Crap Happens…Keep Running!

Crap Happens…Keep Running!

I wrote this post a year ago. I published it for about ten minutes before quickly removing it. I thought it was too “crappy.” I decided to repost it today because God can use our worse moments to touch other’s lives. ————————————————————————————————————– Today, I caught a glimpse of endurance that I’m not soon to forget! I made the horrible mistake of googling “gross running images.” I was hoping to find a picture of a sweaty girl. Instead I found chaffed skin, disfigured toes and blistered feet. As I scanned the page I thought I found a promising picture. Disgust contorted my face once I realized what I was looking at. Iodine colored poop was dripping down the legs of a runner. This poor man ran for miles with poop all over his shorts, smeared on his legs and oozing into his shoes. (Just writing that made me gag!) This runner finished strong despite his obvious obstacles! He did not allow crap to slow him down! As gross as it was, this image reminded me that sometimes bad things happen.  It is in these moments that we have to cling to our heavenly father because he will never leave us no matter how messy things get. Life and nature can cause us to stop short of our goal. It takes faith to push through adversity and keep on moving. Life can get messy, stinky, painful and dirty but I’m going to keep running because I know the Lord is with me. He encourages us all to, “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14. I’ll keep running…who is with me? Share...

Treading Water

Treading Water

I watched anxiously as my breathless five-year-old desperately tread water in the deep end of the pool. Her body was furiously fighting to stay vertical. Unwittingly, my inner swim coach took control of the situation. With reassurance, I encouraged my struggling daughter to do something unnatural. She had to submerge herself in the very thing she was fighting against.  The only way for her to get to the side of the pool was to go under, get horizontal and START KICKING. After a few moments of hesitation she finally followed my instruction. A confident smile swelled under her goggled-eyes! She made it to the other side! I wonder how often God feels like that swim coach/parent on the side of the pool. The Abba Father wants to jump in and rescue us from the deep waters we have found ourselves in. Yet the Holy Spirit, our guide, stands on the edge instructing us on how to persevere. Are you trending water?  Are you stuck in a situation? Do you feel like your relationship with the Lord is stagnant? Do you feel like you are struggling to hold on? My daughter knew how to swim but in that moment of crisis she forgot her training. Exhaustion and crisis may have paralyzed you for the moment but don’t forget your training! SUBMERGE: Submerge yourself in the word of God! GET HORIZONTAL: Get on your face before the Lord and PRAY! START KICKING: Do something to move out of that situation. Kicking could mean seeking Godly council, journaling, distancing yourself from unhealthy relationships, etc. Simply take action; don’t remain stagnant. LISTEN TO YOUR COACH’S VOICE: The Holy Spirit will guide you to the other side! You will make it to the other side! Joy will overwhelm your soul as you look back and see just how far you swam. Keep kicking! You are getting closer.   Related Scripture: Romans 5:3-5 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”   Share...

Starting Lines

Starting Lines

Last night I toed the starting line of a new race in my career. I’ve committed to lead a passionate pack of dedicated parents at Dayspring Academy. As I drove away from the meeting I felt a tad overwhelmed by this new role.  Self doubt wanted to take over! Then God reminded me of Cliff Young’s extraordinary story. At 61 years old, Cliff Young decided to run Australia’s 875 kilometer, ultra-marathon endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne. Only a few young, highly trained athletes participated in this event each year. The race usually took a week to complete. On the day of the race, Cliff Young, in his overalls and gumboots was mistaken as a spectator. As he approached the registration table to take his number, it became obvious that Cliff Young was a participant! He was going to join a group of 150 world-class athletes and run! Many thought it was a publicity stunt. Curious reporters began to question Cliff: “Who are you and what are you doing? “I’m Cliff Young. I’m from a large ranch where we run sheep outside of Melbourne.” “Are you really going to run in this race?” “Yeah,” Cliff nodded. “Got any backers?” “No.” “Then you can’t run.” “Yeah I can,” Cliff said. “See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or four-wheel drives, and the whole time I was growing up – until about four years ago when we finally made some money and got a four wheeler- whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep and we have 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d catch them. I believe I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.” When the marathon started, the pros left Cliff behind. The crowds smiled as Cliff set off in his gumboots and overalls. Reporters commented on his “incorrect” technique. Instead of running, he leisurely shuffled. Australians fixated on the live telecast. Many feared the worst for Cliff. The professional runners knew that it took approximately 7 days to complete the race. The athletes knew they needed to run for 18 hours and sleep for 6. No one informed, 61 year old Cliff Young of this formula; and so he ran. The next morning, the public was shocked to find out that Cliff was still in the race. Rather than stopping to sleep, Cliff jogged all night! When asked about his race tactics, he said it was “to run to the finish line.” And so he kept running. Every night he would inch closer to the leading pack. Finally, by the last night, he passed ALL of the world-class athletes, while they were sleeping. Cliff remained ahead until the finish line. Not only did he run the Melbourne to Sydney race at age 61 (without dying)…he won first place, breaking the race record by 9 hours! Cliff Young finished the 875 kilometer race in 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes. He didn’t sleep because he didn’t know that he was supposed to; he just kept imagining that he was chasing sheep and trying to outrun a storm. If this man wasn’t amazing enough already, when awarded with the first prize of $10,000 he said he did not know there was a prize and insisted that he had not entered for the money. He said, “There are five other runners out there doing it tougher than me,” and he gave them $2,000 each. It is astonishing how often unremarkable people impact the world in remarkable ways. It’s inspiring, because there’s probably a Cliff Young in each one of us. The starting line was a critical moment in Cliff’s journey. I applaud his courage and inner strength because the odds were stacked against him. He did not have…. Proper training A national sponsor backing him Conventional running shoes or clothes Racing experience Correct running form But, this is what he DID have… Life experiences – running sheep over 2,000 acres A straightforward plan – “To run to the finish line.” Ignorance – His lack of knowledge was a key component to his success. No one told him he needed to sleep Courage – Cliff believed in himself! All too often, we become paralyzed at the starting line. We allow our lack of experience, lack of support, lack of training, or improper attire stop us from taking that first step of faith. Romans 8:28 (Amplified) says, “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all...

How to Increase your Spiritual Endurance

How to Increase your Spiritual Endurance

My 2 lb, 3 oz miracle baby started kindergarten yesterday! Lela’s premature birth taught me about spiritual endurance.  My tear ducts have been on overdrive this week as I reflect on God’s faithfulness and provision during life’s squeezing moments! Once my fluid level returns to normal I will post more on spiritual endurance! In the mean time, take some time to watch this teaching by Wes Martin. It is 45 minutes of profound insight. I have watched it at least 4 times already! I want to type his sermon word for word and put it into my Endurance book but I think there is some sort of plagiarism law about that : ) http://www.ihopkc.org/resources/2012/12/30/pray-give-fast-and-bless/   Share...

The Ups and Downs of Hills

My early memories revolve around countless hilltop adventures! My childhood house was perched upon a hill. I would spend the summer rolling down it’s soft, green grass and the winter sledding down it’s slick, snowy slopes. My grandparents owned 80 acres of property in Northern Michigan. The land was full of rolling hills. Each hill had its own unique qualities. There was Strawberry Hill which was perfect for picnicking. The front hill was the best for sledding because it was the steepest. The old stone cabin hill held a piece of our family heritage. On that hill sat my great grandfather’s house. It was also the perfect hill for hunting. To this day, my favorite thing to do on steep high hills is to drive up them as fast as possible. Speed coupled with a downward decent produces a butterfly effect in the pit of my stomach. That is one of the best feelings in the world! For the past 23 years I have lived at sea level. I miss my hilltop adventures but I don’t miss the climb to the top! Before the fun could begin there was always the grueling journey uphill. My tiny legs would ache, my shoulders would slump forward, and my breath would become labored. My endurance was tested with each climb. Here is what I have discovered about the journey uphill. It hurts! Muscles you didn’t even know you had      will ache. No hill is just alike. The incline, terrain, and height      of every hill is different. You will get winded and want to give up. Going      back down will be tempting but the reward at the top will be well worth      the effort. Gravity will be against you. (But GOD is for you!) The joy of a hill is that there is always a top. Once you reach that summit the view, the beauty, and the majesty make the pain worthwhile. Very rarely does life resemble the flat smooth, beach front landscape of Florida. Life is more like my grandparents 80 acres. It is full of hills and valleys, forests and clearings, creeks and rivers. Each landscape comes with its own share of joy and hardship. Where are you in your spiritual journey? In the valley Traveling uphill On the hilltop On a slippery slope downhill Gracefully descending down one hilltop and moving on to another? Or you could be in a totally different place…those are just all the creative hill analogies I could think of : ) I found this quote this morning, “Be a hill seeker! Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and – the ultimate – flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” With Christ by your side you can conquer any hill! Share...

Timeline of a People Pleaser

  The heart palpitations began at three years old. I remember watching my babysitter cut apart my blanket. As my chest pounded the voices in my head screamed… “Please no more!” “Sew it back together!” “Don’t throw the satin ends away!” My throat began to close as she placed the odd smelling pillow in my hands. Tethered to the center of the pillow was the satin teddy bear appliqué that once lived at the heart of my blanket. Turmoil and despair twisted my innards but a polite smile graced my face. Gratitude spilled from my lips as I held the Frankenstein version of my once loved blanket. This is one of my earliest memories…and I was already people pleasing! ——————————————————————————————————————————— The heart palpitations I experienced at 10 years old were mixed with fear and shame. He was sitting on a park bench the first time I saw him. His gaze made me feel nervous. I watched in disbelief as he casually stood up, walked past my little sister and eerily grazed her back. The palpitations began! Like a mama duck with her ducklings under wing I ushered my baby sister to the other end of the crowded playground.  With danger behind us, we quickly returned to our carefree play. Just as I was about to reach the top of the eagle’s nest I felt something touch my butt. Waves of fear rushed over me when I realized it was him. He found us again! “MY SISTER! WHERE IS MY SISTER?” I began to panic inside. His eyes were locked onto her bleach blonde hair and olive skin. I had to get to her first! Fight or flight kicked in and I flew to her rescue. The nearest form of shelter was a tall slide a few feet away. I forced her on the slide with a ferocity that bewildered her.  I was determined to be a human shield between him and her innocence. He was fast! He touched me again. We ran to the safety of our father but shame had already engulfed me. My mind was swirling… “Will Dad be mad at me if I tell him someone touched us?” “Will he think I made it up? Did I make it up?” “I should have told him right away…He’ll be mad that I didn’t tell him right away!” For days the palpitations remained as I quietly relived the events of that day. I was ashamed. I feared that my dad would think less of me. People pleasing sealed my lips once again. ——————————————————————————————————————— This year, at 28 years old, the palpitations returned. But this time it was The Lords doing. He was ready for me to change my people pleasing ways. These new heart poundings began to pound my mind, my soul, and my spirit. He revealed to me that people pleasing was damaging my friendships, myself and most importantly my relationship with the Lord. Here is what he revealed to me… I fear people and their opinions more than I fear God. (Gal 1:10) I often love out of fear. (1 John 4:18-19) I’m dishonest with people. I think I know what they are thinking so I try to cater my actions or words to suit their needs. (Gal 2:11-13 Peter was people pleasing) (Col 3:9-10) I have a Savior complex. I feel I’m personally responsible for other people’s well-being.  Christ is the only true savior…I need to trust that he is taking care of his children. If I actually hurt or offend someone I am physically, emotional and spiritually debilitated for days! (Prov 29:25) I worry that my reputation would be ruined if I allowed people to see my daily struggle with sin. I struggle with lying to myself and others to “save-face.” I struggle with dishonesty, pride, people pleasing and self-righteousness. (1 John 1:9) Conflict and criticism can cripple me. I accept other people’s words and opinions as truth. I must first check them against God’s truth. (Rom 12:2) I am disobedient to God when I put other people’s opinions over what He has called me to do. (John 12:42-43) Humbled, humiliated, and repentant I cried out to the Lord! Create in me a clean heart O Lord! Help me to let my “Yes” be a yes and my “No” be a no. Strip me of my prideful and people pleasing ways! It was not pretty…there was snot, coughing, and hyperventilating.  But in the end I have never felt so free! People pleasing no longer has a place in the timeline of my life!   Do you struggle with people pleasing? Take some time to answer these questions… Recall a time when the Lord brought...