others are in the dessert.  Why?  Because if God had us go through the same type of “running” all the time, we would burn out.  If we lived on a mountain top, eventually we would run out of oxygen; we aren’t meant to live up there forever.  Desserts are dry and if we lived there forever, we would eventually die of dehydration.  Valleys on the other hand are beautiful!  So lush, green, and full of life!  The only problem with living down in a valley is that we can’t see very far.  This messes with our curiosity and desire to see more, so we never enjoy it’s beauty because we are so focused on, “What’s on the other side?”

Where ever God has you, know that He is keeping your faith muscles fresh and strong.  He knows full well how important cross-training is.  We must let go of our desire to just run, and run, and run some more.  Unless you are an elite runner, most likely you are only going to be running once a day.  Even elite runners only run twice a day.  What are you doing with the rest of the day? 

Don’t let your curiosity and desire to see more ruin the benefits of cross-training in your life.  Let go of your life and take up your cross and follow Christ.

Happy Running Ya’ll!

The Prayer of Jabez

1 Chronicles 4:10

I can’t remember the date I began praying this prayer but I do remember the effect it had on my life.  I was tired after a nice stretching session and was planning on heading straight to bed.  As I sat in front of my bookshelf trying to get up enough umph to stand up, this book seemed to leap off the shelf and I couldn’t help but pick it up.  I’m not kidding you when I say I couldn’t put it down.  It was so good!  I sat on the ground for over an hour and read the entire book. 

I have been praying 1 Chronicles 4:10 pretty consistently and I have seen the effect in not just my life but others as well.  Here is a short journal entry from several months ago, only a few days after reading the book. 


“A few months ago, I had been feeling led by God to start asking Him for more.  But this seemed so selfish.  I was like, “This can’t be you Lord, because as a Christian I should be praying for others around the world, not myself.” 

As time went on, God began bringing different verses to mind and a lot of other circumstances that was pushing and motivating me to accept that God was in fact leading me to ask for more. 

There is a story of a man who entered heaven and upon arrival was given a tour.  One of the buildings was full of rooms of which the man realized his name was at the top of one of the doors.  As he opened the door he couldn’t believe his eyes, it was full of blessings!  The guy asked his guide what this meant and this was his reply:  “These are all the blessings God wanted to give you while you were on earth, but you never asked for them.”  This struck me almost as if the Holy Spirit was convicting me of something.

Jesus says to “ask” multiple times in the gospels, and all throughout scripture you’ll find it full of verses where God says do this and I’ll give you this.

The only problem is, there are stipulations to our petitions.  We seem to skip over the part that says what we must do in order for us to receive these promises of God.”


The following months after completing Wilkinson’s challenge proved to be very beneficial in my life.  It led me to realize that the only way we can give to others without being drained and empty at the end of the day, we must be full and overflowing with Jesus.  Then it is this outflow from our hearts that goes into other’s lives.

I don’t want to give away too much so I encourage you to grab the book or watch the sermon by Bruce Wilkinson called The Prayer of Jabez and try the one month challenge that he gives.  Come back and let me know what you think and if you decide to try it!

My 18inch Journey

(Written on Day 53)

Last week I was extra hungry, but not the unsatisfied hunger, I just felt like I needed more food than normal, which in turn made me feel like I was eating more than I should.  I knew I had ran a total of 22.7 miles throughout the week, which required more fuel, but the lies in my heart cried out, “Don’t eat that, you’ll gain weight!” Or “I’m getting hungry, If I eat this is it going to counteract the calories that I burned during my workouts?”

Nonetheless God gave me the grace to eat what I felt my body needed and to leave the results of this Journey up to Him.  He kept reminding me of how He loved me no matter what I did, no matter what I ate, and no matter what kind of fitness level I was at.  He loves me the same every day, on good days and bad, never more and never less.  I am accepted by Him and don’t need mans approval.  God actually led me to put two sticky notes on my calendar last week which was used to help defeat the negative thoughts going through my mind.

You are loved!

You never regret a workout, so just do it!

Sunday is my weigh in day and to be honest I was a little nervous.  In the morning I was in the mood for an iced latte and the first thought that went through my head was, “Don’t you think you should check how much you weigh first?”  Immediately I recognized that as from the enemy because I have been learning over the last fifty-three days to detect what God says about food and fitness and what He does not.  I decided to have the iced latte and enjoy every drop of it, kind of as a way of telling satan,

“take a hike, I’m not listening to you.”

After taking my first few sips of coffee, while breakfast was in the oven, I weighed myself… I was shocked to see that I had lost four pounds!  I was so happy!  That’s a total of seven pounds since I started!  That on top of how much better my workouts are, how satisfied physically and spiritually I am, how much peace and enjoyment I have when making decisions on my health and fitness… there have been so many changes God has done with my heart during this 18inch Journey, how could I not recommend this as a way of life for others?!  Please try it!!

Sunday afternoon God took me to this quote by Corrie ten Boom,

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empty’s today of its strength.” 

Corrie ten Boom

Powerful!  I want this to be a way of life not just in my physique world but for everything I do throughout the day.

Praise God for His wonderful ways!!

Until next time,

Happy Running Y’all!

Spiritual Foam Rolling

Lessons we can learn from the Foam Roller

How many times have you heard it?  Things like, “It’ll get better, just keep trying.”  Or “I’m so sorry that happened to you, you’ll just have to forgive them and move on.”  But let’s be honest,

Phrases like these are not helpful.  Period.

Runners use a foam roller to get their circulation going and aid in the healing process of repairing torn muscles from a workout.  If you’ve ever heard the benefits or watched a video on how this works you might think it is wonderful and must feel great!  And you are correct, to a point.  But let me break it to you,

Foam Rolling is super painful while you are doing it.

And to surprise you even more… Those painful spots you come across are the ones you need to work on!  If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t need to be done.  It’s as simple as that.

We can use this same test in our personal lives as well.  I want you to think of some situations in your past.  Does the situation bring pain?  Anger?  Sadness?  Then I hate to say it friends, but you need to begin doing some spiritual foam rolling.  I would suggest going to God about the situation, telling Him everything, and then asking Him to heal the pain. 

Foam rolling is not a one-time thing.  After a really hard workout I may use the roller two or three times a day until the pain subsides.  I suggest you do the same thing. 

As maintenance, it is best done at least once a week to keep your body free of knots.  When you find one, go to God and clear it up.  Take the foam roller to it as many days as you need to. 

Until next time,

Happy Foam Rolling Ya’ll!

My 18inch Journey

Day 44

I can’t believe how many deep-seated lies and negativity I have had toward fitness and health.  I’ve been trying for years to lose weight and now I understand why I’ve had such a difficult time in reaching my desired results.

One of the things God has been showing me is that He loves to hear my heart’s desire and it delights Him to answer my prayers, but… if doing so interrupts and puts a wall between our relationship He takes us through detours in reaching our desired destination in order to work as a team to get both of our goals accomplished.

“A mans heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” 

Proverbs 16:9

I’m going to be honest, the last 44 days has not been easy.  It is the most difficult thing to listen to my body on what it wants to eat, when it wants food, and when it is full or satisfied. 

I have in the back of my mind, less calories + more exercise = my desired goal.  But God has challenged me many times by asking, “Is this what you really want?”  Of course I want to lose weight, who doesn’t?!  But He began taking me deeper into my heart and then opening my eyes to see what I really want…

A healthy relationship with food

A healthy relationship with my body

A healthy relationship with fitness

A healthy relationship with God

I could lose weight till I am at my dream goal of 150 but in the end I would still not have what I truly desired.  I would still struggle with what to eat and when to exercise because I wouldn’t want to gain any weight back.  I would still struggle with how my body looked because man is never satisfied with where they are at.  And I would still struggle with my relationship with God because maintaining my weight would just replace the idol of losing weight.

When God first led me to this 18inch Journey, in the back of my mind I was secretly hoping that I would quickly lose weight.  As that did not become a reality and I heard of many others who were getting the results they were after, it discouraged me very much.  I knew that was not why I started this journey, I started because I wanted to change my heart, yet it grieved me because I was not seeing what I craved.

No matter how many other benefits I see from walking this road with God, I still deeply desire to lose weight.  I have grown closer to Him in a deeper way because I must trust Him in knowing He knows what is best.  Tis true I have gained so many other health benefits as well and I feel freer in my spirit, yet letting go of my flesh is hard. But, I am determined and convinced that God’s way is best and I will continue following His path.

I pray that as I share this journey with you that it would be of some encouragement to someone else out there!

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