Posted in As A Person, Life, Training the Mind

Dying Breath

We never realize how good life is until we feel like we’re dying.

Ever walk up the stairs and feel like you’re out of breath?  Ever go for a walk or exercise and feel out of breath?  Honestly that is the worst part about running in life.  I hate it when I run out of breath.  I would rather have a painful run.  I like the feeling of being able to breath.

Anxiety, fear and pain all take our breath away.  It’s something that every person on earth has to learn how to deal with.  I’m not just talking physical pain either, I also mean that emotional pain of our heart being wounded, that hurtful word that sent a knife through your heart, and that feeling of being rejected or betrayed.

When we follow Jesus, we learn that God is the breath of life.  Without breath, we cannot live.

On one of my runs I decided to do what they call a negative split, where each mile is faster than the one before.  The first mile was supposed to be around 11 minutes but turned out to be around 10.  I turned around for the second mile and was hit full force with the wind.  Being as this mile was supposed to faster than the last, I pushed harder, but with little success.  I ended up finishing this one still around 10 minutes.

I was determined that the last mile, whether it rained on me or not, was going to be faster than the last two.  At about six-tenths of a mile I had to stop, I couldn’t breathe.  I cried out to God in desperation, I need strength, I need breath, I can’t breathe.  Give me breath.  All of a sudden an image popped in my head and I started crying.  Lord, forgive me.  I saw Jesus hanging on the cross gasping for breath- pushing against the nail in his feet in order to fill his lungs with air; blood running down his body… for me.

Now there was no way I was going to be able to run hard anymore being all choked up like that.  But I thank God for the lesson he gave me.  He reminded me in a very real way how much He loves me.  I finished the three miles in my average pace and ended up doing a couple tenth mile sprints afterwards.  The sprints were all around 50 seconds proving to me that my body really could have gone on, if I had only remembered to breath.

As humans we are capable of doing so much more than we could ever imagine.  I mean, we have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us!  And Philippians clearly says that we can do all things through Christ because He strengthens us.  And in Matthew it shows us that Jesus’ yoke is easy and light.

But we first have to lose our own life.  We first need to die to ourselves and take Jesus’ yoke.  We need to be like a seed, to die and be placed deep in the earth before we can grow and produce life!  We need to lose our breath so He can breathe His breath into us! 

But then the question, do we want this?  Are we truly willing to lose our breath, our very life, for Him?  I challenge you to ponder this question in prayer and allow Jesus to speak true life into your being.

Happy Running Ya’ll!

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

Who Am I

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this is not who I am! 

Through Christ –

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

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

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind

The Wind of Adversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

What is Your Focus?

Christmas is almost here and what joy do we have to show for it?  This year I have not been in the Christmas spirit and though I enjoyed shopping for gifts and listening to holiday music, something just seems to be missing.  Am I the only one that feels this way?

As I began thinking about this I wondered if maybe my focus was off.  What is Christmas about anyway?  I researched a little on what the worlds view was and I found out that the percentage of people who believe in the true reason of Christmas is slowly declining.

Do we spend too much of our holidays enjoying the pleasures of this world while Jesus slowly fades away?  Are we as Christians okay with sticking Christ in the closet?  I’m not saying we should go around and tell everyone how selfish they are for indulging in gift buying, participating in the billions of dollars spent worldwide on things that will only last for a few years, (or if you buy food, only a few weeks *smile*).  But where does our own heart lie?  What is our true motivation for everything we do around this time of year?  And most importantly, what does Christmas mean to you as an individual?

I have to admit I have been very overwhelmed by all the things I had to do before Christmas and I have not stopped one minute to enjoy it.  I looked at the unwrapped gifts underneath my tree and wondered what the point was in all this.  My motive in getting those presents was to show the receiver that I cared for them, that they mean something to me.  But did I enjoy it?

Two weeks ago I spent time with a very good friend and her family.  I loved every minute of it.  When the enemy started putting thoughts of worry and concern about the next day in my head, God gently prompted me to enjoy the present.  Maybe this is what I’m missing in the rest of the season as well.  Maybe I need to just enjoy the present.  Is this maybe what we all need?

Although we are all different, each of us still has to make a decision of what we focus on, what we keep our mind on, and what our motive is.

What is your focus this Christmas season?

As we finish up our gift shopping and holiday prep, let’s not forget to live with God and enjoy each moment with Him.  He truly is the reason for the season!

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
-Micah 6:8
Posted in Praise Report, Racing, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

“I Am Never Running Again”

Have you ever watched a hurdles race? To me that looks awful. Running straight forward is hard enough, but running and then jumping over fences throughout the race… no thank you. I sometimes just struggle picking my feet up high enough so that I don’t scrape my shoe across the pavement.

But do you know what happens when we determine to push through that wall, whatever it may look like to each of us? God gives us the strength and grace that we ask for because in our weakness, His strength is made perfect. Do you want God’s perfect strength over your life? Then you need to give Him your perfect weakness.

For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

Psalm 18:29

During my 5k race last Saturday, a thought crossed my mind that I’ve only had a few times in my running experience; I am never running again! But as soon as the race was over I couldn’t wait till the next one. What happens when I have this mental breakdown? The answer is mental fatigue and a stressed mind. When I run, I hit this mental wall that I dread. I call it a mental breakdown. I’ve learned that the sooner I can get over that wall the better my run can be.

This particular 5k, I had about three weeks to train. I had never run a 5k race in under 30 minutes so this was my prayer. But it seemed every time I prayed this, 28 would pop in my head. I would laugh and think, “Yeah sure, under 28 minutes would be great, but since that’s not possible, under 30 minutes will do just fine.”

Before the race I gave the results to God. The gun was shot and we were off. At the one mile marker I was shocked by how fast I had gotten there, and I felt great. A few minutes later, “Smack!” I hit the mental breakdown wall. I determined to push forward and prayed for peace. Coming up to the next mile marker I was praying it said two miles and not one and a half. It said two and I felt very relieved. A few moments later I noticed my body was getting exhausted, I knew I had pushed it harder than ever before. I prayed, “Please Lord, just let it be under…” Again, 28 popped in my head. I said, “No, under…” And this time, 29 popped in my head. I said, “No. Under 30. Please let it be under 30 minutes.”

I turned the last corner and when I could see the finish line, I took off as fast as my tired legs would let me. My parents were smiling and everyone was cheering me on as I crossed the line. When I asked my parents the time, they said it was around 27:30. I thought, “No way, you’re kidding!” It was then that I realized God must have been the one saying under 28. It seemed like forever before they put the final times out. And sure enough it said 27:30. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe God could, or would, or how, or… so many thoughts went through my mind. My HPR (Home Personal Record) was 29:48!

One thing I know… My Coach up in Heaven knows what He’s doing! If only I would listen and trust Him, I can’t imagine what the outcome of other things would be!

Posted in Be Still, Life, Training the Mind

Listen

This past Sunday I asked God what the topic for this week’s post should be. I instantly heard, “Listen.” Many times we love talking more than listening. Sometimes we have goals of “talk less, listen more,” or “be quick to hear and slow to speak.” But how often do we actually follow through with our good intentions of doing so.

This week God challenged me to take the headphones out, set the phone aside, and listen… and I listened. First, to the pounding of my shoes on the pavement, the soft breath of my lungs and the many people heading to work, creating the sound of what we call morning traffic. But there was more beyond that that I rarely ever hear; the cool breeze through the trees, the joyful singing from the birds, the crunching leaves from the leaping deer, the water trickling over rocks in the river, squirrels and chipmunks chewing up their nuts, and crickets quietly playing music in the swaying grass. In enjoying everything that God has blessed us with, how often are we quiet enough to listen to His still, small voice.

This was a struggle for me all week. To just listen and be still as I ran caused me to see and feel my negative thoughts about running on a more negative level. I prayed for wisdom and listened. I learned a lot. I came up with a ton of comparisons for this blog. However, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. “How do I conquer these negative thoughts and get past my mental plateau?” During my quiet time Friday morning I asked God to show me something in His Word. I always try to do that. It’s one way I feel loved by God because my primary love language is words of affirmation. I listened but nothing seemed to stand out. I decided to just start writing the post. Praying for wisdom in writing this, I looked up and saw a verse I’ve never seen before. It was on the opposite side of the page from where my devotional had taken me.

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Galatians 5:7

It struck me. I was believing a lie which was greatly hindering my running dreams. I would repeatedly say to myself, “I can’t do it.” That is a lie because the Bible clearly states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) That is the truth! And the hinderer… is the enemy, Satan, that great deceiver. He is out to steal, kill and destroy. Now I must add something to my running prayer. That God would bind and gag the enemy so that he may have no influence over my running. Praise be to God!

Take out the headphones and tune into the voice of God. Don’t forget to Be Still – at all times – and Run! God bless ya’ll! Have a great weekend!

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