Keep going

Isaiah 40:31 says “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” As of last Sunday, I had completed 353.8 miles and 142 runs and had never experienced what is promised in Isaiah.I’m super excited to be running my first race in over two years today. I’m pushing myself a little, since I’ve only done 3 miles twice recently. Last Sunday morning came and I knew if I wanted to get one last longer run in before race day, that was the day. The weather was yucky, but the radar looked like it had moved on and the forecast said it was supposed to clear up. I laced up my shoes and left, determined to do a whole 5k. (Two things you need to know: 1. I feel accomplished when I can run a challenging distance without stopping. I feel like a failure when I have to stop to walk. I know I shouldn’t, but I just do. My goal is always to complete the distance I set for myself without stopping. And 2. I don’t run in the rain. I’m scared my clumsy self will fall or my phone will get wet. Don’t know which one would be worse. ) So, I set off and things were great until I got to the section of my run that is about the furthest away from our house and it started to rain. My oh so stylish fanny pack phone holder is waterproof, so it was ok- I know you were worried- so what was I to do but keep running? If I stopped, I’d just get wetter and there weren’t any puddles for me to injure myself in yet, so I just kept running. About half a mile later though, I started to feel like I couldn’t do it anymore. Maybe I had picked up the pace too much, ready to be home and dry but for whatever reason, my breathing was off and I couldn’t talk myself to going on anymore. I stopped and walked for about half a block and started up again, but before long I had to stop again. I walked about the same distance and once I got my breathing under control, started up again. I was able to keep running till I finished mile two. About this point my route makes a nice loop and I’m back near my house. If I’m ready for a cool down walk, I take a right. If I take a left it takes me one mile to loop back to my house the long way. I was soaking wet but determined to finish a 5k, no matter what, so I took a left and braced myself for what I thought would be another tough mile. With about half a mile to go it dawned on me that I was feeling more energized than when I started out. I never had to stop again, or even felt like I needed to, the whole rest of the run! I can say I’ve never experienced being that low and then that high during the same run before. 
I felt God telling me sometimes I need to humble myself. I won’t always succeed at everything I venture to do, and when I try to do it all on my own, I probably won’t. I was discouraged that I had to walk, but I didn’t let it defeat me. Because I didn’t give up completely, and take the short way home like I could have done, he exalted me and renewed my strength! He really did! But if I would have forced myself to keep going without stopping, with my burning lungs and aching legs, I would have worn myself out, for what, a very small victory in my own eyes. The real victory was me being able to be humbled without being defeated! What I thought was a failure brought about a huge blessing- the chance to experience Him renewing and strengthening me like never before! 

It is not fun to be humbled, to fail at something, especially if it is in public view. God doesn’t intend for us to be shamed though. Shame never, ever, comes from God. We might need a reminder though of who is in control, that way the right person gets the credit for the victory. When we keep going, keep relying on Him, keep giving Him the glory- telling about the good things He does for us- we will be living out our purpose, which is a victory indeed. If you’ve got a goal you’re working on, don’t let a setback discourage you; a wonderful blessing is waiting on the other side if you’re willing to keep going! 

Getting Up

It’s happened in my running life and now in my blogging life. I have so much enthusiasm, so much drive. Then I get a little opposition and before I know it, I am way off course from where I wanted to be. My well-documented, enumerated and typed (in a cute font) plan never involves getting sidetracked and not completing the task, but that is exactly what seems to happen more times than I’d like to admit. In my running life, it is usually a minor illness or a multi-day rain or extreme weather event- just enough to get me out of my routine long enough to make getting back into the routine hard. In my blogging life, it has been the lack of discipline to carve the time I need to write out of my schedule. A bigger reason though, and the one I’m even more ashamed to admit, is fear- fear that I’d have nothing to say, or worse yet, that I wouldn’t be able to walk the healthy-life walk that I really desire to. Oh, I almost forgot one more: the guilt of all the holiday/stress eating I’d been doing. Nothing says hypocrite more than consuming nearly ALL of the holiday goodies your sweet students bring you in the first 24 hours of Christmas Break! I let all this lack of discipline, fear, guilt and shame keep me silent.

I start my daily quiet time with the First 5 app. (Its free and easy to find in the App store. I love it and highly recommend it!) We are working through the book of Joshua right now. He is the new leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death and has to conquer some territories to finally move into the Promised Land. God gives them very explicit directions and promises that if they obey, the victory will always be theirs. In chapter 7, a guy named Achan messes up, unbeknownst to Joshua, and he is completely confused when they lose a battle. He tears his clothes, falls to his face, covers himself with ashes and begs God for an explanation. God answers Joshua “Get up!” He goes on to explain that someone has sinned and tells them how to reconcile the sin. It was not easy, but they did obey fully, and God orchestrates their conquering of the very same enemy that had previously defeated them.

There’s a time for true repentance of sin- of telling God you are sorry and really meaning it- and a time for prayer over situations, but you’ve got to be ready to listen because God is probably going to tell you to get up! Take some action! Do something to fix the problem or right the wrong. I heard the call loud and clear.

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can be spared the wrath that we deserve. Jesus loves us so much He  took the punishment for all our sins, once and for all. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you are forgiven and cleansed. Forever. So, God doesn’t want us wallowing in the ashes, spending all our time on our faces begging for forgiveness and answers. Don’t let fear, guilt, shame keep you down. Confess your sins to the Lord, accept the forgiveness He lovingly and graciously gives, then take the steps He tells you to take. If we ask Him for guidance and wisdom, He will grant it, but it’s our job to act on the direction He gives us.

This lesson was probably just for me, but I wanted to share because it reminded me it is never too late to do what we need to do. Even if we’ve gotten off track. Especially when we’ve gotten off track. Today is the day to get up and get moving back in the right direction.