Posted in As A Person, Charater Qualities, Life

Forever Running, But Losing the Race

After four years of running, I wished I had put more miles under my shoes than I have.  I feel like I have been running forever and I’ve gotten nowhere.  Looking back at the miles I have logged, I can’t seem to see any difference in my times or pace.  My legs seem to not be any stronger and my miles have dropped significantly.  Where I was once close to a half marathon I am now barely above a 5k.  But yet I know something’s different.  I can feel it.  The past couple months I can sort of see improvements, but the problem is that they are not in ways I was expecting or hoping. 

Have you ever been so excited about a goal you have set or a plan you have carefully laid out, only to find out the harder you work at it, the farther you seem to get away from what you had envisioned?  It seems most of the time the harder I work at something, the harder it is to move forward, the more difficult it gets and the more I want to give up. 

Did you know the Bible says “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it”? (Matthew 10:39)  The world around us is constantly saying the opposite, “Don’t give up, pursue your dreams, follow your heart.”  They say, “You are capable of so much, keep going.”  In a sense this one is true because we can do all things through Christ because he strengthens  us.  (Philippians 4:13)  But we seem to forget the middle part, “Through Christ”.  We must remember what John 15:5 says, “For without me [Jesus] ye can do nothing.”

During a race, we pour our hearts out during the first however many miles and then comes the last one – that final mile between me and the finish line.  That final stretch where we push our bodies as hard and as fast as we can making sure we use every last bit of strength we have.  The worst feeling after a hard run is when you realize you had more left you could have given.  And that feeling is worsened when you realize you were only seconds away from your goal. 

Many people in life are trying their best to get to heaven.  They make sure their goods outweigh their bad.  They make it a meaningless ritual of going to God in prayer.  There are some others that live a life of lies, thinking they can enjoy life in the now and when they get around to it they might consider following Christ.

You’re trying too hard, He told me

“You’re trying too hard,” I heard God say as I bent over, with a heaving chest and feeling of failure.  He reminded me of the verses I shared above along with this passage,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but it if die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:24-26)

When are we going to realize that Jesus has a far better plan for our lives than we could ever imagine?  When are we going to see that life is found in Christ?  How long will it take before we acknowledge that we can do nothing in and of ourselves?  Even Jesus said He can’t do anything unless He sees the Father do it.  Why are we to expect that we can? 

There is a better way to live this life.  There is a more rewarding way.  A healthier way.  A stronger way.  But we must choose to die to ourselves and take up Jesus’ yoke.  Almost every morning since I decided to yield to God’s will instead of my own, I surrender everything to Him and ask Him what He wants me to do that day.  Some days the tasks are difficult and some days they are simple and yet some days there is nothing different than the day before; it all depends on what He wants of me that day. 

I’ve lived a life trying to seek my own pleasures and it felt like everything I did came to a dead end – the door was shut.  I tried climbing through windows, beating on closed doors, wedging between cracks in the walls, but nothing ever seemed to work.  God protected me for many years before I finally gave in to His will.  I struggled in the yoke with Jesus for a long time before I finally submitted.   Oh how good and peaceful of a life it is!  I only wished I had seen this pasture beside the still waters as pleasant then as it is to me now!  What a difference in life I could have had!  Were it not for grace I would still be wondering down some pointless road to nowhere!  Jesus went that final mille between me and heaven!  Oh what a glorious day that will be when I finally meet with my Saviour in the clouds!

As a grand finale,  Were it Not for Grace by Larnelle Harris is a song a friend shared with me months ago.  I asked Changing our Hearts over on YouTube to sing it for me; please Enjoy!

Posted in As A Person, Charater Qualities, Holidays, Love

Why Do You Love Me?

I felt like I rammed face first into a concrete wall when someone asked me this question.  I had never been asked that before.  Why do you love me?  I had never even thought of it.  I have always said that I loved God because He first loved me, because that’s what the Bible says.  I never even thought about asking this before, I figured if someone said or acted like they loved me, that’s just what they meant.  No need to explain.  I wasn’t even sure I knew what love was after I was asked this. 

The Search

I looked the word up in the dictionary, prayed about it, pondered over the question… It was like a reality check that was written for thousands of dollars.  Was I going to cash this in and learn from this valuable question, or lay it aside and pretend the situation never happened?  I knew I couldn’t let it go.

As I prayed about it things started to click.  My definition of love was all screwed up.  If I asked you why you like dessert, what would you say?  How about your morning coffee?  Or your hobby?   So, why do you love the people in your life that you do?

I grew up thinking love is an action and a choice, and it is, but why do you love?  Most everybody has something or someone that they love.  I started asking myself, why does God love me?  Certainly there is nothing that a holy God could have a reason to love me.  I’ve asked God this question multiple times, but this time, I needed an answer. Did He really just love me because He is love, or does He actually find delight in me? 

I’m not one that gets into Greek and Hebrew words but I’ve read that there are two different types of love, Phileo and Agape.  The love that a mother or father has for their child is different than the love they have for one another.  The love you have towards your friend is different than the love you have towards your fiancé. The love you have for your morning coffee or quiet time after a hard day at work is different than the love you have for a person. 

First the Choice, and then the Reason

First we must make a decision to love someone or something.  Then we can find out what the reason is.  Do you know what the difference is between liking and loving something?  When we are pleased with something at a moderate level you say you like it.  But if that level goes up to a higher position we may begin realizing we love it.  But why did the needle move up a notch?  What caused it to gain elevation?

Photo by jonas mohamadi on Pexels.com

 I used to say I like coffee, but after drinking it for about a year, I realized I loved coffee.  I now jump up from my chair to get it if it is offered to me, whereas before I would only respond with a simple yes. What happened?  I started having reasons behind why I liked coffee.  Its bittersweet taste woke me up in the morning.  Rising hours before daylight it can be quite difficult to stay awake.  I love waking up and heading to the kitchen to hear the sound of the water running through the coffee machine – in clear and out black.  Its warmth creates a cozy feeling inside and being able to hold that mug in my hand brings me a strange comfort.  It keeps me awake at friends’ houses after being up for hours and then gives me that extra boost for my early morning run.  It helps me think clearly during computer hours and keeps me emotionally stable throughout the day.  Before, I could have said nothing much about it; I liked it because it woke me up, plain and simple.

When a baby is born, loving parents decide to love their baby.  Then, and only then, can they say why.  It’s my child.  God gave him to me.  He smiles so warmly at me.  He’s so innocent.  He looks just like his dad.  He makes the cutest faces.  He looks so peaceful when he sleeps.

Because God is love, He chose to love us, by sending His only Son to die for us, so that He could have a relationship with us.  He sacrificed what He loved so dearly so He could love us unconditionally.  Through His Son He sees us as His child.  And because of His Son, He finds delight in us.  He cares for us.  He encourages us in our dreams.  He gives us our desires.  He pursues us and gives us what is best for us.  He wants to know us intimately.

We Have to Accept

When a guy asks a girl to marry him, she has to say yes in order for them to get married.  If he truly loves her, he will not force his love on her.  He may pursue her and try to win her love, but if he truly loves her, he will let go because she does not want him.  He will want her to be happy.  He will want to grant her requests.

Jesus did not force His love on us.  He does not make us love Him.  A child will not truly love his parents if they force him to.  They will only act like they do to keep the peace.  If someone gives someone a gift to show their love, the receiver can either reject the love or accept it.  We can want to accept it, but we have to actually make the choice to do so.   

Sometimes people’s hearts are so locked up from the pain of their past that they cannot give or receive love.  Jesus is the only one who can break that barrier and make them feel loved in ways they never thought possible.  God longs to have his love accepted.  He is not willing that any should perish, He wants all of us to accept His love, to accept His gift.  Because He is a holy God and no sin can be in His presence, He has to see us through His Son.  It’s as if sin is the color blue and Jesus is one of those fancy cameras they use to make movies that cannot see the color blue.  If we have accepted Jesus, when God looks through that camera (Jesus), He sees no sin.  Therefore, because of Jesus, we are perfect in His sight!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Flattery is Not the Answer

The definition of flattery is false praise – praising someone in order to gain something yourself.  Telling someone they are beautiful or handsome is not true praise; they cannot control how they look.  Saying, “Your desserts are amazing,” hoping that maybe they will make you some cookies because of that, is not truly praising them for how good they cook.  Telling them, “I love you,” right before asking a favor, is also not true love. 

Instead of saying you love his smile, maybe consider looking deeper into his heart to thank him for the reason behind his smile.  Instead of saying you love how she keeps house, consider thanking her for her diligence.  Giving examples may help, but try to look for the character quality or virtues behind the actions.  That is what true praise is.

So, Why Do You Love Me?

I believe that when someone is asking this question, what they really want to know is, do you love them for who they are or for what they do?  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, ponder this question, “Lord, why do you love me?”  As He reveals His answer to you, you will realize why you love others and on what level your love is based.  Because God is love, the more of Him you have, the more love you can give to others. 

As you think about that special someone in your life, or special “someones” (i.e. family and friends), take time to stop and think why you love this person(s).  Ask God why you love them.  Think about what you would want someone else to say if you asked them this question.  We are commanded to love others even if they hate us.  What if your enemy came to you and asked this very question?  Love can always see the good in a person, and true love also overlooks the bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day and May God Bless You!!

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 Charater Qualities, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

Run the Mile You are In

Run the mile you’re in… I had seen it many times before but I don’t think I ever totally understood what it really meant. Jesus said not to think about tomorrow because it has its own problems. We are to only think about today. Today is the mile we are in. Take one moment at a time. Why?

When I run, sometimes I look at how many miles I have left or what I need to do when I get home and how I need to hurry up and get back, or what my current pace is and freak out when I realize I’m going slower than planned, or maybe even if that dog is loose again and whether I should run by that house or not, and on and on and on, should I push past that pain or is it going to cause me to miss my workout tomorrow, should I bike tomorrow instead so I don’t have to worry about how much I push myself. Ugh, it can get very frustrating and easily take the enjoyment out of running.

But on the contrary, God has been taking me through a phase of learning how to control my thoughts. In looking forward to running a marathon in the next couple years, I have been researching how to train. Apparently its 20% physical and 80% mental! Yikes! This news was not exciting for me to hear, because I am definitely not in control of my thoughts.

Today, I ran 6.2 miles and really tried to focus on just the mile I was in. The first four miles was pretty good. I was able to enjoy the nature around me and for the most part my mind was pretty quiet. I counted down each mile that passed. But mile five was a struggle. My legs started giving me signs that they were going to get really heavy, I realized that my feet were sore, my hands were freezing, the wind was strong and cold, etc. etc. etc. All these thoughts started going through my mind and I purposed in my heart to focus on the mile I was in. I began counting tenths of a mile and thanking God that I was able to be doing this. I knew this run was going to give me the final words for this blog post and I was right. When I hit the sixth mile mark I felt like I ran out of the temptation to dwell on negative thoughts and I realized my body had more to give. I was sore and wanted to get home but I felt like I was free. I was able to give all I could to my body to keep going.

Anxiety pulls us back and keeps us tied down. Peace on the other hand gives us freedom of mind to think clearly and move forward. I’ve been learning that one of the best ways to push past those thoughts is to live in the moment. Live through just today. Don’t think about tomorrow. Don’t think about next week. Run the mile you are in. Run to Jesus and tell him everything that you are going through and then ask him for the strength to push forward. Today may be hard but God’s faithfulness is renewed every morning, so tomorrow you will have new strength to push forward in that day.

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.

Philippians 4:6-7
Posted in Charater Qualities, Uncategorized

Letting go of the Weight

So last week I had been meditating on Hebrews 12:1 a little. I’ve been praying about my running and my physical weight…

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us

Hebrews 12:1

The heavier I am, the more weight I have to carry with me when I run. This ultimately leads to not as much endurance. Have you ever gone hiking where you had to carry a backpack with you? Or even going to a store, carrying a child or diaper bag? These are not burdens, but they are weights, and it does make these treks a little more challenging.

Of late I have been realizing guilt is a very heavy load to carry. I often try to cover it up with excuses, but covering up the extra weight on my body by wearing lots of layers does not change what the scale says. Actually, doing this makes me weigh more. In the beginning of the year God did give me grace to loose 20 lbs., which honestly I have not felt an immediate difference in my running, but common knowledge proves that taking those 20 lbs. off my knees and joints is healthier and less stressful on my body.

Choosing to rid ourselves of any spiritual weight may not show itself right away, but in the long-haul it will. A friend of mine has been keeping me accountable in ridding myself of a bad habit. My thoughts go places I do not want them to go and this in itself has proved to me how without these heavy weights, life can be so much easier – and fun – to run!

If you have a spiritual weight or sin that weighs you down everyday, I encourage you to take steps in removing them. It is so worth it! Ask God to show you how to loose that weight so you can more efficiently run this race called life.

Happy Running and May God bless your endeavors towards living a more full-filled life with Him!!

Posted in Charater Qualities, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

CrossRoads

I was supposed to have this post published by noon on Monday, but I got so busy and tired that it has taken a few days to complete. Of late, I have really enjoyed listening to a homemaking podcast by Jamie Belmont. Though her talks are for wives and mothers, almost every one of them can be applied to single woman as well. She directs her listeners to the Lord and Him alone. But what inspires me most about her podcasts is that she talks on areas she herself is struggling. From now on, my goal is to write posts in areas I am presently working on and studying about, so we can learn together.

This week’s post is on choosing to Give Up or Go On. For the last month or so I have been challenged in my running. I’ve hit a mental plateau so much that I want to quit running altogether. I am part of an online running group and posted a question asking about this area. Many of the other runners gave me tips and encouragement, but it wasn’t them who gave me the answer to my dilemma.

In the past I had heard about how, many people will begin running, but only some of them will keep running. Why? Because, when you fall in love with running you don’t just agree to have only good days. You must also fall in love with the suffering, pain and hardship that comes along with it. Jogging is slow and a lot less demanding. Walking is even easier. But running? That’s a different story.

Running the Christian life, I went through a time a few years ago wondering if it was all worth it. Overtime God proved that it is. When you “sign up” to be a Christian, you don’t agree to good days only, you also agree to much suffering, pain and hardships. But in the end it will be worth it.

I can’t wait till the day I look back on my previous running years and be like, “Wow, I went from not even being able to do a comfortable 10k and now I’m signing up for my first marathon!” In the Christian life, I can’t wait for the day when Jesus tells me, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!” What a day that will be when we all get to heaven!

But in the mean time I purpose to keep moving forward and to not give up! But, as Jesus reminded me a few days ago, we must run on God’s grace, not on our own strength. It’s when we are weak that we realize how strong He is! Keep on keeping on!