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 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