Am I a Patient Person?

Adam looked at me over his phone as we sat in our his-and-hers-chairs in the cubbie-hole office room of our house, “Am I a patient person?” he asked.

I put down what I was doing and looked back at him. “Yes.” I answered.

Then, like we were playing catch I threw the question back at him… “Am I?”

We instantly cracked up together, knowing I am not!

Feeling the need to defend myself I said, “I can be patient when someone says, Julie BE PATIENT! It’s just that otherwise I think my job is to keep kicking the ball down the road towards the goal line no matter what obstacles are in the way!”

I may not naturally be a patient person, but I’m thankful God is. Even before all this COVID virus stuff, the Lord taught our family a lesson in His patience – how He waits for us to see and understand things from His perspective.

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Do What You Can and Don’t Do What You Can’t

The other day Adam and I were getting ready to go workout and Adam said, “I’m just gonna do what I can and not do what I can’t.”

We both laughed at that very simple yet true statement. Adam has a bulging disk in his lower back that he is trying not to aggravate yet at the same time stay active. He knows the exercises that enflame the area, so as best he can, he doesn’t do those. I admire how Adam quickly summed up the situation, then at workout did what he could to the best of his ability.

I on the other hand, struggle with the should-haves and the should-bes:

I should be able to do that even though I have a bulging disk in my back.

I should be able to run a 15K as fast as her!

I should have said more to encourage that girl I talked to at Brookshires.

I should have known this would happen and done something different!

My mind rolls the scenes over and over in my head like a football coach looking at film. I strategize what I should do next time I see that play called.

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Who Knew Slowing Down to Speed Up was a Thing?

So I have signed up to run a 15K race in about three weeks. I have never run that far before. My running career up to this point has been 3-5 miles.

There was something about this race that challenged me. Actually it doesn’t take much to challenge me. One day a friend of mine said Hey, you should run the Fresh 15 with me. That’s all it took. Challenge accepted!

Being more of a short distance runner I had no idea how to train for long mileage except to just run longer. So I tried that. Just running longer. At the same speed. And guess what happened….I couldn’t do it. I thought there is no way I can run 9 miles. I’m gonna die!

I did a little 15k training research online. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had been pushing myself too hard. (My husband laughed when I told him this!) The only training methodology I had was go as far as you can as fast as you can. And for short distances, maybe that’s OK. But for running over 9 miles…I was right…I couldn’t do it.

As I researched further I learned the trick. The trick is to slow down. To not run every day at 90-100%. Run at 60-70% and train your body in that middle endurance heart rate zone. It’s totally counter-intuitive to me but I see it working! Who knew the key to speeding up was slowing down?

Well life feels about like that right now. For 20 years Adam and I have operated on go as fast as you can as far as you can each day. That’s what’s been required. But now, especially after our Independence Day, it’s like God has slowed down the intensity level and is developing something different. Developing the middle ground endurance zone.

And just like how running at half speed is hard for me, doing life at what I consider half speed is hard for me. It feels like I’m not doing enough. I’m used to pushing myself to failure, as Caleb calls it. He’s a heavy weight lifter, and failure is that rep that you can’t get up. He says it’s not healthy to hit that point at every workout.

I hate to admit it, but that’s what I naturally do. I push myself – both in running and in life – to failure, or the breaking point, regularly. Somehow I’ve trained myself to go and go until I hit that point and that’s how I know I’ve given 100%, because there’s nothing left. Honestly, there’s a satisfaction in knowing I gave 100%.

And now, the Lord is asking me to be OK with giving what I think is 60-70% and saying this is OK. You can’t live all of life in heart-rate zone 5. That’s for sprinting. Short distances. It’s not sustainable over a marathon. WHICH IS LIFE!

The Lord’s asking me to find joy and satisfaction with the less exciting things of life. The things I perceive as less effort but in reality are just less crisis and stress.

And I’m struggling why?

Because I’m crazy and what I call a closet adrenaline junkie. I’ve caught myself thinking up ways to create a crisis just so I can attack it and feel the adrenaline again. But then I asked the Lord to take those thoughts away! Haha.

I know not everyone shares this struggle, and I have put off sharing this post for weeks because I didn’t think it would be relevant for others to read. But the Lord keeps bringing this struggle back to mind and using it teach me, so I have to share.

This is one reason I love running. The Lord has used it so many times to teach me and speak to me. It’s not just the physical training that matters, it’s the inner heart training. What is that in your life? What are little life examples that God uses to speak to you?

 

Come and See What God Has Done: The Conclusion to our Independence Day Story!

In December 2017, with full down payment money in hand, Adam and I signed papers declaring us as the new owners of the building in Sanger. With the help of our friend’s investment that I mentioned in Part 2 of this story, we were able to purchase this property WITHOUT the bank’s involvement and on a non-recourse / non-surety basis! (just as the Lord had said!)

The plan was to hold onto the property for a year to avoid a major tax bill, then sell it and invest the cash into the company. Because of how Southwest began, we have always been low on cash!

The funny thing is, in January we starting getting phone calls from people asking if the Sanger property was for sale. It wasn’t even on the market! We turned down the offers because we needed to sit on the property for a year and the buyers weren’t able to wait.

But one day in March a guy called. He had looked at the property back in January but didn’t think he was able to wait a year to move his business.  As he looked at other potential properties to move his business into, he decided that our place was indeed the best fit for his business to move into.

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Our Independence Day Story: Part 2

So after our coil supplier cancelled the agreed upon consignment program without our knowledge and called several invoices due now, Adam made a phone call and asked what was going on. He wanted all the facts on the table. (To recap part 1 click here!)

Basically he was told we owed them too much money and things weren’t being paid off fast enough and they don’t trust us anymore. By the end of the conversation, we learned not only are the full invoices due, the whole past balance is also due. Now.

Sell what you have to and get us up to current was the gist of the conversation.

Adam tried reason and logic. He recapped how we had done everything they had asked us to do. When they changed the pay-off plan, we agreed, never trying to get out of paying off the entire balance. And our account was current according to the agreed upon arrangement.

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Celebrating God’s Faithfulness: Our Independence Day Story!

It is Celebration time at the Steck household! For on January 4th 2018 God did something amazing in our business, Southwest Metal Systems. We have marked that day Independence Day and decided each year we will commemorate by throwing a shindig to remember!

Celebration

Our office party Celebration!

I had dinner with a friend the day before the Celebration, and told her this story I’m about to share. At one point she said, “Why have I not heard this before?” I told her it wasn’t a story I told often, because number one, it’s so long and involved, number two it takes a lot of energy to share, and number three until January 4th of 2018 it really wasn’t worth telling! It was just a bunch of hard stuff we had to walk through. And who really wants to hear that?!

By God’s grace I finally had the time and energy to sit down and write it all out. I’d love for you to come and see all God’s done in our lives and in the lives of the people who work at Southwest Metal.

It’s a story of God’s amazing love and faithfulness and a real life example of how He parted the Red Sea for us and allowed us to walk on dry ground to the other side. I’m still amazed and humbled at His strength and power that He displayed on our behalf.

This will span over the course of a few blog posts, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Here we go-

One year ago anxiety hung heavy in the air of our home. We tried to pin it up. Tried to pop it. We prayed and trusted and knew God had a plan, but just didn’t know what that plan looked like. We weren’t scared, just holding our breath. Waiting. Wondering what would happen.

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What Does God Desire More – Faith or Sacrifice?

“We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God no where tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – life with Himself.”

~Utmost for His Highest January 8

On New Year’s Day I bought two puzzles at the Dollar Tree. One was 300 pieces, the other 500. And I soon discovered puzzles are addicting! Every time I walked to the kitchen I wanted to add a new piece – then a new section. Like nibbling on a piece of cake, I couldn’t stop until I had a straight line somewhere. A clean finished area.

I discovered that putting a 500 piece puzzle together is easier when you can look at the picture on the box. When I was stumped, I would hold a particular puzzle piece in my hand, study the picture of where it might go and usually I could find its place.

If only life was that way.

To me walking in faith is like putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. I just have to figure out where each piece fits based on what I see right in front of me. There’s no big vision of how it all connects together. There’s no – oh, see where this line and color meet, that’s where it fits!

And that’s really hard for me. So what I tend to do is super-impose a picture I believe would work great, then start putting pieces together based on that plan.

Our journey to Kenya is the biggest example of this.

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Waiting in the White Space

It’s the first real Monday of 2020. The holidays are over. Routine is back. To me, January feels like starting a brand-new journal. Every page is white, ready for new words. The possibilities of what those words will say – of what adventure they describe – are endless. And that makes me excited!

My temptation is to quickly fill in that white space with my hopes and plans, creating a strategy for the year that will make God proud. But this year, I read something that has made me pause, and stare at that white space a little longer before I break the silence with my words.

In John 13:31-38, Jesus in a way, gives His disciples a piece of blank paper and then walks away, leaving them to figure out what to do next. Dishes from The Last Supper have just been cleared, and Judas has just left the room after Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

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Three Years Ago…

It’s been three years. Three years since I’ve held my Papa’s hand. Three years since I stayed awake most of the night. By his side. Administering medicine at the needed time. Watching, listening to his labored breath. Wiping his fevered forehead.

I sang a few hymn choruses to him that night. I read from the Psalms. I journaled. But mostly I just watched him, drinking in the time with him, knowing these would be my last memories.

Aerosmith’s song played in my mind –

“Don’t want to close my eyes
I don’t want to fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t want to miss a thing…”

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A Heart Full of Thanksgiving on Christmas Eve

Today I am so thankful for just being a mom. I love watching my kids grow up and become people of their own. It’s like slowly unwrapping a Christmas gift.

At first you get “It’s a boy!” and uncover what color eyes they have, whose nose they inherited and how long their toes are.

As the weeks and months slip by, you notice their little personality quirks – strong wills about sleeping or not sleeping, favorite positions, and funny facial expressions.

So many qualities that I see in my kids now as teenagers, I’ve seen in them since they were infants!

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