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 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?