Monthly Archives: September 2014

To Run or Not to Run…

Why is running so important to me? – That’s a really good question. I’m not sure if I can fully answer it, but I’ll try.

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I was never a runner in my child or adolescent years. In fact, I hated running. Running was the bane of my existence. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in most things I did, and running only backed up that thought. I always said I “couldn’t” run. I didn’t know how to breathe and I didn’t know how to handle the ache in my muscles. So I just stuck to swimming – I loved swimming. Being in the water was, quite possibly, one of the best feelings to me. I was not, nor would I ever be, a runner…or so I thought.

Then, one day last May, I decided I wanted to run. The thought was insane. I hated running, why did I want to run? But I gave in to the thought and I ran. And you know what, I fell in love with it. Even at 240 pounds and even though I could barely run a quarter mile without thinking I was going to die, I fell in love with it and I kept trying.

Running was the first thing in my life that was hard for me and I knew would be a challenge, but I kept going anyway. You see, I’m my own worst critic and I’ve never been very confident in my ability to do anything. When confronted with anything that might be hard or challenging, anything that there was even a possibility of me failing at, I would quit. Quitting was easier than trying and failing…or so I thought at the time.

So back to why running is so important to me, running taught me a very important life lesson. Running taught me that, if I was willing to try, I would find out that I was capable of much more than I thought I was – both mentally and physically. Running became a release for me. When I had a bad day, I ran. When I had a good day, I ran. When I was sad, I ran. When I was happy, I ran…you get the picture.

Then, running became an addiction and it took over my life. I lived and breathed running. I got injured, but I kept running.

Now, as I’m recovering from surgery to remove the sesamoid bone that I shattered…from continuing to run on an injured foot, I am reassessing my deep desire to run again. Last month, I was told by my rheumatologist that I should NEVER run again. I have a rare disorder called Elhers-Danlos Syndrome that effects my joints (and many other parts of my body). Because of this disorder, my joints are very loose and I have had frequent dislocations and sprains of my joints, throughout my life. My ankles and knees are some of my most unstable joints and, obviously, running is not very productive when then joints in the legs are weak.

But running brings me so much joy. I can’t really just STOP running altogether, can I? I mean, running does not define me. Whether or not I run is not the most important part of my life, and I do recognize that…but to be totally honest, I’m just not ready to give it up. So I’ve been doing some research. My joints will never be as stable as most peoples joints, but there are things I can do to protect them. There are things I can do to run again.

I’m not going to give up on running. I will protect my joints and I will be smart about it. But I will still run. It may not be much, and that’s okay.

Being a runner is so much more than running. It’s the determination and the drive to want more for myself and my life than I ever dreamed possible. It’s the willingness to dream big and do the work necessary to achieve those dreams. Being a runner has given me to confidence to also face struggles in other aspects of my life because if I can run, I can do anything. I am an overcomer!

I refuse to let this disorder control my life. Some of the most joyful times in my life have been during a good run and I will not give that up without a fight.

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The Author of My Story

Truth: I really didn’t want to go to church this morning. I got woken up early this morning and by the time it came time to get ready for church, all I could think was how much I didn’t feel like being around people. I’ve been in a slump lately. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and it has left my emotions feeling strung out and tired.

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So I went to church anyway. I sucked up my anxieties, packed the kids up in the car, and we went. I sat in the same spot I always do and I stared down at my phone in my lap in hopes that no one would try to talk to me. My motto: don’t make eye contact with anyone.

Then we started singing. Worship always softens my heart. It’s impossible to honestly worship God and NOT feel something.

“Lift us up, for we are heavy laden,
only need and brokenness we bring.
You alone can rescue us falling
We are weak, but You are strong
Lift us up.”

Those words rang so true in my heart as I sang them. I was singing out to a mighty God to lift me up. I often feel like I’m falling, like I’m going to crash and burn in the rubble of my sin and I know that only He can lift me up.

My pastor is doing this series through Galatians right now. Last week, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t go to church because I had read the passage that he was going to be preaching on and it was so very applicable to my life that I REALLY didn’t want to hear the sermon on it because I knew it would leave me feeling convicted about my secret sins. So this morning’s sermon was titled “God Centered Story” and one of the first things he asked was, what centers us and guides us? (I’m paraphrasing from my notes, of course). Clearly, the good, Christian answer to that question is God…and that’s what I wish my answer was. But if I’m totally honest, what centers and guides me in life is my desire to avoid dealing with or feeling my emotions. If I’m totally honest, I don’t really trust God with my life.

We all have different stories. We all come from different backgrounds and have different biases, but for believers in Christ our stories all share one very big similarity – we were wrong and God intervened. God is the author of our stories. He is writing a beautiful story from the ashes of my life.

My story began almost 27 years ago. My story has taken me through joy and grief, happiness and sadness, blessings and curses. My story has led me to do whatever I could do to find immediate relief from my pain. But one big lesson I have learned is that Jesus is WAY better than any of the immediate relief that I have searched for. Jesus is so much better than trying to bury my emotions deep inside my heart. Jesus is infinitely better than any of the “quick fixes” that I come up with on my own. Jesus is so much better and I am NOT the only one who struggles to trust Him.

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God knew me before I was born…I really struggle with this concept. I have always wondered, if God really knew me before I was born, if He really knew my life before it happened, then why did He give me life knowing how much pain I would experience. But I am not God and who am I, as the created, to question the Creator. He chose ME! Me, a broken and wounded sinner – He chose me. He knew that I would walk away from Him and deny Him on countless occasions, but He still chose me. He called me by His grace. I have nothing to bring to Him, just like the song says, “only need and brokenness” I bring. But somehow it pleased Him to show me grace.

You see, if you’ve followed this blog for very long or if you know me at all, I’m sure you know that I tend to shy away from asking for help. I tend to convince myself that I can make it through life on my own accord without God’s help…now, clearly, we all know I’m wrong. Doing life on my own leaves me dead and isolated in my sin. I get scared and trapped by the shame and guilt of my past. But in His infinite grace and mercy, He searches me out and saves me every time (see Luke 19:10).

I get frustrated with God quite frequently because I don’t think my story looks the way it should. I don’t like the way my story has been written. But God didn’t ask me for my editing suggestions.

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I am still in the middle of my story. Pastor Dave used the analogy of doing a flip-turn (as in swimming). Being that I am a former swimmer who loved doing flip-turns, I very much loved this analogy. My story is still in progress. God, the Author, knows how it will end. My choice at this point is to trust that He loves me. This is where I can make a flip-turn and trust His grace. This is where I can let the love of Jesus direct me through the rest of this story.

On my own I am nothing, I have nothing. But with God, I need nothing. With God, I am much stronger than I think I am. I can quit turning to those things that have kept my secrets hidden. I can bring my secrets into the light and let God use those as a part of my story. He can, and He will, use my story to bring others to Him.

Like Joseph said Genesis, what you meant for evil, God will use for good. God never wastes a hurt. He is spinning all the ugliness and hurt in my life into a beautiful story centered on His grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not perfect. I struggle daily. But the Author of my story knows what He’s doing and I will trust He knows more than I do.

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