Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Be Encouraged!




It seems that the Lord is dealing with me ever so gently and sometimes not so gently with my issues of discipline and self control. Everywhere I turn I hear the words 'race' or 'discipline' or 'running' or 'endurance'. I've had several conversations just in this passed week about the 'marathon of life' with various people. Words are echoing through my mind.

There are sweet precious people in my life that are running races that seem never ending, exhausting, and heart wrenching. People I love deeply and ache for.

Is this a coincidence? I think not.

With the God of the universe who fashioned all of the stars into place and told them where to shine, there is no mistakes or coincidences.

Not to mention my own shortcomings that have been OBVIOUS to myself for a while now. I'm not doing so great in this daily marathon. I often get discouraged and my eye off of the prize. Impatience, perfectionism**, anxiety, laziness**, and lack of time management often gets the best of me and I succumb to this ugliness once again.

**How on earth can these two go together??? Perfectionism & laziness. I have yet to figure this out. Randomness- that's me! I'm most certainly a perfectionist about some things. And yet, I'm lazy about other things. Maybe 'consistently inconsistent' is a better term to lump these two together.**

I loved what my sister in law said the other day during our conversation about running in real life and in a spiritual sense. She is a real runner. The Lord has used this in her life to show her the rewards of running hard races in life. To sum up what she said, Heather explained that anytime you practice endurance, discipline, self-control, whether it be physical or spiritual, you will see fruit. You can either physically see fruit in regards to your body in your health, your physical strength, and your overall appearance.

Or you can see spiritual fruit by growing in your faith, overcoming a stronghold, or taking captive old thoughts that were once there and replacing them with truth. Whatever the case, the Lord can use this endurance to grow you in ways not possible on your own.

I could go on and on here with the comparisons to running a real life marathon or a spiritual marathon. The lighter the load the easier the race, or staying within the race set before us vs. getting of the track, or running with a purpose and goal.

But, instead, I'll let scripture elaborate on what it has to say about all of this. I have been reading today about running races. There are some GREAT verses that encouraged my heart........because scripture is cool like that!

*****

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you." Galations 5:6-8

*****

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

*****

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

*****

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

I also stumbled across a poem written by a Christian mother on a blog I visit- Ordinary Mother. I was also encouraged by her words. I'll leave you with the poem she wrote.

One Mom’s Marathon

A meditation on Hebrews 12:1-3

She pours her coffee bleary-eyed

Foggy minded

Sleep deprived

Scraggly hair in pony tail

Stained pink bathrobe

Smelling stale

She makes her way to the green chair

Pulls out God’s Word

And meets Him there

At first her mind will not be still

The library books

The grocery bill

But right there in that common place

She reads and finds

She’s in a race

And though she sits there in her home

She discovers

She’s not alone

A cloud of witnesses looks from heaven

The faithful ones

From chapter eleven

She hears their voices, sees their faith

Continues reading

About the race

Throw off every weight or sin

That slows you down

Run to win

The weights and sins flash through her mind

Her unbridled tongue

Her use of time

Oh sweet relief to read the phrase,

Look to the founder

Of your faith

Jesus with joy endured the cross

Despised the shame

Suffered for us

He sits now at the right hand

Of the Father

In full command

She sits now and considers Him

Who endured hostility

From sinful men

She sets bare foot to this day’s race

She fixes her eyes on

The throne of grace

She pours the milk with Olympic finesse

Hears a spill

Sees the mess

The great crowd she also sees,

Hears the cheers

Drops to her knees

To clean the milk, not to pray

Like she cleans it

Many days

And while she serves in obscurity

Buttering toast,

Teaching History

She runs slow and steady by the One

And her heart

Hears His, “well done”.


7 comments:

QuiltedSimple said...

What a great post - it really made me stop and think about the race we are running (or not running). Very uplifting message in your post today. Thanks for the message!!

Kris

Jennifer Bacak said...

God just hasn't stopped revealing Himself to me as I run, and especially when Rusty and I ran our marathon. (half-actually.)
Love the poem, and your post.
jenn

Brandy said...

Found your blog, blog hoppin : ) I love your post. I too feel this way many times. I am currently struggling to have more spiritual peace with my self and my family. Feel free to check out my blogs here....
luvsandlife.blogspot.com/
http://bonnielouvintage.blogspot.com/

Heidi said...

I don't know how laziness and perfection go together, but I've got the same to traits, it seems. Just wanted to let you know that *I relate.* I want everything to be perfect, but I'm constantly coming up short. I've tried and tried and tried...

How does one create self-discipline where it doesn't exist? It sure seems to me like one needs self-discipline to create it.

lisasmith said...

This is such a good post! I just recently started running again, after not running since I had babies 2,3 and 4...I was so amazed that I could do it. I am also so amazed that I crave it. I love the similarities between running and the Christian life. I also read something by John Wesley that said running was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit...Now, that 's cool. Happy running!

Oh, check out my new look. Thanks for the inspiration.

texasmcvays said...

I had no idea...I guess todays verse fit right in with what the Lords been doing in your life!
K

PS
I have failed the word verification 3X now!

Jon & Sally said...

LOVE the poem. Thanks for sharing it!
It's SO easy to lose sight in the daily grind!
I needed the reminder!
Sally