Be Still and Run – Part 1

PART 1 of 2 – click for part 2

This post originally published on 4/3/13 on dandibell.com

I am a mother of three young boys (ages 3, 6, 7). Needless to say my house is loud and chaotic and full of sound effects and many unsettling noises. I never quite know whether they are sounds of play, of mischief or sounds of disaster. I love being a mom, here is no doubt, on any day, that I am so thankful for my boys whom I prayed for and longed for years and years. God blessed us with three wonderful and precious boys through the beautiful yet challenging calling of fostering & adoption. I say that to let you know that I do not wish away one minute of these years. But if you know me, you know I am a quiet person (although some of my close friends would beg to differ). I like quiet places and I like order and peace and predictability. When life becomes too busy and chaotic and distracted and noisy, I become thin and frazzled and shallow and impatient.

384100_10150424833592404_1324405312_nAnd life happens…

laundry, dishes, bills, dinner, dishes again, shuttling kids from here to there (and back again), my graphic design job, character building and correcting with my kids, keeping up with my bible study. Oh and I do have a husband to take care of, and I can’t leave out all the times i HAVE to check facebook, my email, or have watch that favorite show of mine, or two.
It seems, if I’m not intentional, my default is that I get up in the morning and I set my head to the ground and go, go, go till my head hits the pillow again. Then repeat.

Business. Noise. Aimlessness = me tired, uninspired, lethargic and shutting down – barely hanging on, living a half-life, knowing deep down that there must be more than this. I don’t have time to stop, to deal with personal stuff, to take care of myself, to make a meal for myself, it’s not about me anyways, right? I’ve got others to take care of first.

I wanted to share what God has been teaching me over the past few years.

I am not a disciplined person by nature.

I tend to be lazy & distracted with my mind and I can talk myself into and out of just about anything if given enough time to think it through. I admit this gets me into trouble more times than not.  Several years ago now, I have slowly developed the discipline of running. I like how running makes me feel and how it makes me feel physically AFTER I run – it’s a sense of well-being and personal accomplishment and I can eat more!  But I realize that I run because I have concluded it is what is best for my health and quality of life (a greater goal), so I do it. After all how much is it worth to be able to play soccer in the back yard with my kids (without becoming winded & tired) or go to a play area with blowups and race your kid through the obstacle course or run with them down the street talking about our days together – this is quality of life to me (worth the hard work – worth fighting for).

I run every day.

Let me share with you why on earth I do this and how this all started. A few years ago, both my husband and I had started running a few times a week to attempt to be more healthy & fight off the aging process & slowing metabolism. Inspired by a friend who ran 2 miles every day for a year, Wayne, my husband, decided 2011 would be his year. He ran and ran and ran every day all year until December came around and he developed a shoulder injury that required surgery. We had to get the procedure done by the end of the year. That means he could not finish his year of running. I felt disappointed for him that he had worked all year on this goal and was unable to reach it (he got to 358 of 365).

I remember sitting in church on Sunday the week of his surgery (scheduled for Christmas eve) and I felt this impression as I sat there that God had suggested to my heart that since we are married and my husband and I are ONE,  that I should finish his year for him as a gift. I felt the suggestion was a strong one and it felt heavy on my heart for a day or two but I did not mention it to wayne and here is why… FEAR of failure… it would have required me to run every day for a week and I thought that sounded impossible. What if i didn’t feel like running every day, Christmas was coming up, we were going out of town – after all I had never done this before how did I know I could or would do it. I have also had a pile of unfulfilled goals, made with great intentions, mounted up in my past and felt pretty inept to do such a thing. I did not want to let him down.

overcoming my fear of failure

So, I eventually gathered up courage to announce to him I felt I should do this FOR him, in his place. And while he was down from surgery, I ran the remaining days of the year for him. I did it one day at a time for a week – this was a HUGJayden's (Kindergarten) Illustration: Jayden and Jesus together - E victory for me to be able to follow through. I ran that week, 2 miles every day, and then something curious happened, I kept running and running and did not stop running and ran the entire year of 2012 – every day, at least 2 miles a day (typically 20 minutes of my day 24 hour day) for 366 days.

how did i do it?

I still ask myself that. Looking back I am amazed it even happened. Something unexpected happened that year, this daily discipline became a daily battle of my will (my commitment) verse my feelings coming head to head. I just made a choice EACH day to do it even though I hardly EVER felt like doing it, even though some days I was so busy or sick or tired or fill in the blank with an excuse. But I did it because I knew it was what was best for me (to be healthy, to fight for a quality of life), I had a greater goal, a greater commitment in mind.

one day at a time

I learned one day at a time what it meant to be disciplined, to follow through – something with which I have always struggled. I also learned that I don’t have to have that conversation with myself about why I can’t do it, it just did it. This commitment of the will shut down that self-defeating self talk. This discipline of learning, by God’s guidance and strength, to control my mind and body is changing my life.  Because it was not about the running, God had a greater goal in mind that even that. (read part 2)

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wild places in me

there are wild places in me.

wild. rebellious. destructive.

a desperate wandering.

maybe it’s cause i’m bad, maybe it’s cause i was hurt.

maybe it’s cause i was used. maybe it’s cause i chose bad things, or maybe i was taught bad things.

But i’m finding, If i allow Him, there is One who dares venture into my wild, untamed places of my heart.

He moves slowly, with perfect intention, perfect timing, perfect patience. perfect compassion.

Perfect Love.

He cares about parts of me i don’t even care about.

He wants to tame me. conquer me.

He wants all of me. When i allow Him, He holds me close. steadfast. safe.

It’s raw. it’s messy.

He rescues me. from one by one wild, untamed, destructive desire and fulfills those desperate places deep inside.

He heals. He redeems. He loves. He is Love.

No wonder i can’t stop sharing about Him.

Oh how i Love Jesus.

He fights for each one of us each and every day.

all He asks of me and you is to show up and allow Him in.

Remain in His Love

On my mind today:

“surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…
He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us PEACE was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed”
Isaiah 53:4-5


 

oh how I love Him for it.

I’m reminded how above all else i should make it my goal to REMAIN IN and LIVE IN that peace that cost so much.

that i should throw off and resist everything in my life that would disrupt or threaten that Peace and intimacy with God.

my one daily goal

My one daily goal – my life goal: Be still & know / acknowledge He is God- Psalm 46:10.

“Christ alone can reveal Himself to us.
We toil and exercise our mind in reason & in science,
forgetting that therein we only see a copy,
we neglect to gaze on the incomparable original.

In the depths of our soul God reveals Himself, if we but realized it, yet we will not look there for Him.
It’s not enough to know Him in theory from what we read in books or feel some fleeting affection for Him…
Our faith must be alive and by its power lift ourselves beyond all these passing emotions to worship the Father & Jesus Christ in their divine perfection”

-Brother Lawrence (lived in the 1600s)

We only live once…

Bruce2

“We only live once and we never know when life is just going to end.

If it is in God’s will, I could die tomorrow or even now as i am typing this, and that scares me because I’m afraid that people will never know how much they mean to me and how much i love them…

so i guess i feel like i should tell everyone because we only live once and life could be over in a heartbeat…

So tomorrow or sometime this week just go up to someone and tell them how much they mean to you because life is a precious thing and it’s something that should not be waisted.”

– Bruce Gilley blog (2004 – 14 yrs old)
“He died for me, I’ll live for HIM” – Bruce Gilley
READ MORE about this exceptional young man who lived to age 14 and is now with JESUS but still has a tremendous impact on the world!

RUN THE RACE: runforhim.org

LEARN ABOUT HIS MISSION: brucegilley.com

 

the Gift Giver

If we are not intentional, if we are not awake, life will pass us by.

days will pass by, morning by morning will pass us by…

opportunities, goals, dreams, our kids, our marriages, our health, our God given destiny will pass us by.

They are all gifts that we must receive.

stop, listen, acknowledge the Source of all things.

The Gift Giver.

be still and KNOW HE IS GOD.

we are designed and destined to accomplish great things…

not in the eyes of the world but in the eyes of God and those He has called us to love and encourage all around us.

let go of what’s possible

“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible, what a pity we only attempt the things we can do on our own.” – AW Tozer

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” – Mark 9:23

And it’s not us who does the impossible it’s Jesus in us who believe.

Let go of the limits you or others have placed on your life, and hold on to unhindered faith in Jesus with the impossible in mind as possible.

what can you accomplish today, what can HE accomplish through you with faith and without limits!?

spur one another on

Resolve to fight for your health and live life to the full.

Let’s encourage and spur one another on.

It really doesn’t matter how you look doing it (your goals). All that matters is that you do it.

Choose to Live intentionally and stop self talking yourself into defeat or perceived inevitable failure.

The truth is your Creator created you with amazing potential already built in.

Seeds that can be cultivated with intention, discipline, and most importantly trust and faith in Him (after all He made you and to this day sustains you)

You are capable of so much, get out of your own way, stop criticizing yourself into defeat!

Celebrate YOUR little and great victories, yes people are watching, but more often than not they are encouraged and inspired!

I know I am!!

i’m all out and i’m all in

I am in a place in my life where i want to be “all in” in my walk with Jesus and at the same time “all out” with my weaknesses, hurts & struggles. I’m tired & weary of wearing masks & acting like i’m someone i’m not or acting how I perceive people want me to be. God is giving me a new confidence in who I am in Him because I have made it my daily priority to know truly who He is. The more time i spend seeing Him & respecting Him as God, as Creator of the universe, as sustainer & redeemer of life, of my life, the less i care about what others think of me. So once again i felt i should be vulnerable and share the miracle God has orchestrated in my life to encourage others who are hurting.

In order for me to share the depths of His love and grace in my life – i must share a pivotal part of my “living letter.” There is one stretch of time in my childhood from roughly ages 9-14 that i was deceived, abused & used by a neighbor “friend.” From that experience came overwhelming reactions, great self-distortions and shame. These events profoundly effected the foundation of my self-perception as i grew into a young adult. Even though i had a loving and supportive family and very blessed life otherwise, this hurt was always with me, always under the surface, time after time it hurled me into a myriad of self-distortions and a multitude willful self-destructive sins. I reacted to it for years. the hurt. the shame. the confusion. the betrayal. I have been in the clutches of sexual abuse, self-destructive addictions, mental control, of great pain & hurt. I have been in the pit of deep shame & self-hatred and in turn acting out against myself in various ways to numb the pain. This was my truth, my reality, this was who i was.

Then, Jesus came to me. He came to me and loved me, He saw me, He heard my cries, He understood me and ventured with me in my deepest hurts. He lifted up my face in His hands. He lifted me up out of my pit of dirt and shame and sin and hopelessness and He gave me a new heart, a whole heart. He gave me a new life, a new purity, a new beginning. a new love, a pure love. I was no longer used & abused, i was no longer a victim to man or myself. As i accepted His gifts of grace and love, the shame & condemnation fell off me like a dirty mud soaked coat. He covered me in garments of New Life. White & Pure. How can this be? How scandalous is it for a holy God to associate with me? This is why i love Him so much and i will boast in my weaknesses to show is faithfulness and strength and power and redemption – He is my Redeemer. My Knight in shining armor… he saves me each day, again, He rescues me. Oh how i love Him. He is love. Pure love. Agape love. I pray that each one of you reading this would receive as a gift His love into the deep places with only He can go, where only He can heal, and not just heal but create strength and joy from devastation so we in turn can go out and help others.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your sins, who heals your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love & mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” -psalm 103

Life’s simple and singular goal

Do I believe know all the answers? No.

Do I have a seminary or masters degree to argue skillfully over all the debated issues? No.

Do I understand why there is so much hate and brokenness and misunderstanding in the world? No, it saddens me.

All I really know deep down is:
I was blind and now I can see.
I was in a pit of shame and habitual failure and now I’m on level ground, fully loved and accepted.
I was lost and restless and now I have a place to rest my soul.
I was in darkness, so much darkness in this world, and now I have light for my path.
ALL because of Jesus.
I am His. I am His child, His daughter, His beloved. I am His and He is mine.
I will always follow Him around because where on earth else would I go?
Although I don’t do it perfectly, Life is for me a simple and singular goal:

love the Lord Jesus with all my heart and in turn love everyone else in His love and point them towards the Truth of God’s Word and His Designed boundaries to thrive and live fully, and tell them about His scandalous grace and how much He loves and adores them too.

The cross is a gift. Gifts have to be received.

whoever you are… whatever you’ve done… where ever you find yourself…  Jesus loves you today… just as you are.

and today is the Day of salvation… today is all we have.

 

i was blind, now i see:

John 9: 24 – 41

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

feelings VS will

At nearly the age of 38, i am finally learning in a real & practical way that the path to God-given dreams and goals and callings is a series of many committed right choices made one day at a time…

one choice at a time, one battle at a time

my feelings VS my will

i’ve always known this in my head but actually doing it is another level of learning altogether.

i have found that each day meeting with God first is the first right choice.

And i’m so thankful that God is so gracious that he takes my wrong choices and like a beautiful and patient Knight in shining armor…

He rescues me from them, one by one, and uses them to make me stronger along way.