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?

 

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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What Does “Peace on Earth” Look Like?

A few days ago my daughter Mackenzie asked if I would help her on an assignment in her online guitar class. Now this doesn’t happen often, because she is the expert in music not me!

The assignment taught some basic guitar skills along with reading music. I whizzed through the instructions quickly assuming Mackenzie understood those things and just needed help understanding how she was supposed to put it all together.

That’s when she told me “Everyone thinks because I’ve been playing guitar for a long time that I know how to read music but I don’t. No one taught me that at the beginning. I just started out just learning the chords and not the individual string/note names.”

That kinda amazed me but looking back, it was true!

Well the devotional I read today in My Utmost for His Highest reminded me of this conversation and how we can do the same thing spiritually, especially during the Christmas season.

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What Scares Me about being Vulnerable

Have you ever woken your kids up by turning on the light in their room?

It’s kinda funny isn’t it?!

They immediately make a face and pull the covers over their head moaning, “MOM, turn the light offfff!!”

That’s what I thought of yesterday at church when the Pastor spoke on accountability. He said being in an accountable relationship means being honest, vulnerable, available and teachable.

It caused me to reflect. The times I’ve been most vulnerable and honest are also the times I have been most wounded by those I called my friends. As I look back at those times, that “rejection” has caused me to temper how vulnerable and honest I am.

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The Unexpected Journey

We have been on strange and unexpected church journey for almost 10 years now. We’ve experienced church in so many forms with so many different kinds of people ranging from home church to Church of Christ to Assembly, to Non-Denominational. Honestly my heart has forgotten what it feels like to be in a church home.

Regardless of what it looks like on the outside, on the inside Adam and I have done our best to follow where Jesus is going. For us, following Him requires movement. And sometimes it looks like we’re wishy washy and wandering, trying to find something perfect, but in reality we are just following where Jesus leads us.

Looking back, I see God has taught me something through this unexpected journey…

I am an achiever. Put a goal in front of me and I can’t sleep until I crush it! A couple of years ago someone introduced me to the Enneagram. It has helped me accept my personality and understand the warning signs of when I’m over doing it and moving into an unhealthy range. Mostly it’s shown me God’s amazing grace – for it’s only by that grace I am a whole person today!

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The Unexpected Change of Plans

Recently we had an unexpected change of plans.

And they were BIG plans to me. I’d call them anchor plans of the day, what we planned other things around.

Then, 20 minutes before the expected start time, someone called and cancelled due to events totally out of their control.

And I can’t lie… I was bummed. Frustrated. Even a touch mad.

My thoughts sounded like, Are you serious? Do they know we planned our whole day around this?! Don’t they care? I wish I known this yesterday!

It was all about me!

In reality this other party was probably feeling the same. Their plans had also been interrupted. And they were torn with how to handle it. But I didn’t look at it from that angle.

I tried to sound understanding on the phone and say it was OK and we’d happily reschedule! But I also tried to leave one note of my true feelings in my voice, hoping they get the drift I wasn’t real happy about it.

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