The Empty Running Log (#jammed daily devo, day 266)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 266: Slowed to a stop.

“I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” Galatians 2:2 day 266

The empty pages smelled like a slice of heaven. I couldn’t wait to fill the pages full of miles and routes, splits and workouts. But it wouldn’t be that way this time. This time, the old injuries would resurface and linger.

Today’s verse speaks of running, a hobby fond to my heart and something that is a very big part of who I am. It was only in learning to let it go that I realized I could survive without it. I’m learning, as I walk with Christ, that I can survive without anything …but Him. In Greek (the language the New Testament is written in), “to run” is the work “trecho.”

trecho- by a metaphor taken from runners in a race, means to exert one’s self, strive hard; the word occurs in Greek writings denoting to incur extreme peril, which it requires the exertion of all one’s effort to overcome. (Strong’s)

Running taught me how to exhaust myself beyond what I thought was possible to recover from. The wisdom I gained from pushing my limits helped me to learn that I do, in fact, have limits. My injuries are prone to my legs, and sometimes, I can’t outrun them. Sometimes, there’s no telling when they will heal, or when relief will come. Sometimes they seem to be ready for the pounding again, but underneath the surface, the scars often linger too large to hold up under the weight of my fleeting feet.

trechō means “to run” in both a physical sense and a figurative sense. trechō is used several times to picture of the Christian life in the sense of running toward a goal (1 Cor. 9:26c; Gal 2:2; 5:7; Phil 2:16; Heb 12:1). Passivity is not a virtue in the Christian life. -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

Passivity is taking all of the wisdom God’s given us throughout our trials, and suppressing it. Barreling on with one solution after the next …none of them working. While Jesus waves His hand in front of our faces to stop, passivity is thinking that we can fix everything without Him.

Walking with Christ is hard. We get knocked down, stripped of things that we identify with and once identified us. People leave our lives. Death is an everyday reality. And if we can’t find God in those situations, we have fallen victim to a passive attitude about who God is and what He promises.

He is good. And He knows what’s good for us. His plan for us is good. The way we identify ourselves is not always the same way He sees us. Being open to His version of who were made to be and what we are here to accomplish starts by believing in Jesus. Walking with Him doesn’t always make sense to us, but we can trust that we are being made holy, one stride at at time, until we break the tape in heaven.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for our losses and our trials. Thank You for the things You strip from us that we think we need more than You. Forgive our flipped perspective of control, and bless us to lift it entirely up to You. 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 Running …or not,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

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The Wellies (#jammed daily devo, day 286)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 286: Keeping our feet dry.

Complete your work outside, and get your fields ready for next season;
after that’s done, build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Sheets of chilly Autumn rain streamed down unto the saturated course, and my wellies 22212725661_5429246674_zsquished with every stride. Rain rolling off their noses and mud sucking the shoes off of their feet, they slid and trekked through the mud. It was my favorite kind of race-day. The kind of day when talent is shelved for guts, and mud makes champions.

We can all run atop a dry and even course, but it’s in the depths of the hills and the chill of uncooperating weather, that our true grit is revealed.

None of my cross country runners knew that they were preparing for this race all season long, but I did. I knew something they didn’t. I’d been up and down these muddy slopes before, and I remember the triumphant feeling of shelving the mile-splits and running after the competition through that mud. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re preparing for until we’re knee-deep in a mud  …trying to keep our shoes from being sucked off.

Today’s verse is about trusting what God says about preparation. He knows what’s coming. He’s numbered our days. His plan for us is good, and His will for our lives is perfect …even though it sometimes looks like a big shoe-sucking mud puddle.

Get your fields ready:  Plan carefully and acquire the means as you build your house.- NIV Study Bible Notes

Distance runners plan carefully. We know we have to run far, but we can’t get there all at  once. Miles must be accumulated a little bit at a time, week after week, as we prepare our legs and strengthen our bodies and our lungs to handle the heavy load. We must plan carefully in life, too. Making drastic increases in any area of our lives cause red flags to fly.

Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Proverbs 24:3

Wisdom doesn’t come easy for a distance runner. At first, we’re not sure we’ll survive that first three mile run. Our lungs burn and our legs have no idea what’s happening. That first race, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the finish. It seems impossible, and we feel a little defeated. But in time, as we run a little farther, and survive to see another finish line …what we know starts to trump how we feel.

We have to let what we know trump how we feel.

house. Symbolic of the life of an individual or a family.- NIV Study Bible Notes

We become what we prepare to build. And the truth we stand on must be rock solid, because everything that flows from the heart that we guard will provide the foundation on which we build our house.

Jesus died so that we can have an impenetrable foundation and an immovable confidence to build our house on. Him. The Cross. The grace He gave us when He gave up  His last breath is the very foundation our lives are built on. Anything else is just shoe-sucking mud.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for runners! For distance runners! Thank You for giving me the opportunity to run and to coach, so that the lessons I learned would affirm the wisdom You planted. Forgive me …and forgive us all …for thinking that the athletic and academic feats we accomplish come from our own strength. Bless us to build our homes on rock sold truth …on Your Truth. 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 Mud running,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

 

 

The Empty Running Log (#jammed daily devo, day 266)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 266: Slowed to a stop.

“I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” Galatians 2:2 day 266

The empty pages smelled like a slice of heaven. I couldn’t wait to fill the pages full of miles and routes, splits and workouts. But it wouldn’t be that way this time. This time, the old injuries would resurface and linger.

Today’s verse speaks of running, a hobby fond to my heart and something that is a very big part of who I am. It was only in learning to let it go that I realized I could survive without it. I’m learning, as I walk with Christ, that I can survive without anything …but Him. In Greek (the language the New Testament is written in), “to run” is the work “trecho.”

trecho- by a metaphor taken from runners in a race, means to exert one’s self, strive hard; the word occurs in Greek writings denoting to incur extreme peril, which it requires the exertion of all one’s effort to overcome. (Strong’s)

Running taught me how to exhaust myself beyond what I thought was possible to recover from. The wisdom I gained from pushing my limits helped me to learn that I do, in fact, have limits. My injuries are prone to my legs, and sometimes, I can’t outrun them. Sometimes, there’s no telling when they will heal, or when relief will come. Sometimes they seem to be ready for the pounding again, but underneath the surface, the scars often linger too large to hold up under the weight of my fleeting feet.

trechō means “to run” in both a physical sense and a figurative sense. trechō is used several times to picture of the Christian life in the sense of running toward a goal (1 Cor. 9:26c; Gal 2:2; 5:7; Phil 2:16; Heb 12:1). Passivity is not a virtue in the Christian life. -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

Passivity is taking all of the wisdom God’s given us throughout our trials, and suppressing it. Barreling on with one solution after the next …none of them working. While Jesus waves His hand in front of our faces to stop, passivity is thinking that we can fix everything without Him.

Walking with Christ is hard. We get knocked down, stripped of things that we identify with and once identified us. People leave our lives. Death is an everyday reality. And if we can’t find God in those situations, we have fallen victim to a passive attitude about who God is and what He promises.

He is good. And He knows what’s good for us. His plan for us is good. The way we identify ourselves is not always the same way He sees us. Being open to His version of who were made to be and what we are here to accomplish starts by believing in Jesus. Walking with Him doesn’t always make sense to us, but we can trust that we are being made holy, one stride at at time, until we break the tape in heaven.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for our losses and our trials. Thank You for the things You strip from us that we think we need more than You. Forgive our flipped perspective of control, and bless us to lift it entirely up to You. 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 Running …or not,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

The “Yes” Shoes

imageHe will straighten our stride, in His time, when we lace up our “yes” shoes.

It seems my daughter thinks her shoes will magically jump onto her feet if she stares at them long enough. When they don’t, her shoes fly over the foyer in frustration. And, oh …the agony …when a pair no longer fit.

“Lo, stand up so I can zip them up,” I stammered in frustration.

“I AM,” she yelled and convulsed, convinced my help was overkill.

“Push your foot down harder,” I ordered. Her boots were swimmingly large mere “mommy” moments ago, but now needed to be pushed on.

“OK, let’s do the other one…”

Expanding feet shift goals. They also outgrow shoes.  image

Growth is predictably unpredictable, and keeping goals in stride with a shifting destination is hard. Has your finish line ever moved as you were about to break the ribbon? Here’s what I learned from my missed marathon and mommy moments.

Shoes too small.

A complete year off running didn’t yield a healed Achilles heal. There are moments I’d go back in time and risk a complete tear to line up at the start of my first full marathon.

God swapped my shoes regardless of my readiness to understand why.

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated with soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:13 (NIV)

I ran through snow, wind and ice …in shoes a complete size too small. A simple fix the runners at the running shoe store would have told me had I went there to be fitted for the right shoes before logging hundreds of miles.

Sometimes, we pray into God-sized goals. He wants us to dream big, and will bless our ambition to pursue, for His glory, the passions He’s laid in us.

imageProperly prepared with the right pair of shoes, the impact is absorbed efficiently and the weight is distributed properly. Experienced runners know injury arises from a misaligned stride, often corrected by a shoe fit to guide feet as they strike the ground.

God does this for us. Through Christ, we capture the key to a corrected stride. God’s love is giant. He found a way to fit us for freedom. Jesus absorbs the impact and distributes the weight. To maximize each stride, we must stick by His side.

In addition to personal conversation in prayer with God, He seeks to speak specifically through His Word. Dig beyond devotionals, follow side-trails, and chase after characters. The pull to know why and the curiosity to question fit our feet for training.

image

Hebrews 8:13 (above) speaks to us about outdated goals. About Old Testament customs and traditions no longer necessary because of the gap Jesus filled.

We naturally replace what is obsolete. Anyone that lived through the 80’s can define “outdated.” Remnants of style may return redefined, but are fit for the “now.”

365 days ago, I took my running shoes off. I’ve been striding and striving everywhere but the road, tired and frustrated. God grew my feet before my shoes were fit to comprehend the change. The healing I prayed for came laced in lesson. I thought the goal was the marathon. He knew it was time to sit down …and write.

Every time I load the trunk up with bags of shoes that are too small for my kids, I feel ill-equipped to replace them all. I’m not even sure what size to buy, what they will need, or if they will like them. Clearly, I need help with my own shoe size…

imageWe may have to adjust, grow, and shift …learn new patterns, drift in new waters, pursue new passions, open different doors, and stand on new stages. But Jesus picked us to fit where we fly.image

My identity in my daughter’s eyes is still “runner,” and she misses it just as much as I do. Her note is the nudge I’ve been waiting for. Could it be possible, that time spent obeying the development of one passion could be rewarded with the return of another? On this day, number 366 since the last time I laced up my running shoes, I believe His answer is “yes.” Fit in His shoes, the weight of many passions is bearable and possible. Today, I began to run again.

image

God pauses passions to add in complimenting attributes to the fabric of our stories. Chapters and pages we might have edited out, or never written, yet essential to who we are in Him.

Whether you’re training for a marathon, building houses, crunching numbers, or digging through a mountain of laundry …ask Jesus to adjust the fit. Children discover their passions by watching us let Him fit us to ours.

Jesus ushered in a new era. Life isn’t a Browns draft failing to produce a quarterback yearimage after year. (As a hometown Clevelander and life-long Browns fan, I’m allowed to say that.) Sit down, and let Him fit your feet.

Happy Strides,

Megs

And now …

As I read this reminiscent post today, I am rolling the balls of my feet on golf ball to treat a case of plantar fasciitis that has all but crippled me to a chair for a while. I did return to running, and completed my first half-marathon last fall. I ran the entire 13.1 miles with a smile on my face and praise music in my ears. I don’t NEED running to feel complete anymore. Now, it’s a gift I get to enjoy when I can … The injuries will continue to come, but working through them reminds me of my pursuit of Christ. It’s not always easy, but worth every stride. I did obediently sit down to write after I had no choice and nothing else left to do but to. Thus is God’s patience with me. My first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is out in the world, and the second is on the way …The greatest joy of this journey are the moments of connectivity with my Father as I write. The heart strings pulled gently into tune by my Savior. It’s a thrill I’ll shelve my running shoes for, anytime He calls me to (and I love that He allows injury to see to it I’ll actually do it!) 

The Achilles Heal

IMG_2187

This morning, I made breakfast and lunches to the sound of a unicorn galloping throughout the house.  I can’t make this stuff up.  With sound effects, she made laps around the first floor for a good hour… in full character.  She stopped only to hug Daddy goodbye as he left for work, and to eat “unicorn’s” favorite breakfast…a Pop Tart.  This is why she is the most difficult child to discipline.

I appreciated her funny little antics, and let her buckle up and walk up to pre-school as “Lo the Unicorn.”  I didn’t want her to be distracting to her class…but man…I had to seize the opportunity to spread the laughter on this cold, foggy, spring morning in Northern Ohio.

In the midst of dealing with dashed marathon hopes due to injury, and going through withdrawel on my fourth day off of running, little Lo rescued my day before it even began.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

IMG_2185

because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

-Jolee Paden, “Spiritual Runner.”

That’s a truth packed statement, and a photo full of a swollen achilles.  Goodbye, piece.  It sure looks likes, it, right?  I sure looks like the end of my marathon goal…12 days before the race.  It looks like failure, heartbreak, lack of discipline, and lost hope.

I had made it through the training…celebrated my 20 mile long run, and was looking forward to taper…but I failed to rest, and launched a minor injury into a possible major.  Out for an 8-miler a few days ago, I could sense it was over. Amidst the pain, anguish, and heartbreak lumping up in my throat, echoing in my ears was the Elevation Church sermon “It’s Yours for the Taking” I had chosen for my long run.  As the inevitible began to confront me, I heard something about holding on your life verse.  Mine is 1Thes5:16, “Be joyful always,” but I didn’t feel very joyful.  In fact, I remember exactly what I was thinking…”That’s too hard right now.”

A few moments later I made it down to the end of my old street to enjoy what I knew could be my last run to the sunrise.  Comforted by the sound of His word and the sight of his presence, I took a deep breath…and ran the half mile back home.  IMG_2017Tears streamed down my cheeks and sobs overcame me as I walked up my sidewalk and into my house.  It was over.  I could feel it.  I believe no one but other runners knows how that feels, so I was thankful to find comfort in these words Jolee Paden’s devotional.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”  1Thes. 5:16-18   It was super easy for me to be joyful and thankful when I finished my 20 mile run.  For the first time, I felt confident I could race the marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 20 miles at 8:29 average pace.  But God knew it.  And I felt Him every stride out there that day, running along the lakeshore at sunrise.  Felt His presence every step…even smiled up the hills.

It’s not so easy to be joyful right now.  But I will be… and I will keep praying.  I will be thankful in all circumstances.  Turn my focus towards my funny Lo who always makes me laugh, and my sweet Brianne who has such a compassionate little soul.

IMG_2180When I told my her that I might not make it to my big race, she replied immediately.

“You just can’t focus on that.  Instead, focus on how far you’ve come.”

Remarkable words coming from a 7 year old.

“Thank you so much, Brianne!  You’re right.  Where did you hear that?” I asked.

“From my sweet Momma,” she replied.

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”

IMG_2025

God has healed me before, and I have complete faith He will again.  Exodus 14:14 assures me, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I can’t control God’s timing, but I will not lose hope.  After all, miracles do happen.  Little ones, and big…fat…ginormous..huge ones that change your life forever.  Keep facing the sunshine, and lift your head high.

“For those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:31

Happy Strides,

Megs