Change of Plans

I was going about my morning, partly frustrated, partly anxious, and partly annoyed. I had gotten up at four the day before and didn’t get to bed till after ten. Work had consumed most of my waking hours and so my todo list had been put off till today. Of course I slept in a little more this morning, so my day started out rushed. The entire time I was working, which recently has been weeding the garden, I kept being reminded of all the things I needed to do. The horses stall needed cleaned, I needed a shower, the lawn needed mowed, the landscape needed weeded, supper needed cooked, and on and on.

I began listening to a podcast and of course it was talking about what to do when we feel overwhelmed. Look to the Lord and realize our main purpose in life is to glorify him no matter what we do. I finally started to calm down and actually enjoy what I was doing.
But then it was like God said, “Okay, you got that, now change of plans.”
That’s when my sister came over to me. She said deer where eating the tomatoes and I needed to put the electric fence around it. I just stared at her and took a deep breath before forcing out an “okay.” My mom was harvesting garlic as I walked by her. She asked for help with one of the plants which broke off underground. The sun started affecting her by now and she said she needed to go in. “Can you finish this for me please?” I reluctantly obliged.

As I pulled up the garlic plants I was having difficulties. First of all, we had planted these plants last winter, they weren’t even a 2019 crop. But because we had gotten so far behind with the weeding of 2018, grass and other vegetation took over that crop and we let it go, mowIng it flat in the fall. This past winter we had raised and covered all the rows, completely disregarding the garlic that was still in the ground. Spring came and we planted carrots and peas in those rows. As the vegetables came up, so did the garlic! We just let them grow together figuring we could harvest them at different times.
Now the garlic was breaking off six inches underground… beneath the carrots. I, as carefully as possible, dug around the roots to retrieve the garlic. That’s when God spoke to me. “Your thought life is like this.”

When we have a thought, we plant a seed. What happens when you plant a seed in the garden? As a little innocent child, did you ever take a seed outside, put it in the ground, wake up the next morning and run out to see if your flower or plant had come up yet? We do the same thing in our spiritual lives as adults. It is so much easier to plant weeds in our mind than it is to plant good, useable, blessed crops that will yield us a good production. As we go through hard times, we wonder why the good thoughts we are trying to think now are not helping. What we forget to keep in mind is all the weed seeds we have planted over the past. Seeds are seeds and they will come up, whether we want them to or not. And they all come up in there own season.

What seeds are you planting in your mind?

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Galatians 6:7-9

Imagining the End

This days run was pretty good! Like normal, I woke up before the sun and spent time in prayer and Bible. I made coffee, washed dishes, stretched and then headed out. Earlier this week, while reading about the mental side of marathon training, one thing that stood out to me was when they said to imagine what it will be like at the finish line. What do you want to look like? What do want to feel like? Before I began my new route, I imagined what it would be like when I was in this same spot a half hour from now. I pictured being overjoyed because of my time and praising God for the run.

The first mile was under ten minutes and I was feeling great. At the one and a quarter mile mark, I was enjoying the scenery with a little more toughness. Three quarters of a mile later I was beginning to feel awesome. The last mile was again under ten minutes. I was ecstatic! The time was not that bad, especially since I had to walk past a house twice to avoid over exciting a dog, I had to wait for a car to pass before crossing a road twice, and I even stopped to remove rocks from the tread on my shoes.

What made today’s run so different from every other day? God kept reminding me to think of the end result when it got tough. I knew I was going to feel great as long as my mind did not get the best of me, which is very often the case. The next few days I continued to practice this. It kept my energy level up and created hope in me to continue pressing forward.

During my work later that day, I also looked to the end. I love watching the sunset while praying at the end of the day, and I knew I would feel relaxed and at peace. During hard spiritual battles it encourages me to imagine the end, where we will be with Jesus forever.

It has always given me hope during any difficult situation to imagine the end of something. Especially heaven and my home there. During a temptation, imaging the outcome of overcoming it. During physical weakness, the way I feel after a nap or day off. We are supposed to thank God for and in everything, whether we feel like it or not, but we are to never dwell on the hard times.

Jesus did this when he was faced with the crucifixion.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Because of the joy that was at the end, he endured the cross… and the pain.

But before we can do this, we have to know what the end is?
For earthly jobs, Is it a clean house, despite the rowdy children? Is it a weedless garden, despite the heat? Is it a seemingly never ending project complete?

Our main focus in life should be to look to Jesus.

Hebrews 12:3
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

What is your end?

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Training

As a competitive runner, we only have one thing in mind… to win races! We will do anything and everything to complete the race to the best of our ability. We choose the right food, make sure we get adequate sleep, train, cross-train, study, strength train, stretch, and of course run. No matter what we have going on in our lives, we make conscience and sub-conscience decisions based on how it will effect our upcoming races. We schedule runs and plan our lives accordingly.

In life we should be doing the same thing. Our race is predetermined by God and we have no choice when it is over, but we have the choice of how we run, how we prepare and how we train. As Christians, our reward is grand! And the great thing about it is we get to choose which and how many rewards, crowns and trophies we receive at the end of our race! The only problem is, most of us do not train to receive these rewards. We do not want to go through the turmoil and sweat to obtain them. As each day passes, we consciencely and sub-consciencely chose to live in the moment and enjoy the pleasures of the world. (See Matthew 16:27)

I’ll give you a short story as an example.

The day had finally come! Rachel jumped out of bed excited for the big race. She had been looking forward to this day for months. Before winter snow started falling, she knew she would be signing up for her first marathon in the spring, so she began training. She scarfed down a bowl of Cheerios and ran out the door. After stopping at the coffee shop for a scrumptious muffin and latte, she pulled into the parking lot where she was to check-in.

Across town, Tony also was excited about today’s race. He too had been training over the winter for this marathon. It was supposed to be where only the best athletes competed and he felt a slight pang of anxiousness start to creep in his mind. After running for only three years competing in 5 and 10Ks he was wondering if his first marathon should have been postponed to a more neutral run. He knew his at home runs were good, his paces and recoveries great, but we’re they good enough to compete against some of the best?

After the two checked in and received their bibs, they walked to the start and finish line.

Rachel’s face was beaming with anticipation and she felt very confident in her ability to run this race. After all she had run over a hundred miles last week, she should be able to easily run 26 miles in a day.

“You look excited.” Tony commented to the lady standing beside him.

Rachel jumped at the interruption in her thoughts. “Of course I am! Are you not?”

Tony took a deep breath and smiled, “Yes, I am excited. But this is my first marathon ever and I’m feeling a little anxious. I’ve only ran a straight 23 miler and the weather was perfect that day. My ankle was bothering me last week and I didn’t get much running in.” Tony laughed before shaking his head. “I shouldn’t be thinking of that though. I really came over here to imagine how it would be when I got to the finish line, as I stretched and warmed up.”

Rachel stuck her hand out and replied, “Well, my name is Rachel Slaughburd, this is my first marathon as well. I ran over a hundred miles last week and feel great! May the best win!”

“I’m Tony Nickle,” he answered as they shook hands. He wondered what he had gotten himself into but determined to look past that and focus on the finish line and nothing else.

“I must go finish my breakfast now, we only have thirty minutes till the race starts. I’ll leave you to your meditation.” Rachel turned to go but stopped and looked at Tony confused. “Why do you stretch?”

Tony raised his eyebrows and asked, “You ran a hundred miles last week and didn’t stretch?”

“No, should I?”

Tony shook his head in disbelief. “Of course. How did you run all those miles and not get cramps?”

“Oh, well that’s easy.” With that Rachel trotted off.

Four hours later, Tony crossed the finish line, never catching a glimpse of Rachel. He figured she must have finished already and headed to the awning for a drink. Upon returning to the finish line to watch the last runners, he noticed Rachel. It had been over an hour since he finished and he wondered if she had pushed herself to hard in the beginning.

“Hey, how did it go?” He asked as they met.

Rachel looked up at him and he realized she had been crying… A lot. “It went terrible! I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I didn’t know you had to run all 26 miles at one time.” She wiped her face on her shirt, trying to remove the sweat and tears.

Tony looked at her confused wondering what happened. “I thought you trained all winter for this?”

“I did,” she replied. “I ran three miles everyday! And last week I ran over three miles twice a day. Shouldn’t that have been enough?”

-2019 (c)

Unless a person knows what life has in store for them, how can they properly train for it? In the story, Tony goes on to explain to Rachel the different aspects of training she left out. Nutrition, Mental Training, More miles at a time, stretching, etc. Jesus tells us in the Bible what we are to expect as a follower of Him. Persecution, trials, temptations, hardships, etc. But He also tells us how to prepare and handle each one that comes along, such as prayer, scripture memory and meditation, trust in God, Bible reading, etc. (See 1 Peter 5:10 and John 16:33)

Are we willing to train for it?

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Background/About

I would like to say first that without God’s help, this blog would not be possible. Nor would the blog posts it contains. He has been my guide and encouragement through the whole process.

Hi! My name is Allison Dougherty. I work on my family’s farm during most of the warm months and enjoy many things on the side. But what brings me the most joy in life is my Lord Jesus Christ, Running and Writing. For many years I studied the horse industry and through different circumstances, felt the Lord lead me away from that and towards what He has called me to do. I have written for as long as I can remember and have fallen in love with running over the past four years. 

This blog was inspired by all God has taught me and is teaching me through my running! I praise God for all He has done! May you be inspired as you read my posts to take the Lord into whatever He has called you to accomplish! Remember He says to walk humbly WITH Him. Not for Him. Not against Him. But with Him!

In May of 2019 I completed a challenge called “5k a day in the month of May” and not only was I stretched and strengthened physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Next year I hope to have a 31 day devotional for girls available called “Charity’s Running Challenge,” which I am very excited about!

Before I turned ten my dad and I used to run, but when we made it to a mile we didn’t ever go any further with it. About four years ago I started playing around with it again. We visited a new church and a lot of the youth ran 5ks. My dad decided he’d sign us up for a family 5k. So with my competitive spirit, I wanted to run the entire 3.1 miles straight, so I began training and I haven’t stopped since then. We never did run the “family 5k” but God worked out two amazing testimonies of His love and care for me with two other 5Ks over the last three years, (of which I hope to post about some time).  So far it’s a tradition to only run one every fall. 

I’m also playing around with a vlog to correspond with my blog posts. I’m not as excited about that, since I’m not really an upfront stage kinda gal. I’d much rather work in the background, like serving tables and washing dishes. Actually I enjoy watching my own videos as long as no ones around. 😁 I hate being the center of attention. 

So as a background to why I run and so forth I hope this sets the stage for all my upcoming posts. Enjoy!  May God use them for His glory!

Dark Clouds of the Unknown

Trusting God or living in fear? Each of us know what it’s like to live in fear, but how often do we ask God for strength and take on trials we never dared take on our normal days. In the month of May, I completed a challenge called, 5k a day in the month of May. During that month I literally got stuck out in a storm and it scared me half to death. For today’s run I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust the weather radar and head out or not. After several minutes of procrastination, I slipped my shoes on headed out into dark clouds of the unknown.

This was a picture of on my way back home. The dark clouds you can see where behind me.

June 13, 2019

Last night I saw on the radar that I only had a couple hours in the ,or in to fit my run in before it rained. I got out of bed around five and headed donstairs for bible and coffee. By the time I finally dressed, stretched and checked the weather it was around 6:30. I finally made it outside and continued watching the sky. I did not want to be caught out in another storm so I said a silent prayer that God would get me back home before it started raining. But during the entire first two miles I was worried. Despite the fear and anxiety, I shoved it all away, knowing if I dwelt on that, it would alter my fluid breathing pattern. I said another prayer for safety… And a PR. 😉

My first mile clicked over at 9:56. I was thinking, “should I keep going?”

Mile two was mental battle. I kept watching the sky at what looked like a storm approaching. All of a sudden I got this mental picture of Peter. He asked Jesus to let him walk on the water. And he did… until he looked on the waves and wind around him, then he began to sink. I decided to push forward and keep my eyes on Jesus. I kept asking Him for strength. I kept sinking, but kept crying out for His help.

Mile two clicked over at 8:59 being my fastest mile ever!

Mile three clicked over at 9:34.

For the last tenth mile I ran as fast as I could, breathing so hard my dad heard me from in the house and said, “Oh look, there goes Allison having fun.”

I finished with a PR of 29:48! Wow God, thank you! And it never rained.

How often do we sink and then call on Jesus to rescue us? Or do we begin sinking and never once lift our eyes to Jesus until it is almost too late?

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