Hate. It’s running rampant throughout the streets. Its definition is to greatly dislike or disagree with. Look around. It’s all over. Perhaps it is in your own heart as well, whatever side you have chosen to take.
But where is God in all this mess, we may ask. What has happened to Him? Why does He seem silent? The simple, but hurtful truth is that we have asked him to leave. We have completely abandoned Him for our own pleasures. He only stays where He is invited, He does not force His presence.
It’s time for the silent majority of this world to stand up. But not in the same way the world would define it. No. But rather, it’s time for the Christians to kneel down. It’s time to take this situation to the only one who can do anything about it. The bible says multiple times that when nations humble themselves and return to the Lord that He saves them and heals their land. (See 2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
What will it take for us to begin seeking the only solution to this pandemic? How long will we sit and watch others tear down our nation? It’s time to take a knee; to seek God’s mercy and ask His forgiveness for the sins of this world. It’s time to Pray! Will you join me?!
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 -
Sometimes life just needs to pause. Sometimes we need to just stop and realize the present reality. Sometimes we wish we could rewrite our life. Sometimes we wish to rewind, possibly fast forward.
But why not stop and change our veiw? Why not instead look ahead? What if we took notes on the last decade of what worked and what didn’t? What if we prayed over those notes and set goals for the next ten years?
The truth is, once a story is written you can not rewrite it, it can only be revised or updated. The original will still be the original. Our life is no different. We may try to change the past but in reality that is impossible. We simply cannot go back in time to redo what we’ve already done.
You know those feelings and emotions that well up inside of you as you reminis over the past? The guilt, regret, confusion, and hopelessness? We can not rewrite the past but we can edit our present and alter our future.
Yesterday was a very difficult morning run. I did not want to be out and quite frankly didn’t even want to be out of bed. Three miles is a long way when you long to still be sleeping. But the reality was this: I was over a mile from home. I was not in bed. I was on my feet and moving (somewhat) still in the wrong direction to head home.
I began to look around hoping to change my perspective on the situation and noticed this beautiful tree surrounded by a bunch of other ordinary trees. It’s color stood out among the usual earth tones and I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture.
This tree was planted here, crowded by so many others. Yet despite being small and barely noticeable, it stands proud, bold and beautiful. It can not change the fact of where it is, but it can grow and produce fruit. It can not go back and tell the planters to plant it somewhere else, somewhere where it will get easily noticed and better cared for, but it can grow where it is and produce satisfaction to the few passerbys who may notice her.
I challenge all who read this to continue growing where the Lord has planted them. Allow His life sap to flow through you so you can become a tall, bold and beautiful tree (Psalm 1:3).
Tuesday morning I woke up at 4:30 and had plenty of alertness! I felt so good, so awake, and so ready for the day. As I spent time with Jesus, I asked Him to teach me what it meant to rely on God’s strength instead of my own.
I decided to go for a run despite the scattered rain showers. Part of this 5k-a-day-challenge we are supposed to listen to three previously-selected chapters of scripture each day.
Something that immediately struck me was that of when Peter stepped out in faith to walk on the water to Jesus. His eyes were on the Lord and he had the faith to actually take some steps!
But then, Peter moved his gaze, and instead places it on the raging storm around him. The waves, thunder, rain, and wind… Peter began to sink and he cried out for Jesus to save him. Now picture this next part…
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Although Jesus reached forth His hand and grabbed Peter, then spoke of his inner fear, the wind never ceased until Jesus had drawn Peter to himself and “carried” him to safety. Then and only then did the wind cease.
The Holy Spirit began to show me that when I have a struggle, trial, or storm, His goal first and foremost is to draw all men to Himself. Then and only then does the wind cease.
As I pondered this truth, I began to weary and grow tired. I started to collapse at the waist and thoughts of “I need strength” rang through my head. My legs felt heavy and I began gasping for breath. I kept thinking “I just want to stop, I just want to give up!” But thats when God spoke saying,
Your strength is weakness.
God’s Words for Me!
I thought, “Wow Lord that is so true!” Even on my best days there are times when I just want to take a nap or sit down and waste time. My natural inclination is laziness!
I noticed a habit in my running over the winter, which sadly carried over into spring time. I’m lazy! I took breaks when I was tired, rarely ever pushed myself, I wanted to just enjoy my time out and take a break from training. My strength thus became weakness, giving up, the easy path, etc. I became really good at quitting!
My strength is weakness, but Christ’s strength lives in me and if I will give Him my weakness, His strength can live in me!
Today I had a wonderful four miles where off and on I would live in God’s strength and then my strength. If only I could deny the flesh and all it’s self-consumed thoughts!
Have any of you ever experienced Gods strength in your life? Drop a comment down below, I’d love to hear about it!
Friday, May 1st is yet another great 5k-a-day-May-challenge! I am so excited to get back on a more regular running schedule. Last year I ran most of the month, with a few days of walking. This year, if the Lord wills, I will be running everyday of the month! I can’t wait to see what God has in store.
But anyhow, Day One is complete! I did 3.2 miles under a cloudy sky. But what beauty I saw when God pointed out a section of scripture which talked about our worth in God’s eyes. We are of more value than many sparrows, more beautiful than the flowers in the field and have more purpose than the grass of the land.
How often do I repeat lies to myself that God cares for others better than me?! As children of God, we have so many blessings and promises in Christ Jesus and I have learned that all we have to do is abide in Him as a branch abides in the vine! How simple yet so highly underestimated!
Will you join me this month in challenging youself to meditate on scripture? You won’t believe the joy and peace it brings until you try it!
Blessings to y’all and Happy Running!
Matthew 6:25-30 KJV Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Last Week we talked about the thoughts that can run through one’s mind during pain. They are pretty much self-consumed, something I am very guilty of. Pain is sort of like an argument between our mind and our body. You want to convince your body to somehow not focus on the pain. You only want relief. You only want your body to obey you.
Similarly, when we get into an argument with someone, it is pretty much the same thing. Our natural inclination is to focus on ourselves. We desperately try to get our point across, while focusing on the pain the other person is causing us, because right then, we really don’t feel loved, cherished, or cared for, and quite frankly we may be too mad or upset at the other person, that we don’t even care what is going on anyway, nor do we care how they feel by what we are saying or what type of example we are setting for those around us, and most certainly we really don’t care at the moment how God sees the situation, which is quite sad. (If you had to go back and read that last sentence, that was my point, because arguments really don’t make sense nor are they logical.)
Physical pain is physically harmful, but for me emotional pain is even worse. I’m talking bitterness, anxiety, self-condemnation, fear, anger, etc. These things can harm one’s life even more than physical pain.
Here are the steps I have found helpful this year to steer clear of anxiety, fear, or any other thought that steals my joy and happiness in Christ:
Step #1: Acknowledge the Problem
This has been a newer step for me. Very often I would try to talk myself out of anxiety, I would shove it as far back in my mind as I could. I was determined to focus and trust God. Soon, the Holy Spirit began prompting me to acknowledge whatever is bothering me, to be humble and say, “Yes, I am struggling with … (fill in the blank.)” I started realizing this helped tremendously in combating the anxious thoughts, but without following the next three, the thoughts would soon return, discouraging me even more. Step one must be followed, but you must go directly to step two in order to gain some head way.
Step #2: Acknowledge God
As I started focusing more on Christ, He began leading me to focus on Him during difficulties as well. If you stare at a dessert you know you should not eat, how long can you resist that temptation before you cave? It’s the same with anxiety. The longer you look at the situation, the harder it will become to not dwell on it. We must take our eyes off of the difficulty, off of the temptation and dwell on Christ. I have found that if I take a few seconds to remind myself of who God really is, it helps all the more. Try bringing God into the situation and ask Him if you can talk to Him, which then leads to step three.
Step #3: Pray!
Now that you know you have a problem and you have decided to go to God about it, God is able to work in your heart. So tell God everything. Tell Him what you’re struggling with. Tell Him how you feel about the situation. Give Him all the details. Everything!
Step #4: Give Thanks
This can be very tricky at times for me personally, but I encourage you to give it a shot. I have found that if I thank God for the situation, knowing that He will work all things for my good, because I know I love Him, I start to receive peace. I thank God for every blessing He has given me. I thank God for who He is and what He has done for me and for others in the past. I thank Him for the opportunity to become more like Jesus through this circumstance. I thank Him for loving and caring for me. I thank Him… Most of the time by now my heart has drifted to a place of rest and trust in God.
A Bonus Step to Wrap it All Up
A lot of times God will bring to mind something I can do in order to stay off of the anxious thoughts for good or at least for an extended amount of time. It is most of the time a specific encouragement like praying for someone, giving the situation to God, or meditating on scripture (which He suggests way more often than not). Sometimes He gives me a task like, write about it or text a friend and ask for prayer. Either way, if you have truly humbled yourself in step one, gone to God in step two, shared your heart with Jesus in step three, and gave God thanks in step four, you will open up your heart for God to work in it! And then this is when you can follow this step as a way to show God you love Him!
I hope these steps may help you all as they have helped me. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how you have combated anxiety in the past, I’d love to hear from you! Happy Running!
Hey, ya’ll! First of all I wanted to real quick say
Thank you so much for supporting me! You have been a huge encouragement in the continuation of this blog! I have enjoyed create content for you guys, (and girls 🙂 ) since we started here!
Now secondly, I need your help. I will be changing the running girl icon in my logo to a simple sketch. Head on over to my Facebook page on Tuesday Afternoon if you wanna be a part of the poll! It will be open till the end of the week so feel free to think about it. Looking forward to getting your input!
The older I get the easier it seems for me to get hurt and the slower it seems for my body to get better. I used to hardly ever have pain. Occasionally I’d get a headache and I broke my finger once, but I really don’t remember growing up with a lot of pain. Then when I hit twenty-two it seems like that all changed. I can’t go running anymore without being sure I adequately stretch, warm up and cool down. No more get dressed and go. I mean sometimes I can go out and take a jog but not very fast or long, otherwise I’ll risk soreness. What the horrible part about being in pain for me is that I am a baby when it comes to it. And… I get freaked out as I think, “Oh no, is this going to affect my run tomorrow morning?!” Don’t laugh, apparently I’m not the only runner who thinks this way, it’s quite common.
But as I take my complaints and anxiety to God, I am in good company. Jesus went through a lot of agonizing pain, for me, and again it brings me back to the reality that pain is quite common. I am not the only one dealing with it. Most likely there is someone in the world that is dealing with worst pain than I am at any given moment.
One thing ya’ll should know about me is that I have a very hard time passing up a challenge once I hear about it. I love… well… the challenging aspect of the whole thing! Well, I received a challenge in my email inbox one morning from the No Meat Athlete. It sounded pretty simple and kind of fun. 30 squats broken in two, 30 hip thrusts broken in two, 1 minute bear plank broken up into 15 second increments, and 4 side planks with 30 total shoulder rotations. It was more explanatory than this and they made it sound so easy with a 30-60 second break in between each repetition and exercise.
Only a 15 minute workout! Hey, most people can fit that into their schedule! I’ll share some of my thoughts with you. I dramatized it a little to let you in on how I was feeling, but almost every thought I share, did go through my mind at some point that day. *wink* Hope you enjoy!
15 Minute At-Home Workout Challenge, Day One:
This oughta be fun. Exercise One, Squats. I hate it when my knees crack… If I can just find a position… there we go, no cracking. Oh wow that burns. Ten left?! Wow, okay, that’s starting to hurt a little. Five more… whoa, am I glad that’s done. Exercise Two, Hip thrusts… this should be easy, I do these quite often. Okay, those are done, hey I’m half way done with the workout, Wow this is easier than I thought it was going to be! Next, Bear Planks… never done these before. They do look pretty easy. First Rep, well this is different… Second Rep, okay I’m starting to feel it… Third Rep, this is a little difficult, but if I don’t challenge the muscles I’ll never get stronger… Last Rep, yikes, ten seconds left… 9… 8… 7… why do seconds go by so slow?!… 5… 4… oh come on… 2…1… *lay on mat for the next 30 seconds* Wow am glad that’s done! Side planks next. I’m horrible at those so I probably won’t get all the way through… I can only do 10 seconds with the rotations, oh my, normally I can do at least 15 or 20 seconds. Oh well, I feel pretty good! *stretch* Can’t wait till tomorrow!
Hey, I feel pretty good this morning! Can’t wait to go for a run! *walk down first step* Ouch! What?… *next step*… ow, oh no! Maybe if I crouch down it won’t hurt so bad, ouch, ouch, oh this is stupid, I didn’t think I did too much yesterday, ouch, who put this many stairs in a house anyway? Ouch… Oh well, it should be good tomorrow, it normally is. I’ll just have to walk down the stairs like I’m a crippled person. Maybe if I bend my knees more, I won’t have to extend my leg too much. Nope, that still hurts… oh my. I’m going to complain to my running group, they’ll know how I feel… and the NMA group, I’m sure others have done the challenge too, I can’t be the only one… Later: Oh yes they have… Lol… someone else said they did it too, Oh I’m in good company!
Day Three – Recovery Day One:
Good Morning God! Can’t wait to, oh, I wonder if I’m healed yet?! *First step* ouch… what?! It should be gone today; I haven’t overused a muscle this much in a couple years, what has happened?! Ouch… I’ll never be able to run again! *Cry* What am I to do? Ouch, Oh God, heal me please! Okay Allison, get yourself together, my goodness it’s not the end of the world. You wanted to make yourself stronger, well here you have it. Except you should have had some protein, you should have probably stretched more, and oh, I forgot about foam rolling, yeah you should have done that all day yesterday. Okay, time to switch from complaining to acting, Recovery Mode, here we come! Ouch, *wimper*.
Day Four – Recovery Day Two:
Okay, remember Allison, walk down the stairs sideways, that relieves the pain, and use your hips as you move that wheelbarrow, you won’t feel it in your thighs as much. Be sure to foam roll today, and don’t focus on the pain, a little bit of pressure for a few seconds will break up the lactic acid and help you heal faster. Oh, but when can I run again. I haven’t ran in three days, I’m going to start gaining weight! Does my face look rounder already? Oh my, I hate pain. It feels like this will never get better. How many days has it been now? I’m going to complain… well maybe I could just go for a run anyway… maybe just a slow jog. Jesus, would you go with me?
So I think you get the gist of what kind of thoughts can run through one’s mind. Crazy, non-realistic, self-focused, fear… we all have it, but the trick and challenge for all of us is what we do with those thoughts. Join us Next Week for Part Two of the Reality of Pain, where I will be giving four steps, of which I have been personally following this year, to steer clear of anxiety and stay in the positive reality.
Easter is often seen as colorful Easter eggs and pretty gift baskets, filled with all kinds of goodies. When I was younger I would love finding these baskets, eating the delicious treats and receiving the many gifts. Outdoor cookouts with friends and family… it becomes another holiday full of happiness and fun.
But this year is different. We have a National Emergency in the nation that has filled many people with fear. Some of us listen to the social media lies and become so depressed we really can’t think of anything else. Still some of us may be so confused as to what we should believe because of all the contradictions presented, even in the news.
Yet, as I listen, read, or hear of peoples thoughts on this virus, it personally sends me to Jesus for comfort and peace. A few weeks ago my church sent out a text that we should all pray for one hour concerning this disease and God brought many things to my attention during that time. But there was one thing He showed me that filled me with peace and hope.
I have two notes on my phone screen that says this:
These have been so life giving for me and have allowed me to focus on Jesus, which was what He encouraged me to do this year anyway! As I pray about the situation God has laid many things on my heart and one of them is that people would come closer to God through all of this. And I believe He has been!
But back to the present…
Even though our Easter celebrations are put on hold, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in our hearts and with whoever is in our home. This holiday is meant to be a reminder of what Jesus came to earth for. The passion and love that Christ displayed for us almost 2,000 years ago, doesn’t have to be forgotten. What hope would we have if this historical event would have never taken place? How would our life be different?
As this holiday comes and goes, I challenge you this year to look at it from a different perspective. Even if you are one that that normally does reflect on Jesus and what He has done for you, I challenge you to look even deeper. Ask Jesus to show you how much He loves you. Ask Him to open your eyes and your heart to see what He sees and to feel what He feels.
For me this is a new experience as of this year. Never before have I been able to receive His love on a daily basis like I can now. As I think back, God showed me the many times when He tried to show me His love and prove to me that I am His passion. The transformation He has been doing in my heart has been amazing and fully worth the purging! I am truly indebted to Him!
Nature. In all its beauty and luster, can one be so hardened and hurt as to not see a single sign of its loveliness? Not to hear the sound of singing birds or feel the warmth of the radiant sun? The smell of spring roses, the trickling brook, the soft touch of a gentle breeze, could someone really miss it all? Sadly, the answer is yes. And what is even more heartbreaking is that that individual may not even realize they are deaf, blind, or unfeeling to their surroundings, perhaps because that is just how they have always been.
God created the world, stating that it was very good and would often take walks through the Garden of Eden while conversing with Adam. The Bible says that through nature people would be able to see living proof of God’s existence because, after all, everything on earth has a creator.
So why would someone not be able to “experience” His creation? The answer is simple, yet profound. While easily not being understood by anyone except those who have been through the change and gone from blind to seeing and deaf to hearing, it is possible to see the miraculous healing in others. You know they have something you want; you may just not know what it is. You see it in their eyes or etched into that smile that warms you. Your mind dismisses it, but your soul longs for whatever it feels in that person.
When we are filled with hurt, bitterness, fear, anxiety or the like, we very often focus on that pain, so much so that we don’t see anything beautiful in life. We cannot enjoy the peace and comfort that it can bring us. Have you ever been so hungry that by the time you sit down for supper you scarf down the whole plate of food in front of you at a pace that when you are done, you really don’t even remember what it tastes like? How about when you go on vacation and you have “what it’s” going through your mind the entire time, do you or really even can you, enjoy your time off and away from home?
Satan’s goal in life is to steal, kill, and destroy. He will do anything and everything to make your life as meaningless and painful as possible. He knows what a person can do when he is free in Christ, and he abhors the very idea. Being filled with joy and peace, you can easily share God’s love and hope with others, something we all long for.
For a long time I hid hurts from family and friends from the past. Being overly sensitive to any negativity created by words, I was emotionally drained. So as I grew up I would build closets in my heart, stuffing the pain in them and slamming the door shut behind them. When one closet became too full I would simply build another one. Soon my heart was so full of closets that there was no room for anymore and I had to start stuffing hurts into cracks and under rugs, anywhere I could find to hide them. It wasn’t until I began allowing Jesus to cleanse and heal this pain that I have been able to see God’s spectacular beauty in nature.
As a result of this I gained a more intimate relationship with Christ through His creation. I could feel Him warmly embrace me through the rays of sunshine. He would sing songs of joy over me through the choir of birds. When I would feel the breeze against my skin, I could only imagine him giving me a soft kiss on the cheek. The sunsets became a gentle reminder of His love for me and the trickling brook seemed to fill me with His peace. The flat farm land that seemed to stretch for miles reminded me of the freedom I have in Christ. As one of His creations, I’m filled with more and more awe as I run these country roads in sweet communion with Him. Oh how I have come to love my Savior through the elegant and magnificent work of His hands, namely the nature we all have available to us. I have so much more to learn and room to grow in our relationship, but the more he shows me the deeper my longing for Him gets. May we all seek after what our soul truly longs for and find it in Christ!
I had heard it multiple times, “You are focusing on it too much.” Has anyone ever told you that the water will never boil if you stand there and watch it? Have you ever stared at a clock and wondered what is taking that minute so long to go by? What about resisting a food you know you shouldn’t eat? The longer you stare at it the more you probably wanted to eat it. Ever have an annoyance in your life? I bet the more you dwelt on how annoying it was the worse of a headache it became.
Since we are what we eat, (physically and spiritually speaking), shouldn’t we be watching what we feed ourselves. Physically speaking I guess I must be a chocolate covered banana, dipped in coffee and sprinkled with date slivers. But spiritually speaking, what am I feeding myself? Am I focusing on the news and what’s going on in this world? Am I watching TV and playing video games? Or am I spending time with my family and focusing on Christ? If I do the first I could easily become an anxiety covered selfish sloth, but if I focus on Christ and serving my family, I could allow God to shape me into the image of His Son – my big brother, best friend and role-model!
I read a book on relationships a couple months ago and most of it, like most readings, is forgotten. But two things stood out to me and one of them God has been pressing me to follow after. I have always referred to the wind as my adversary – A Be Still and Run comparison – and would like to go back to it this week.
Is it easier for someone to run into the wind or with their back facing the wind? Obviously it’s the latter. So what does this mean for us as Christians, living in this world of turmoil and confusion? It means to turn our back to the trouble and look at Christ. Turn our back to the devil and run to Jesus. Turn our back to the heartache and focus on our Savior. Turn our back to the uproar all around us and look to God. I have noticed that as I do this, as I turn my back on any evil, any sin, anything of this world, and look to Jesus, focusing my attention on Him, everything else slowly disappears and fades into the background.
We need to use the example of a newly married couple on their wedding day. They are so focused on one another that nothing else around them matters. When they get a photograph taken, most likely the background will be blurred so that people can focus on what is most important in their photo.
One afternoon I decided to try this method out during my run to refresh my memory. Running into the wind took more effort and exertion as I tried to maintain a steady, slow pace. I went about two miles into the wind before turning around and heading back home. Not only was I able to double my pace comfortable, I noticed the wind was pushing me even faster to my final destination. So by turning my back to the wind I got a double whammy; I was able to comfortably and almost effortlessly run, while the adversary was pushing me faster and closer to my goal. The circumstances did not change, but the direction in which I set my eyes and feet did. Do you see the comparison to our lives? If we turn our back to temptation, to sin, to the enemy, and place our eyes on our Savior in Heaven, not only will our journey be more delightful and effortless because we will be allowing God to fight our battles, but the negative will help push us faster and closer to Jesus if we keep Him as our main focus.
I pray we would all be able to turn our back to the wind and focus our eyes on Jesus!