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Posts Tagged ‘journey’

I love the adrenaline rush of a busy day but as I get older I find the downslope of that mountain can turn treacherous. I spend my day being extra helpful and gracious to people I don’t know (good thing) but then I’m grumpy with those who love me best (bad thing). I’ve expended tons of energy to do my job well but have nothing in the tank for after hours.

So, at the end of my crazy busy work week (with a crazy busy and emotionally draining weekend ahead), I’ve decided: (1) my best self needs to be given to my husband and children; (2) I will not beat myself up over silly mistakes; and (3) even keel is my best speed and serves others best also.

In the midst of the late 90s revival services, I received advice from a well known speaker: You cannot live on the mountain top experiences. And there is no medal for wallowing in the valley. You must attempt to live as steady as possible, enjoying the changes in terrain but always striving for level.

So when my schedule is wonky and my temper is short, I will remember those other wise words: “This too shall pass.” Leveling out and moving on. Giving and receiving grace. Enjoying the journey, not trying to win the race. Oh yes, a visit from puppies never hurts.

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daily-routinesThere’s nothing inherently wrong with liking routine. In fact, most of us would be a whirling mass of chaos if we didn’t have a set routine to follow, for at least a portion of our day. As a list-maker (and follower), I need the day-to-day routines in order to function well. I wear a lot of different hats each day and without a set routine, I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong supplies more often than not.

As a working woman, I get up early Monday through Friday to achieve as much as possible prior to heading to my job. I have a to-do list with me at all times and often type myself a quick reminder in my iPhone, if I’m without paper and pencil. (Oh yes – the pencil. The master tool of any list maker! I don’t have the confidence to write my calendar items in pen…though I have been known to complete a crossword puzzle in ink.)

Routine helps us complete our commitments…give us confidence that we are where we need to be…assists us in getting the most accomplished in the least amount of time. There are no surprises in routine.

BUT, routine can be a adventure-killer. Routine can become a fixed mindset, keeping you from enjoying the journey you take everyday. Routine can keep us from embracing the experience, discovering the treasures hidden in each day.

I’ve enjoyed developing routines but I’ve totally embraced the wonder of new things, new places, new food, new people, and even new routines. Don’t allow yourself to get stale by doing the same thing over and over. It becomes mindless…our vision blurs…our ears tune out the voices around us…our feet become entrenched and that is when a routine becomes a rut. I would rather consider routine as a thin wire act – delicately balancing the new and the old, the sameness of routine blending with the excitement of discovery.

So put away your pencil, your list, your time piece and take a walk outside…spur of the moment, go off grid for an hour, change up your routine for a day. The freshness will blow those left over winter cobwebs right out and you’ll be able to enjoy the hope of spring with a fresh sense of adventure!

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Horace quote

“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

It’s time. Time to change things up again. Time to get back to some basics. Time to confront old habits and create new ones. Time to encourage others to be all God wants them to be. Time to “play detective” on myself and be the best “me” I can be.

Today marks Day 1 of my 90-day journey to renewing my spirit, soul and body. I’ve used a book by Donna Partow called “Becoming the Woman I Want to Be” at least twice before, and I’m picking it up again. The last time was almost 4 years ago so I’m sure there are a few things I’ll need to review and remember this time around.

There won’t be any surprises within the content of the book – Partow focuses on helping the reader concentrate on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, and journaling, as well as developing healthier eating and exercise habits. Since the last time I completed this journey, I’ve lost 30 pounds so I can testify to the success of the eating/exercise disciplines, at least in my own life. We are all unique so I cannot guarantee anyone else’s success but it never hurts to eat more veggies or take a walk every day.

I’m hopeful for a few unexpected turns in the road. Even though the book’s content is known, the way the Spirit of God will lead me this time will be new and different. He is a creative God and I’m looking forward to hearing His voice with fresh ears and listening to His instruction with a clean and receptive heart. This 90-day adventure includes 18 passages of Scripture to memorize – which has never been my strong suit – but I’m committed to giving it my best shot. The Bible says if I study and read God’s Word, it will always be valuable in my life. It is never a waste of time and energy to meditate on Scripture. Looking forward to seeing insights I’ve never noticed before. The Scripture at the top of the blog is my first one to memorize…I’m working on it. Thankfully no tests – yet.

Partow includes a daily affirmation to read out loud…a way to transform my mind with positive statements of Biblical truth. I’m very sure these encouragements will bless me every day. And I’ll probably share a few on social media. Apologies in advance.

I’m going to continue through my own personal Bible reading guide. I’d fallen behind but instead of cramming to “catch up” to where I should be, I’m just continuing where I left off. There is no condemnation from God and no list to check-off that anyone sees but me. Letting go of my “Bible Reading Guide OCD” and embracing freedom today!

Today’s affirmation spoke to me (and I hope to you as well) – “I forget those things that are behind me, including all of my personal shortcomings in the area of spiritual disciplines, diet and exercise. I am pressing toward what lies ahead: a bright future filled with health in my spirit, soul, and body.”

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Flower_reflectionMy 40-day journey of addition begins today. And I wanted to start with something which will help me all the way through this adventure.

Reflection. So many definitions. One involves a mirror. Yuck.

Some of us use the mirror as a tool to pluck a stray hair, check for green stuff in our teeth, or make sure that eyeliner went on straight. Others  use it as a tool to beat ourselves over the head…”too fat,” “too pale,” “big nose,” “big butt,” “big ears,”…the voice in my head can depress me more than any Donald Trump sound bite. My self-esteem can take a big hit if I saw myself the way that mirror says I am.

But there’s another mirror…a magic mirror…I can use every day, at any moment, if I choose it. This mirror reflects the real me…the me that God says is valued, loved, cherished. The mirror of God’s Word is the only true reflection of who I really am.

Another definition of reflection has to do with  meditation or consideration.

I think about stuff. Don’t you? I spend a lot of time in my head, constantly talking myself into and out of things. So today, I’m committing to spending more time in reflection. Intentionally considering my life, my schedule, my choices, my God. I’m looking forward to listening to the Holy Spirit as I try to reflect who I am because of who He is in me.

That’s another reflection to consider. How do I reflect the love of Christ into this world I live in? I’m a pretty flawed human being but Jesus lives in me and I want His love, His words, His character reflected in my words and actions.

Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthian church and in it he included a section we like to refer to as “the love chapter” – 1 Corinthians 13. It’s very beautiful (if you take time to REFLECT on all of it). There’s a long list of what love is and isn’t (love is patient, kind, not envious…). But one of my favorite parts of the section, toward the end, of what it will be like when we see Jesus.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

When we see Jesus, we won’t wonder if we are too fat or too thin, accepted or not accepted, loved or not loved. I will know all things as He knows. A reflection is good for now, but I can’t wait until I see Him face-to-face.

 

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Finish Well

I ran another 5k last weekend. It wasn’t very fun…at least not the running part. It was hot and already 100% humidity at 8 a.m. One of my good friends was running also. Alanna’s a different class of runner than I am. She loves the long stuff…8-10 mile training runs are nothing for her. She’s a beautiful and godly woman who I have known for over 10 years. When we first met, Alanna was very shy and quiet. She was hesitant to share her opinion, but very willing to help in any way. She’s a great wife and mother and in recent years, has grown into leadership abilities I would guess she never thought she had.

On Saturday I noticed her confidence. She has found her place and she walks in it with assurance. She has grown and matured and, though she’s still quiet, she isn’t afraid to speak up and share her advice and encouragement.

We had a nice time getting reacquainted prior to the start of the race but I knew once the race began, I would be eating her dust. And I was totally ok with that!

The race began and I took off at my normal pace…slow. The weather conditions were ugly. I’ll take running in rain or snow over heat and humidity any day. The route was well marked but I knew I was in trouble when I had to stop and walk at the first mile mark. Though I’m not fast, I can usually run the whole 3.2 mile distance. But by mile two, I was struggling to run more than a half mile at a time. I knew my time was shot but I was moving forward and making little goals along the way.

I always have my run app going through my phone so every half-mile I’d hear the app’s voice tell me how far I’ve gone, how long it’s taking me and my pace. It helps me realize how far I have left to go. At mile three I knew I only had two-tenths of a mile and I was determined to gut it out. There was a turn in the course ahead of me so I assumed the finish line was just around the corner. Then I saw my friend Alanna coming toward me. She met me saying, “I’m going to run you in.” It was then I realized I had further to go than I thought. As we turned the corner I saw more than a quarter mile left to go.

I can’t describe how discouraged I became at that moment. Physically I really didn’t think I could do it. I knew I could walk it in, but Alanna was running alongside me and, to be honest, I didn’t want to disappoint her. I wanted to finish well…or as well as I could. I felt sick, my legs were rubber, I was panting, almost gasping, and sweat was dripping in my eyes. I was literally “a hot mess.” But I prayed “God, just get me home,” and with Alanna’s verbal encouragement and physical presence, I dug a little deeper and ran across the finish line.

My time was awful – but that wasn’t the important lesson. Here are my takeaways:

  • Train hard. It’s the everyday journey through life that prepares you for those sudden races that occasionally pop up.
  • Run your own race. It doesn’t matter where you are in comparison to other runners. You are the best “you” there can ever be. Be good with it.
  • Don’t believe the voice in your head. Keep your eyes and ears on the truth. My app was “off” on the distance of the 5k and I had put my whole mindset on its veracity. When I realized I had more to go, I was so discouraged. Run using the sign posts along the way – the Word of God is your sign post. Let it be your training manual for your own race.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, when you are confident and secure in your race, go back and encourage someone else along the way. Alanna’s voice and presence brought me in. Without her, I probably would have dropped back to a walk which was a failure in my mind. Be the coach, cheerleader, mentor, leader – whatever term you prefer – to bring others along toward their finish line.

The times we live in are getting hotter, tougher, harder…We need each other so we can all finish well.

By the way, I got first place in my age division…I was the only one in it! One more life lesson: There are no other runners in your race. As long as you show up and finish, YOU WIN!

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