Jul 292015
 

“Your statues are wonderful; therefore i obey them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  Direct my footsteps according to Your Word.”  Psalm 119:129-130; 133a

The running path makes all the difference.  I am picky when it comes to where I run.  I choose the path based on multiple questions:  Am I able to run with a view of nature around me (in other words, as little cars, city noise/smells as possible)?  Am I able to have a small amount of distractions?  Do my feet have space to run without being crowded to “walk the line”?  Is there dirt or pavement beneath my feet (because I would prefer dirt)?  Is it well lit (if I am going on a night or early morning run)?

I think I am so picky about where I run because I have made the mistake of choosing poorly before and I don’t want to “go down that road” again.  One path I chose I will never forget.  I chose it because it was conveniently located right outside my husband’s office and I only had a limited time frame.  At the beginning it seemed it would be easy and comfortable since I knew the area around his office well.  But it was anything but easy and comfortable.  I ended up having to tip toe my way around multiple sticker bushes because the path had not been well kept.  I tripped multiple times because of big boulders in the way.  After this path, I was scratched, bruised and stressed.  The running path makes all the difference.

When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.
José N. Harris 

The difference between choosing God’s path and choosing the world’s path makes all the difference as well.  The world’s path may seem easy, comfortable, and convenient, but just like my “i will never forget nightmare path”, it is marked by sin, which takes us down the road of selfish ambition, depression, anxiety, and ultimately leads to death.  Eternal death.  Not a real uplifting path overall, when you see what the end of it is, but it is surprisingly appealing at the beginning of it.

I am thankful our God has a designated path for each of us.  It is marked by life and light.  It is not one without trouble and pain, but along the way there is joy.  Peace.  Purpose.  And in the end it leads to life.  Eternal life.

We get the opportunity to choose God’s running path or the world’s running path each day.  We step with our feet in obedience to God’s commands and Word or we step with our feet in obedience with our selfish sinful desires of the flesh.

I find when I am not spending time in God’s Word, this culture has a way of sneaking into my mind and heart and beckoning me to think and act for myself.  To be concerned with earthly things rather than heavenly, Kingdom things.  Jesus even reprimanded Peter at one point saying in Mark 8, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  Because our flesh is in constant battle with our spirit, we NEED to devote time to talk with God and read and think through His Word of truth.

When we are at a crossroads and do not know what path to choose, we can also have comfort that God WILL show us His good, in fact best path.  Scripture says His Word is light.  And so we can have confidence that His light will open and close doors, in His way and timing so we are not left to choose on our own.  In times of waiting on the Lord, it is not helpful to entertain fears in the now or the future.  Waiting times are an opportunity to be who we were made to be.  A faithful servant.  To actually put our feet, mind, and heart where our mouth is and Live.  By.  Faith.  Not sure of what is ahead.  Not understanding all the closed doors.  But trusting.  That our good God is in control.  And WILL open the well lit, sweet smelling, peace giving, purpose giving path which will ultimately.  End.  In.  Life.

Are your feet stepping on a well lit path or have you taken some sinful, dark steps off of it?  Will you ask God for forgiveness for following your selfish desires of the flesh and to light up the right path He has instead?

Will you rest in waiting on the Lord in His perfect way because “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”  Ephesians 1:11?

What fear will you give over to God today and “Run, Run, Run” to His arms of love where peace is found?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 152014
 

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

I missed out.  On running the 22 miler.  I should have gone this last weekend.  But didn’t.  And I am now 2 weeks prior to the race, which means going on shorter runs.  I chalk it up to a lack of motivation on an activity full weekend.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the soreness that would be up ahead.  And a lack of diligence to call a friend to run with.  All of these excuses contributed.  But bottom line.  The opportunity came.  And went.  And I am sitting in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

My husband had some friends over to play cards this weekend.  Usually on these nights I partake in some much needed “Netflix” time.  And this was exactly my plan.  First-get into some “comfies” on.  This consists of my 10 year old American Eagle sweatpants (what I would love to wear 24/7 if it would be acceptable), and an oversized t shirt (which isn’t quite to the holes in the pits stage in which my husband draws the line).  Check.  Second-put the girls to bed.  (Not as easy as the first order of business, but after answering the 20 questions, reading the additional story, singing one more round of “Oh How I Love Jesus”, and walking away saying, “No more talking now, it’s time for bed.” all seemed good to go.)  Check.  Third, get the Kix cereal late night snack and I Pad to take up to my private bedroom getaway.  Check.

As I was pouring my cereal a particular friend was on the brain.  I thought I could visit her tonight.

But the excuses started in, “She probably has plans already.”  “Well, I am sure my husband wouldn’t want me to leave the girls in case they got up and needed tending to.”  “It is getting too late and we wouldn’t get to talk much.”  “I really need some alone time.”  “I don’t feel like going.”  “It wasn’t what I had planned on doing.”  “My energy and motivation to have a long conversation is gone.”

In spite of the rationalizations of why not to call her, my friend’s name would not leave the forefront of my thoughts.  (I have typically found this to be the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting me to action.)  I asked my husband if I could go and he said, “Yes”.  So that was that.  There was nothing stopping me from making the call to see if my friend was up for a spontaneous visit.  Other than my own selfishness.  Lack of motivation.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the upcoming talk would be an energy output.

And so I chose “Netflix Night” over obedience to the Spirit.  I didn’t go visit my friend.  I missed out.  Because the opportunity came.  And went.  And I get to sit in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

Two missed opportunities.  In one weekend.  (No gold stars for me.)  Two times when my own stuff got in the way of “going the distance”.  For my race training.  For God’s Kingdom.

Somehow the excuses won out.  Obedience, discipline, commitment, the Spirit’s prompting took a back seat.  And the result was a lack of action.  Now I find myself swimming in a pool of  “could have, should have, would have’s”.  And I am finding it difficult to stop.

I ran into my “go to marathon guru friend” at the local Mexican takeout restaurant the next day.  I told her I missed the 22 miler.  She said most training plans only go up to 18 miles.  (Which I had done the weekend prior.)  I was extatic.  I wasn’t a total failure.  I would still be able to compete and complete the upcoming marathon race.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

Later the same day someone shared with me that the friend I had felt compelled to go over and visit was in fact going through a rough patch.  Experiencing some serious health issues which I was unaware of.  My heart sank.  No wonder I had felt the Spirit’s prompting to head over for a visit.

Failure and condemnation were heavy.  I texted my friend to let her know I had thought about stopping by and that we needed to catch up soon.  But the moment was gone.  It wasn’t the same.

I confessed I was wrong for not acting on the Spirit’s leading and asked forgiveness from God.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

I must find a lesson to be learned from my two mess up’s.  I must redeem what seems to be lost.

1.  I am thankful we serve a God who continues to want to use us in spite of our past failures, disobedience, and selfishness.  2.  I am thankful missed out opportunities are not a reason to quit.  3.  Continuing to swim in the pool of “could have, should have, would have’s” is not helpful or healthy for anyone.  We must learn to let go and let God take them.  4.  I am thankful we are not defined by our failures, but by the God who made us.  Our identity is in Christ!  5.  I am thankful His mercies are new every morning.  And we must accept grace for ourselves and be ready to extend it to others as well.  6.  We should be even more motivated to say “yes” to the Spirit.  No matter the circumstance or mood we are in.  And “go the distance” when the next mile marker Kingdom opportunity comes our way.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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