Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Good Lesson from a Cold

Hi, everyone! Happy December 28th to you, and a big Happy Anniversary to two of my best friends in the world: EE and JE. Love you guys!! :)

The Christmas this year was absolutely amazing. I got to spend my first holiday with the Mighty Man's family, and we had such a blast. For a girl who is used to Christmas-hopping to about four different places every 12/25, it was a big dose of amazing to stay in one place with one family and just hang out for a day. That was incredible! (Memo to my family: I love you guys, and this doesn't take away from the crazy amazingness of our typical Christmas routine.) The biggest blessing, though, was actually realizing that the Lord has surrounded me with such a godly family on both sides. MM's family is just filled with the love of Christ from top to bottom, and my family is building a godly heritage that has been up and down depending on generations. I'm so proud of them, especially my Momsy, PPB and sis/bro-in-law. It takes work to break chains and barriers and to respond when the Holy Spirit calls you to faith. And they have answered. I loev it, and I'm super thankful for what my Father is doing. Thank You, Lord.

Today is a little challenging. Okay, the last two days have been super challenging. I'm sick. And it's no fun at all. It's been a while since I've been too sick to run, and this is the first time in a very long time that I will take my second consecutive day off from the daily discipline of pounding the pavement. It's hard!!! My mind is so used to it that when I am sidelined, it takes a big amount of mental energy to realize that IT'S OKAY not to run once in a while. (Runners out there, you will most likely understand this.)

But, the good thing is that when times like this come up, I get to re-examine why I do love to run. Isn't it true that when something you take for granted is taken away, you realize what it means to you?

For me, running is a wonderful outlet for so many reasons. One, it challenges me. Running isn't easy, so it's a great way to challenge myself and build mental/inner strength. Two, it's a great way to maintain health and fitness. (Duh.) Three, it's a WONDERFUL way to get away from all distractions and to enjoy solitude. And this leads me to four: It's a fantastic time to communicate with the Lord. He meets me in so many ways out on the road. I've blogged about it many times in the past, but I often forget just how many different ways this can be an experience of worship. It gives me a chance to pray and to listen. If I put on music, it gives me a chance to praise. If I listen to a sermon, it provides time for teaching. And, regardless, it gives me the chance to use the physical gifts and abilities that He has given me. Endurance isn't something everyone is passionate about, so I know it's a gift from Him that I enjoy it so much and can take to it so naturally.

So, today, as I sit here guzzling down my umpteenth cup of hot tea, I want to celebrate the art of running and thank my Father for such a good gift. May I hold it loosely and always allow it to be His, and may He restore it in His time. (It's just a cold, so I don't doubt it will be soon. It just feels like it when I am in the midst of it. haha!)

You know, I want to encourage you all with a little spiritual spin on this and broaden it up to life in general. God gives us all gifts, and when we experience them daily, we can really begin to take them for granted--even to dislike them at times. When I'm tired or lazy, I totally don't like running. I fully admit it. But that's because I'm focusing on the difficult parts of it instead of the good things that provide it's base. I focus on the fact that it's hard work and that I'd rather stay in a warm, cozy bed, when I could focus on the awesome fact that I have two legs that can carry me for miles and an opportunity to spend some quality time with my Lord. Super cool.

This really applies to relationships in life. Maintaining relationships is hard work. Many relationships are constant, and when we are in them continually, we can stop seeing them as blessings, taking them completely for granted. Why did we start this relationship to begin with? Wouldn't it be easier just to not participate in it? Can't I just take a break from it altogether? Can't I just leave?

When these times come, we need to refocus. We can choose to recenter on the good aspects of these dynamics instead of the challenges. When can realize that there are so many wonderful things about these relationships and see that the challenges are more than worth it. Then, when we do this, our perspective will shift and we'll get a renewed passion to love and serve these others with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, let's all celebrate the gifts that we are taking for granted. Running, working, serving, relating, whatever! Let's examine the good gifts we've been given and reflect on why they are GOOD. That way, when the challenges come up against them, we'll realize that they are truly worth every amount of effort.

Love and hugs to you all! And Happy New Year!
- Jill

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