Posted in As A Person, Be Still, Life, Our Focus

Turn your Back to the Wind

Where are our eyes and feet headed?

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!

Happy Running ya’ll!

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 Uncategorized

Peaceful Feet

Are your feet peaceful with one another?  Are your feet peaceful with your shoes?  Are they peaceful with the road?  Without our feet we could not run- obviously, right?  Most everyone has had to deal with some kind of foot pain and it’s kind of annoying- especially the persisting ones that seem to nag you all day.

The definition of peace would be living in a state of quietness, full of harmony, not being disturbed, but free from agitation.

As a runner I train myself to have peaceful feet.  I don’t want to scrape my feet across the ground- that would mean they are lazy.  I don’t want my toes to be squashed- that would give me less freedom and more foot pain.  I don’t want to hit my leg with the opposite foot during strides- because that just plain hurts.  And I don’t want to slam my feet on the ground since that causes more strain on the rest of my body.

One of the fruits of the spirit is peace and according to Ephesians 6, we should be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  1 Peter 3:11 states that we need to seek peace and ensue it.  Being shod is simply having shoes on and ensue means to pursue.  So we are told to seek peace and pursue it and to wear peace on our feet. 

For me, physically speaking, shoes are required for running. (Although I have done a couple barefoot training runs, in the grass.  I wanted to try a couple on the road, but it’s a little cold for that now.)  I make sure to get ones that keep my feet supported and comfortable, replacing them as needed.  Right now that means about one and a half pairs a year. 

Spiritually speaking, peace, as I wrote about in a different post, is an awesome quality to have.  It’s so, well… peaceful!  In order to run the race of life effectively, peace is required.  Think of a situation you are in right now.  Pick the first one that comes to mind and write it down.  Now under that begin writing what it would look like if you added peace to the equation.  Now, you could just use the word peace but that would defeat the purpose of this exercise.  But really think about it.

Let’s say someone is going through a tough time with a relationship.  Without peace, they probably have anxiety, maybe fear, doubt, most likely some bit of worry is in the mix, could be some bitterness or sadness. 

If you are still bearing with me- since I know this is a longer post- here is an exercise I have been using quite a bit lately and it has helped tremendously.  But you have to do the steps in order.  No skipping around. Take Philippians 4:6 and follow each step in the verse. 

  • #1: Write down what you are worrying about.  What is taking your peace away? Write down how you feel about the situation, etc. (End of Thinking Capacity *smile*)  Don’t give God any requests yet, right now you are just writing down your situation and the problems surrounding that. 
  • #2: Give God thanks for everything you wrote down and more.  Spend about five minutes thanking Him for whatever comes to your mind- even the so called “bad”.  An added bonus is to thank Him for who He is.  Thank Him for what He has done in the past and thank Him for the character qualities He presents toward you. 
  • #3:  Now pour out your heart to God telling him everything.  Don’t leave anything out. Everything! 
  • #4:  Last but not least, find a verse that speaks truth to the situation and every time you are tempted to dwell on any negativity concerning this area, quote the verse over and over again. 

Recently while running, both physically and spiritually, I personalized 2 Timothy 2:17, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of Power, and of Love, and of a Sound Mind.”  So since God has not given me a spirit of fear, essentially I am choosing to live in fear.  But what comforts me is that I don’t have to live in fear and I’ve noticed fear is the motive behind most of my anxiety- fear of what others think, fear of getting hurt, fear of losing a loved one, fear of making the wrong decision, etc.

I pray you will try the exercise I have been using and that God would work mightily through that.

Happy Runnin Ya’ll!

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