Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 2 – The Climb

Day 2

I think day 2 should come with a warning. For all who embark on this journey, you will be attacked by Satan. If your true intent is to grow closer to God – not only will you be tested, but there will be gigantic potholes along the road with the sole purpose of derailing ANY progress you might make. Knowing the warning and understanding it, you can proceed with your day.

I started my day with one friend angry with me for a reason I didn't fully understand. Then, another dear friend told me how I had not been a good friend to her. Then yet another friend asked me when I stopped being thin – which caused me to question all morning if I was obese – which I am not. My husband got mad at me, my children were frustrated with me and I felt like I could not do anything right. To top off the experience, some woman hit on me at the store. Then, my best friend who has been struggling with a health problem that is undiagnosed began to tremor for no reason. I began to pray and realized so many things. Life is so precious and we take our health for granted. I really struggled a number of years ago with feeling so incredibly ill. It went undiagnosed for 2 ½ years and I felt helpless. I really wish I could take my best friend's illness and yet I know that she is drawing closer to God in the process. When we are left with nothing but prayer, we rely solely on our prayers and time with God. Each moment seems endless and the clock doesn't seem to tick by fast enough. There are moments when I wish I could do that time period over and just pray incessantly instead of wishing the time away. The time with God no matter what the situation has such clarity if we really want to listen.

Today, I decided to do my mile on the exercise bike. Now, I knew that a mile wouldn't take long that way and I wanted to do a minimum time limit so I knew I would do more than a mile. In order to make it hard for myself, I decided to take the bike to the highest difficulty level and then pick the program called Pikes Peak. For those of you who don't know what Pikes Peak is, then go look it up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I started at level 16 and went up from there and it was so difficult. At first, the climb wasn't too bad but with each passing minute, the incline got higher and higher to the point that I was pouring sweat and my legs were burning. It was such a strain at the top of the mountain and everything in me wanted to quit. I tried singing a song of praise to God – in my head of course because I had no breath left.

Then, God put in my head and heart about how hard the climb is in life and how we so desperately want to quit. Just when we think we have nothing left, He comes along and gives us the final push that we need to make it over the top. He truly does bridge the gap. When we are weak, He shows His strength through us. In fact, that truly is the time that He shows His glorious power because clearly it would not ever be us being capable by ourselves.

This assignment has brought joy to my face when I think about how God wants to draw closer to me. I will not lie – the thought of being attacked on a regular basis is a little frightening. I know that God will win out every time –but the process is beyond scary. Satan likes to hit buttons that hurt. I have a feeling I will find where I am weakest as I know that is usually where Satan likes to step in.

Lord, I ask that you be my strength and my breath when I am breathless. Help me to be strong and not give Satan a foothold ANYWHERE. I am so incredibly thankful to have this time with you and even though I am not crazy about the exercise component, I see the direct correlation as to why you having me do this. Thank you for blessing me so richly with your wisdom and working through me despite my weaknesses. I have so far to go….thank you for helping to refine my heart. Protect my heart from the battle that lies before me. Go before me and light my path so I might learn what you need me to learn. Holy Spirit – continue to fill me and guide my life.

Day 2 down and only 98 to go…whew!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 1 – Reality Check

I must admit, I had been avoiding my 1 mile all day. I was happy to spend the time with God but the idea of getting on the treadmill was not an enjoyable one. I sat thinking that I spend a lot of time with God but is it really concentrated time. So often, I have distractions around me. Whether it is my children, my spouse, the TV, iPod, or my cell phone, there are so many outside messages coming in. To spend that time solely with God is not a lot of time. However, if you really evaluate what you do while you exercise or drive or anything – I bet you are multi-tasking. When you sit down with someone, are you focused only on them? Or are you busy texting or responding to someone? I realize this especially when someone else is doing that to me. If I am sitting having a conversation, I want to feel valued and if the other person is buried in their cell phone – clearly they are not fully listening to me. I do that also and I always feel guilty when I do it. Often it is my kids or my husband trying to get a hold of me about various things. I usually check it and then don't respond unless absolutely necessary. However, it still takes time away from the person that I am with and it hurts them.
So, as I was avoiding my mile today, I started to think – am I avoiding the exercise or the time with God. Truth is – I am avoiding both. I find my conversations with God to be often wonderful but during a refining process, it can truly hurt. I guess I was avoiding myself today in the process of avoiding the mile.
I will be honest; I am not in great shape right now. I was a great runner as a kid and always loved sprinting but the idea of distance – YUCK! Even a mile just isn't my thing. I walk a ton but running?! I waited until the time before dinner and told my kids that I needed to go do my mile. I put my cell phone away, left the remote on the couch, ignored my iPod on the charger and took my place on the treadmill. I took a deep breath and started up the machine and kept thinking – a mile isn't that far! HAHAHAHAHAHA
When you are out of shape and haven't run in almost 20 years, a mile might as well be 500. It made me appreciate those people on the Biggest Loser show. Thank goodness Jillian isn't in my basement yelling at me to keep running. I quickly became hot, out of breath, and needing water desperately. The water was such a blessing to cool me down and replenish what was missing. What was interesting is once I was dehydrated, it took a lot to quench my thirst.
God is so clearly the living water and how often are we trying to fill up with something other than that? While it fills us for awhile, eventually, we will come up empty. Even the cell phones, the TV, and other things – aren't they just another distraction or way to make us feel connected in a false way. We are all avoiding the time with God without realizing it. Try sitting in your car with no radio and just talking to God. Some might look at you funny while you are driving, but I think you will find yourself growing closer and closer to Him.
Ok, so after my mile, I got off the treadmill and sat down. I was so extremely hot and out of breath. My lungs were coughing up mucous I swear had been in there for 20 years as that is how hard I was coughing to get it up. Felt like I was coughing up the things I had been filling my life with instead of breathing clearly. Oh Lord – 100 days? Really?! I cannot do this! Please Lord, isn't there another way?
He so emphatically told me – 100 days – 100 miles. Ok, I will wipe my brow and say to myself, "1 day down and only 99 to go." Really Lord, the only way? I know I will appreciate the time and I pray that in time I grow to look forward to my mile and maybe even want to do more so I can spend even more concentrated time with Him. I don't mind time with God – but the physical and emotional refinement at the same time is difficult. Lord, thank you for the blessing of this assignment. I know I don't appreciate it at every moment but may others be blessed by it as well. Thank you for honoring me with YOUR time. Why am I lamenting that time that I must give up? That is ridiculous! I should be so grateful that you want that time with me. May you speak through my weakness Lord.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I awoke with the strangest feeling – God was clearly talking to me as I had been praying. I had been praying for clear direction in many areas of my life. As usual, God doesn't always answer 1+2= 3. In fact, often you get something far more cryptic and confusing. It always leads to the answers but is never easy in the process. So, as I was praying, the phrase kept coming into my head, "100 days – 100 miles"…and I was like, "What???" It just kept going again and again in my head with the attachment of – "and then write about it."

Ok, I will be honest with you – I ran the gamut of emotions from excited to hear God so clearly, to confused, and finally to ticked off. Are you kidding me?? I have to wait 100 days for my answer and even then it might not be a clear answer and I get to write about it along the way?! So, I started asking questions. "Do I need to run or can I walk?" It didn't matter apparently as long as I spent the time solely with God. Sounds really easy don't it? That's only a mile a day. I started thinking that it sounded simple because in the summer, I walk a ton. I walk minimum of 5-10 miles a day. However, I usually walk with someone else or I have an iPod in my ear. Hmmm…I can't do that. You should have heard me arguing with God all day about this one. Why? And of course – there was no answer.

I sat all day kind of laughing about my Godly assignment. I knew there were only a few people I could really share this with because others would think I was just nuts. In fact, my daughter asked me if I really knew it was God talking to me…and YES, I clearly knew it was God. Believe me, why in the world would I torture myself in such a way on purpose! I decided to make today the day I share with you how I was feeling during the assignment phase. How often do we get an assignment that we do NOT recognize or want to do? I have had several of those assignments along the way. Some things I dove head first into and others – I begged and pleaded to run the other way. Every single one of those experiences was so incredibly fruitful that I would be stupid to sit back and wait for God to make me do it anyway.

The more excited I got – the more fear crept in. I realized that God was going to be doing a lot of refining of my heart and soul. I know that I need it – but to know you are walking into it is beyond daunting. The refiner's fire is wonderful but often VERY hot and can often hurt. I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus and know that He is making me more like Him. I kept thinking – 100 days – you do realize that is like a 1/3 of a year. Oh my…I don't know if I am the girl to do this. Lord – let me grow closer to you in this process. Let your love fill me and may you be the only thing to fill me during this time. Thank you for the precious assignment no matter how hard I fight you on it. It shows me that you want to work with my weaknesses. Funny thing is, I called my missionary friend to share my new assignment and he happened to be working on an assignment. Get this, it was 2 Corinthians 12:9.

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Wow! How awesome to know that He wants to work through me and with me to show His glory. And no kidding – I am definitely a weak specimen to work through. It is fun to watch his ever changing tapestry weaving without any effort from us.

I pray that if you embark on this challenge, you are blessed beyond measure. I hope that my real and frank words are not a hindrance but a way to help you see that every day is a fight to stay on the path. However, life is not a sprint – it is a marathon. There are times when we are going to walk, times when we are going to crawl, times when we need to be carried and times when we fly. As long as we stay on the path and keep moving – He will light our path and bless us beyond measure.