The Ankle Clicks (#jammed daily devo, day 132)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 132: Reminded.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12

The pink morning sky made my feet light as I hurried to the end of the pier. Warm image-132morning air, boats leaving the river, and the first orange glint of the sun …made me want to run.

Click …click …click …

Recalling the sound of the spin of my ankle around it’s joint the day before, I remembered why that wasn’t a possibility. Some days it’s hard to be grateful for slower steps.

“Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed.” Proverbs 23:12 (VOICE)

We have to come to terms with the fact that we aren’t in charge of defining who we are, and why and when life happens.

Today’s verse layers adversity in hope. “Instruction” and “discipline” aren’t fun experiences. Some are more painful that physical pain, others are make life almost unbearable. When stripped of everything we think we need, we realize how much we can depend  on Him. Jesus holds our hand when we run, and He holds it when we walk and wait and hope and seek. The grip is just as tight. Jesus’ handshake is firm and confident.

“ears to words of knowledge …”

“attentive to be well-informed…”

It’s hard to accomplish either of those things when rushing by life too fast. It’s not always easy to understand why life’s pace is slowed for some and sped up for others. The dangers in looking around in comparison come so naturally to all of us. Entitlement has little in common with God’s good and just system of judgement. The way He loves us is perfect.

In this season of walking, we learn to love who we are with or without all the things we love to do. He is still who He says He is even when we can’t do what we want to do.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for walking and running. Thank You for the different paces of life and seasons of growth. Some hurt more than others. Please forgive us for focusing on the negative attributes of hard experiences. Bless our hearts to embrace the unexpected changes in our life that You will for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Walking,

Megs

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The Smiley Faces

the-smiley-faces-pic-1“MOMMMMMM-A!!!”cried my wallowing six-year old, accompanied by her trademark stomp of dissatisfaction. “It’s doing MINUSES now …that’s too HARD….”

For days, exasperated sighs and incorrect buzzers had drifted from the kitchen counter at breakfast. But every once in a while, I would hear a jubilant yell:

“A smiley-face! I got a smiley face! I beat the teacher! Ha ha ha ha !”

It’s my hope that, somewhere in her small victory celebrations and the obsequious high-fives, the fact that she’s learning math trumps beating the “teacher” on the other side of our tablet.

The capricious people-pleaser innate to humanity seeks “the smiley-faces” from life’s the-smiey-faces-tweet-1audience. And when their approval alludes us, it can leave us feeling unworthy, unqualified, unloved, and all sorts of other “un” words. We can relieve our hearts of the burden to please others, when we start to see Him first.

1. Start

“I do not run like a man running aimlessly…”1 Cor 9:26

Paul is talking about the discipline he enforced upon his own life to serve Christ. (NIV Notes) When my life get’s hard, I tend to snap. When the side of my brain that signals I’ve earned the right to lose a little control trumps the logical side, I am libel to tell my kids to pick up there “s-word.” Or, ask them what in the “hocky-sticks” they are thinking. I might stomp up the stairs, roll my eyes at my husband, or cause my kids to flinch in fear. Anyone relate?

When the endurance of preparedness kicks in, the logical side of our brains replaces the-smiley-faces-pic-2lunacy with a pause. A moment, to just sit in the pocket of reaction and allow the memory to search out truth. If we read the truth of God’s Word day after day, it will remain alive and active to guide us on the fly.

Paul knew the cost and sacrifice of such discipline, but knew also it wasn’t aimless.

2. Stamina

“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.” 1 Cor. 9:24

“All the runners run” challenges me to lay down my efforts to succeed in exchange for consistency and discernment.

In a long-distance track event, I like to watch the runners who get boxed in after the lanes merge. Despite all of the preparation and experience the sport can offer, some of the best runners in the world still end up there. Against all odds, sometimes a runner jolts out of the pressure pocket like lightning …and sails back into the race. I love to root for those runners.

the-smiley-facesHave you found yourself boxed into places you’ve never wanted to be …places you prepared never to be? Let me encourage you from a place of commraderie. Human weakness will never go away, but neither will Jesus. Sometimes the only way to get the prize is to take a leap of faith. To reach out for His hand through the spikes clipping by, and let Him pull us back into the race when we’re ready to jolt.

3. Seek

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last forever.” 1 Cor. 9:25

Phil 3:14 explains that the winner of the race, in the time period Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, won money and a wreath of leaves. (NIV notes on Phil 3:14) We train awfully hard to earn promotions, win medals, buy houses, and take vacations. The incomparably majestic crowns in Heaven are going to make a free trip to Disney World equatable to a free Oreo cookie. Just one cookie. Without the milk.

the-smiley-faces-pic-3

When I get to heaven, I want God to be proud of me… like a whole reward chart overflowing with smiley-faced stickers. He’ll always love me, but I want to have endured obedience in the pursuit of holiness. I want to break free from the pack and run down that straightaway praising His name as the tape breaks across my chest. I want to win. For Him. God doesn’t paint a whole picture of what that looks like for everyone. It’s as individual as each one of us. And His is the only approval we’re intended to rely on.

Happy Seeking,

Megs

 

 

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…the other side.

Ahhh, the beginning of Track season.  32 degrees, but the sun was out and the wind was dead.  “Shorts and T-Shirt” weather, as one of our brightest observed.  My view of the track has always been linked closely with pain…and joy…and hurt…and triumph…and nausea…and pride…and…well, you get the picture.

From the other side of the track as a volunteer coach,  I recalled my initiation into track at fifteen. A green pea, I thought over a decade of ballet wold lend me the coordination and speed it took to be a hurdler.  Yet, I took notice of how much fun the distance runners had out on their runs… and I fell over a lot of hurdles.  

I laughed as some of our Cross Country runners deserted the distance crew to be sprinters, and wondered what painful episode caused the sudden change in heart.

Quickly pulled back to reality by my run-away child, I caught the glance of every non-parent in the weight room as she stumbled hazardly through bars and leg press machines.

Practice rolled on, and I fed my 8 month old a bottle while attempting to coax my stubborn ‘almost-3” year old down from the bleachers, I collected goals and last week’s mileage from the distance runners.   Learn new names, calculate workout paces, establish new goals…and chase after my 3 year old who believes with all her little heart that she can keep up with the ‘runners’ as they exit the track to log some miles.

The thrill of the “chase” made me question my motives,  Why coach?  Why drag my 2 kids up to the track?

Truth?  Track is a piece of me.  My little peepsters misbehave and make the experience a wonderful combination of gut wrenching and embarrassment on some days, but being at the track never was a completely comforting experience.

I had drifted towards distance runners, just like I had at fifteen.

I always wonder how people know what their passion is.  (Little kids on American Idol that say they’ve known since they were 2 they wanted to sing.)  Perhaps it’s just what you gravitate to….what you love so much that any pain that goes along with it is overshadowed by the triumphs.

Maybe my daughters will learn to love distance running and it’s masochistic ways, too.  If not in running than in something that they question why they love, until they are out there in it. I’m trying to instill an experience in them that will help shape their determination, by simply showing them who I am.  I might not have it all figured out yet, but maybe that’s a good thing to accept early on in parenting.

Practice isn’t perfect, but it can make it.

Happy Track Season,

Megs

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