endurance

Can you picture me without reducing me?

So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me?  Isaiah 46:5 The Message

God, through the prophet Isaiah is challenging us - I dare you to compare me! There is no comparison. I blow the scale out of the water. You have no reference point for just how big, how powerful, how amazing I Am.

Can you picture God without reducing him? I’m not sure I can. My imagination is capped by the limited reality of my experience.  But I’ll give it my best shot.

Imagine God placing the stars in the sky, calling them by name, shaping the constellations and deciding that the universe would never stop expanding, new stars would continue to be born at a rate of 150 billion per year. The sheer scope of our sky is a small reflection of the mind-boggling creativity of God, not to mention his knack for beauty.

God created man and woman wanting fellowship and community, but already having a plan in place for when it all fell apart - knowing that the seed of the woman, Jesus, was the lamb slain from the creation of the world. Revelation 13:8 God is a strategic planner.

God is also incredibly patient.  Waiting through about four thousand years from creation to the birth of Jesus and four hundred years of silence for the perfect moment to initiate his redemption plan.  Through the expanse of time he never lost hope, knowing his dream for restoration would be initiated at the exact, appointed time. Galatians 4:4

The Easter season reminds of God’s tireless endurance and his willingness to suffer. It tilts my scales for sure to think that an excruciating death was all part of the plan, part of the dream, endurance motivated and carried by joy.  Hebrews 12:2

In my scale tipping thoughts of this incomparable God, one thought crushes the scale completely. You and I are made in the image of this God. For real! Did you catch that? We are made in his image, created to reflect his nature and reveal his character.

Can you imagine your life in the hands of this God without reducing you?

Submit Already

So you wake up every morning and going to work has become more of a chore than ever.  You’re not excited about the job, the boss, the people on your team – what do you do?  Quit?  Stick around? If you’ve read my Facebook devotionals you’ll see I’m all about seeking God’s will.  Logically, in this economy quitting your job for any reason is a risky move.  Spiritually, if you’re not in the place God wants you, sticking around out of fear is a risky move.  To my friends who know they are where God has called them to be, I share a message of endurance.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Is all of your misery at work tied to one person?  Have you prayed consistently for them?  I’m not talking about a “Bless my butt head boss Phil” before bedtime, I mean really sitting down and praying for peace in their personal lives, wisdom when making decisions, and a softened heart towards other people.  You may be surprised how your heart softens towards them in the process.

Perhaps you’re miserable because you always feel like the oddball out.  People leave you behind when they go to lunch, leave the break room when you arrive, plan events outside of work without inviting you.  Think back over the last year, how have you impacted their lives?  Has your behavior reflected God’s love or his wrath?

Take into account that the situations you are in require a lesson to be learned.  What that lesson is, is between you and God.  Two things.  1 – If you fail, you can count on a retest.  2 – If you avoid it, you’ll find yourself being tested on something else.  Let me assure you that God is 100% committed your education, so rather than fight with him, SUMBIT ALREADY!

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me enough to teach me your ways just as any earthly parent should.  Continue to guide me and open my eyes so that I am reflection of your love.

Still Hungry?  Abraham personifies endurance in Genesis 12 – 22.

 

Originally Published in 2011

Run to win! 5K/10K training tips

This past fall I rekindled my love of running. I ran a ton in high school and have put in a few miles and races since then but never REALLY got back into it...until 2010. The first few runs were really rough - my breathing was off, I got side cramps, and at least once a run had to tell my running partner to slow down. It really wasn't the glorious, effortless experience I was expecting. Looking back, I am SO glad I didn't give up when it was tough because after 2-3 weeks I got my flow, learning how to breathe and prevent side-cramps, my endurance and lungs got so much stronger. Now if I miss a run I really MISS a run. I feel like every-time I lace up my shoes and get out there it's a win. Here are some tips I'm learning along the way - hope they help you win too!

  • Gear up. Without the right gear running (especially during the winter!) can be a cold, painful, pitiful drag. Key pieces to invest in that will keep you on your feet: a good pair of running shoes, timing watch, running tights and turtleneck (dry-wick), socks with arch support (I love these!), dry-wick/fleece headband to keep your ears warm and the sweat out of your eyes, hat, fingerless gloves, and sunscreen. Layer up! You can always take off a jacket mid-run if you feel you're too toasty. If I'm running alone I like to use an ipod - if I'm running with my running partner we usually end up chatting the whole time...except for the uphills!
  • Proper Fuel. Lots of veggies, fruits, whole-grains like brown rice or oatmeal, lean proteins, raw nuts and seeds, and tons of H20. Limit your refined sugar intake to keep your immune system strong. Pre-morning runs I try to at least have a big glass of water and a piece of fruit. Granola bars or yogurt are also good options. My post-run routine is Emergen-c, green tea and oatmeal with almond butter and all-fruit spread or fresh berries(sooo good and filling!).
  • Consistency. Be consistent in your running days and times - mark running dates on the calendar (in pen!) and stick to them. I like to get mine done first thing in the morning before all of the distractions of life get me off track. It's a lot easier to come up with excuses about how busy I am at 6pm than at 6am.
  • Motivation. Honestly, when my alarm goes off at the crack of dawn while it's dark and freezing outside, my first thought is NOT, "this run is going to be so great for my cardiovascular fitness" or "I can't wait to get out there and build my endurance!". My thoughts are usually along the lines of, "if I don't get my booty in gear I'm going to be late to meet my running buddy!" or "if I miss this run it's going to be a lot harder the next time". I have to have my running gear laid out the night before and lunch packed so I don't even have to think about it when I wake up - I'm on autopilot for the first 10min.
  • Measurable Goals. Runner's World has a great, free running log that I love using. It's always a great feeling "adding miles" to the log and watching your progress grow! Signing up for a few races a year is another way to push yourself to run faster, longer, and stronger. Make it a group thing with your pals and be sure to grab brunch afterwards :).

Happy running!