Aug 252014
 

I was in a slump. In a funk.  Not in the mood to go on a run.  (This happens more than I would like to admit.)  Resistance.  Reigned.  It was oozing out of my deepest soul.  

But on a positive note, I was sporting my new “no chaffing” spandex.  The morning was a perfect temperature with a slight breeze.  My husband was good to go to watch the girls while I ran.  So why the intense battle within me to stay home instead of run?  To resist what I knew to be a life giving, spirit filling, and energy feeling activity?

My mind was playing the “discouragement, pitty party, and lies track”.  It went something like this:  “You have already been consistent for two months now on your training schedule and you deserve a break.  You are weary and tired and all this work is probably in vain since you won’t be able to actually complete a marathon anyway-what were you thinking taking on this big of a challenge?  There is no harm in missing one run.”

Even though my mind was overwhelmed by these tempting thoughts to stay home, I thought about this whole running thing being an obedience to God in the first place.  How He confirmed through a peace in my Spirit, His Word, a Marathon runner’s magazine “randomly” given to me, and the support of my husband that this race was this was God’s will for me in this season. And I had a newfound motivation to put those new “no chaffing” spandex to use.  Good use.  They were not meant for sitting on the couch at home (And oh how I have wished that simply putting on workout attire would miraculously help me achieve weight loss/exercise goals.).  They were not meant to sit in a drawer.  They were were meant to run in.

It seemed like a small victory.  But it actually was a big one in overcoming this mental battle.  I went on my run.

I began to think about how easy I succumb to listening to the “Discouragement track” Satan loves to play throughout my day.  Unfortunately he uses this tactic almost every time I am faced with the choice.  To obey Christ. Or not.  I began to analyze the themes of this track.  And came to a revelation.  Even though the words of the discouragement track are contextually different, the message remains the same.  And when this message plays, it is a red flag to me.  And I choose to see God’s reality and truth behind the lies.  Then I am then ready to fight off the enemy’s attacks.  And be an overcomer in Jesus.

Here are the “D” messages of the “Discouragement track” and it is a red flag I need to fight off this attack of the enemy:

  • I Deserve to do what makes me happy and comfortable.
  • I begin to Doubt my ability to carry out God’s plan.
  • I believe a Detour won’t make a difference.

Here are the “D” messages/scriptures of truth to overcome the “Discouragment Track”:

  • Deserve thought-God promises to give me everything I need in this life and I know serving Him requires putting my selfishness aside.  I am truly free and joy filled when I am following Jesus.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19

“I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galations 2:20 and

  • Doubt thought-I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”  We can expect we will be stepping out in our inability to follow Jesus because it is in our weak areas God is glorified.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Phil 1:6

  • Detour thought-It is so easy to rationalize ourselves out of being absolutely obedient to God.  We think partial obedience is good enough.  But partial obedience is disobedience.  And in my life (with my directionally challenged self) a small detour on the road many times leads to getting completely lost.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

Live today with the confidence that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  Run to and for Jesus in whatever temptation, trial, or question you find yourself in today.  And know you are an overcomer in Jesus!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 182014
 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:4-6

It was another everyday run using my “Bloodhound characteristics” of a heightened sense of sight.  And wouldn’t you know my eyes locked onto a large red object a ways down in the middle of the road.  It definitely didn’t belong.  

My curiosity was on overdrive-a toy, a candle, possibly a frisbee?  Not sure.  But when you have been running for miles and are looking to God to speak to you through any means, you question every strange object in your path.

And so it was with this red.  Ahead of me.  I was ready for the extremely profound upcoming moment.

I reached touching distance.  And low and behold, it was.  A red.  plastic. cup.  Hmmm.  Not quite the thrilling, spiritual awakening moment this turned out to be.

But it was as if I was running in slow motion as I passed the cup.  Something in me was compelled to pick it up.  Examine it further.  But I didn’t.

And then I changed my mind.  I decided to turn around and get it.  If nothing else, it was cluttering up the street and needed to be put in the garbage.  (On a good day you will catch me doing a “keep the earth clean” act.   I also figured this was also a positive rolemodeling story to tell my girls.)

As I picked up the cup I noticed it was broken almost in half on the backside.  (I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised that a plastic cup in the middle of the road had been run over.)

And it was then that I actually did get that spiritual awakening moment.

I realized I was somehow relating with this cup.  The cup was broken.  Overlooked by most.  Didn’t belong.  Ran over.  In the middle of the path.  Alone on the road.  And So. Am.  I.

My real deal:

  • I have difficulty saying “I was wrong and I’m sorry” to my husband-Broken.
  • I was turned down by publisher’s and agents in my writing-Overlooked.
  • I struggle with home decor/organization and am surrounded by friends and family who all should write books on the subject-Don’t belong.
  • I am running a marathon without a clue of how/if I can finish-Ran over.
  • I have seen God’s faithfulness in the past and stand on His faithfulness for my future, but feel to be in this middle journey of questions, waiting and unknowns-In the middle of the path.
  • I am maneuvering this writing and speaking thing without a buddy beside me-Alone on the road.

But God sees me.  And He sees you too.  Right where we are.  Cracks and all.  In the awkward place we are in on the road of life.  In all our insecurities and inabilities.  And He shed His blood for us so we wouldn’t have to.  His red covers all our broken red cup places.  What love!

He picks us up.  Carrying our broken selves.  With the end result being a mended red cup.  Restored.  Filled up with joy and hope.  Filled up and actually overflowing with His living waters.

And then without us doing a thing.  Overflow happens.  His love and compassion  spills out of us onto a world in need.

So let us broken red cups unite!  May we be filled with thankfulness for His unconditional love today.  And may we always remember His plan for us is good.  His plan for us involves reliance on His strength.   His plan is about the giving of our whole lives to Him.  Cracks and all.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 112014
 

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-11

My cheerleader past self comes out in my present self every now and then.  (Okay.  More like every day.) I cannot stop myself  from cheering on the random stranger running past me.  “Keep it up!”  Is my typical phrase, however I have been known to throw in a “Good work!” or “Way to go!” on any given day.

On this particular morning run I had an “Ah ha” moment about my “cheerleader instincts”.  A woman with a dog was running towards me.  I said my typical, “Keep it up!” and she smiled and said, “You too”.  Directly after this quick correspondence I was surprised at my overall feeling.  I felt joy from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet.  And it was a crazy, giddy joy.  I know if you could have seen my face it would have had a big grin on it.

So I contemplated what it was about that 2 second chat that made me so overjoyed?  And then it hit me.  I was using the gift God gave me.  The gift of “Cheerleader” (as I call it) or Encouragement or also called Exhortation.  And when we are acting in the gift(s) God gave us, there is incredible joy.

For a long time I was unaware of my gifting areas.  I didn’t want to appear prideful and ask someone what gifts they saw in me.  I didn’t think to ask God.  And to be honest, I didn’t feel I was missing out by living in ignorance.

I will never forget a particular week when the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear from friends, neighbors, strangers the words, “you are really an encourager” over.  and over.  and over again.  This was a turning point for me.  A confirmation in my own spirit of how God had made and gifted me.

It all started to make sense why I felt so at home cheering the football players on at high school games.  Why I also could never contain myself from yelling “You got this!” to my softball team mates at bat.  Why motivating a friend towards their God given potential felt so life giving.  It was because I was acting in my God given gift of exhortation and didn’t even know it.

I say this not to toot my own horn in boasting, because all the good in me is the Jesus coming out of me.   But I tell you this in a, “I am thankful, and humbled for who God made me to be” statement.

So after this week of God revealing through others His gifts of grace to me, I decided to not shy away from my strengths.  But to walk confidently in my new found identity in Jesus.

I have been praying lately for God to give me opportunities to use my gifts.   It is a two sided blessing when the body of Christ is aware of, desires to use, and owns and acts upon their God given gifts.  No joke, I feel beyond blessed when I GET to use my gifts to strengthen the body of Christ or GET to be a blessing to someone in a time of need.

So this is a call to action my Sister’s!  The amazing thing about God is that He gives gifts to ALL His children.  For a long time I would compare myself with others and feel bad that I didn’t have the gifts that they had, but this was only because I was unaware of my own.  When we find out and are willing to use our gifts EVERYONE in the body wins!  And we as Sister’s can work to “call out” the gifts we see in one another.  Knowing God is using and has gifted her just like He is using and has gifted me.

So take this as a Cheerleader Ra Ra chant of “You can do it” and/or “Keep it up” in using your God given gift(s) to bless others.  If you are unaware of the giftings God has given you (and the Bible tells us we ALL have been given gifts to build and strengthen the Body) step out and ask a close friend to share what they believe your strengths to be (you can read through the spiritual gifts list in 1 Corinthians 12).  You can ask God to reveal them to you.  Or for fun, here is a link to take a free spiritual gifts assessment if you have never taken one and would desire to (http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult).

My prayer is that we would affirm one another in our God given gifts.  Regularly ask God to give us opportunities to use them.  And intentionally think up ways of how we can be a blessing to others.  And we know we SO get the good end of the deal in blessing, joy and purpose when we step out to give.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 042014
 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

I thought after putting in 10 mile plus runs the first three miles would seem almost silly.  Too easy.  A walk in the park.  (You get the drift.)  And I was oh so wrong.  Again.

I had been so proud of myself finishing a 10 mile run over the weekend, had taken a day off and was heading out the door to do a measly three mile run.  Well, my over confidence was crushed quickly as I was huffing and puffing within the first 5 minutes.  And this did not stop.  For the rest of the run.

I questioned my technique.  I blamed it on the hill.  On my lack of sleep the night before.  But after all my inner mind debating, I came to the reality.  These first three miles were no different than any other time I had run three miles.  Whether I do a 10 mile or a three or four mile run (soon to be 15, 16, 17-yikes!), those first three are always struggle.

But it is amazing how my body “gets in the zone” after three miles.  I think my body just realizes, “Oh, I guess she truly is going to keep going.  and going.  and going.  Might as well give in to it and stop fighting it.”  My breathing smoothes out.  My stride is steady.  My mind has stopped playing the “How will I survive this” track and goes into a resting, prayerful track.  All after three miles.

So I came to the realization that there is a pattern in my running-the first three kill me and after that is a “miraculous body rhythm of bliss”.  And I have come to realization that there is a spiritual pattern that occurs as I follow Jesus.

Jesus says in His Word to “Ask, Seek and Knock”.

“Notice the three different senses being considered here. Asking is verbal; Christians are to use their mouths and petition God for their needs and desires. And believers are to seek with their minds—this is more than asking; it is a setting of priorities and a focusing of the heart. To knock involves physical movement, one in which the Christian takes action.” (www.gotquestions.org).

Mile One is like “The Ask”:  It is about the heart-  So difficult to get up the motivation to go on the run in the first place and also so difficult to get up the strength to go to God in prayer.  This is a heart issue on both fronts.  Requesting something from God means I am not in control.  I have to lay down my pride.  I have to rely on Him instead of my own abilities.  I feel uncomfortable being needy.  But I must do it.  I must call out to God, for He IS my help.

Mile Two is like “The Seek”:  It is about the mind-It seems I  got past the worst of it, I got up the nerve to go and persevere for the first mile, I also humbled myself and asked God for help.  But mile two poses new challenges.  Mile two I feel as though I am not in shape due to my huffing and I am in a frustrated mental state.  I also begin to experience warfare in my mind immediately as I begin to partake in the disciplines of being in His Word and being obedient to His Voice in my life.  Not getting up early, for example, has recently been a pull from the enemy towards disobedience (or simply my own laziness to continue holding the comfort of my pillow).  Mile two involves overcoming distractions, laziness, and opinions of others, while renewing the mind towards God’s Kingdom priorities.

Mile Three is like “The Knock”:  It is about the body-Because I have fought the good fight, pushing through the mental and heart resistance of the first two miles, it seems this final rough mile three would not be too much of a challenge.  But it is.  Mile three is so close to being in the “over the hump” zone where my breathing evens out, my mind is at peace, but my body is still fighting for me to walk.  Or stop completely.  Spiritually, my body fights to only “talk the talk” about Jesus, but not actually “walk the walk”.  I can’t quite get my legs to go over and talk to the stranger I feel an impressing to show God’s love to.  I can’t seem to move beyond my normal schedule of laundry and parks to pick up the phone and see what meal I can bring to a Sister recovering from surgery.  I can’t get off the couch to do the work of gaining more knowledge (in an area of weakness/discomfort ) about a particular group of people, activity, ministry God is calling me to.  Mile three involves putting my feet to action.  It asks the question, “Am I moving forward in Jesus, am I in a place of stretching, out of my comfort zone as I follow Him.  What am I relying on Jesus for in this season?”

So get out there my friends, Ask, Seek, and Knock as you train and run your race of life.  Because what is up ahead is good.  I am anxious to hear how God is faithful to you personally.  How He gave you what you asked.  Helped you find what you were looking for.  And opened wide doors of opportunity to bear fruit for the Kingdom, find joy in the day, hold peace in the now and experience freedom from your burdens.

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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