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Against the Current

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Goals, Grief, Healing, Hope | 0 comments

At the end of the 2015-2016 School year, I found myself exhausted more than usual.  It had been a rough year for me personally and professionally.  The school year loomed with 3 deaths, teachers and students under attack, weapons found in or around the building, a lack of support from the superintendent, and the list goes on. Personally, I was recovering from culture shock from spending a year in the Dominican Republic.  One would hope that was all, but it wasn’t.  There were a few deaths in our family as well as a near death.  Needless to say, I was exhausted emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  It felt like I had nothing left to give to my students, my friends, or my family.

Behind my apartment complex there is a creek with a walking trail and I found myself on that trail a lot near the end of the school year.  After my grandpa died, I found a rock that I could sit on and just watch the water move downstream.  It was calming to my spirit.  I would sometimes read, pray, or just observe my surroundings.  During this time, a duck found its way to the creek.  He was by himself and stayed in a fifty foot radius for those several weeks I found myself on the rock.  Eventually, I named him, Fred.  It seemed fitting for some reason.  One day, it dawned on me that Fred enjoyed working his way up stream and when he reached the bridge he would turn around and just ride the current.  And I thought to myself, “that’s what we need to do.”  After everything that we had been through as a school and a family, we needed to work hard to recover from the loss, work hard to improve grades, or attain whatever goal that we had, so that when we reached the end, we could just enjoy the ride.

Grieving is hard work.  Loss will always come and it will eventually be followed by blessing.  But during the time of grief, it’s important to go against the current by allowing oneself to experience the emotions that come. One must move forward a little bit each day and before too long has passed the emotions of grief will subside and a sense of happiness may return.  Joy will fill in the gaps during the remembrance of good times and what once was.  When I first saw Fred riding the current downstream it was as if he was screaming, “weeeeeee.”  He was thoroughly enjoying the accomplishment of his hard work.  And then the journey started all over for him.  Granted, he could have just flown to the bridge, but he wouldn’t have reaped the benefits of working hard.

Life is like that, ya know?  We have a choice.  We could take the easy route or we could work hard. If we take the easy route, we would never reap the benefits nor see gains in our lives.  For my students, they could cheat, but there would be no gain in their knowledge.  With grief, one could stuff it all down and hope that it never comes up again, but the reality is that eventually it will need to be dealt with.  There are hundreds of examples that could be written about.  We work hard, enjoy the accomplishment for a bit, and then another thing comes around again.  My suggestion is to continue going against the current so that our lives will be better for it and in the end we can ride downstream.  May we be able to say, “weeeeeeee” all the way home!

Extended Hand

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in God, Healing, Relationships | 1 comment

Tonight I experienced something with God that I haven’t experienced in a long time.  I felt his ever-close presence in a way that I can’t explain.  And what is interesting about it is I don’t deserve it.  I have struggled to spend time with Him because of any and whatever reason I could come up with.  I felt distant which made me not want to spend time with Him even more because I knew I wasn’t putting any effort into it and I didn’t want to just go through the motions of “loving” God.  He deserves more than that.

What dawned on me tonight is that I often do this in relationships with other people also.  I wait until they reach out to me because I am afraid of being too vulnerable or hurt or rejected.  Yet what I am doing in turn is rejecting them.  God has his hand extended out waiting for us to hold onto him, to walk with him closely and intimately.  He wants to walk alongside us in our darkest of moments, our brightest moments, and our dullest moments.

God showed me tonight that even though I am rejecting him because I don’t want to be vulnerable and weak that he still pursues after me and wants me to reciprocate this back to him and to other people.  If you are in a relationship or a friendship where you are waiting to have the person make a mends.  Stop, reach out and make the mend yourself.  The person you are holding out on may just be waiting for you and both of you will be waiting forever.

Thank you Lord, for always extending your hand to me.  Thank you for allowing me to be close to you when I have distanced myself to you.  Thank you for choosing me when you didn’t need to.  Thank you for showing me that you are still here.

(when I say hand, I am referring to a figurative hand…just to clarify)

Against The Wind

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Blog, Virtue | 2 comments

Several years ago my family went on a trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.  It wasn’t the first time our family had gone there, but it may have been the last time our entire family would go together.

The uniqueness of this trip was on our way out to our chosen island and our way back to the homeland we canoed against the wind.  I’m sure we only canoed a few miles or so, but in the midst of the journey it felt like an eternity.  It was difficult both mentally and physically.

I remember being partnered up with my youngest brother, Jeff.  He was quite young at the time and neither one of us had the muscle strength or the canoe skills to keep our canoe going in a straight path. So my dad decided that we would switch partners.  My dad would canoe with my youngest brother and my mom would go with me.  My mom and I had the same problem.  Our canoe would swerve to the right and then swerve to the left.  The wind was very strong which made the current strong as well.  We were all over the place. So my dad decided that he would tie the two canoes together. We continued on our path back to the loading dock, but our swerving back and forth continued, however this time the swerving wasn’t as wide.  We were always drawn back to the center because we were attached to my dad’s canoe.

Several hours passed as we canoed, trying desperately to end the journey that we were on.  How could we have wind going out and coming back in?  How were we ever going to get to our destination and still be sane?  Why can’t this wind stop?  Why are none of us strong enough to go against the wind?  Why can’t we keep the straight path?

Eventually, we made our destination.  The challenge was over and we were greeted with the best Mt. Dew I think I have ever drunk.  Our family made it home.  I’m sure my muscles hurt for a week, but there was something very satisfying about going through that tough canoe experience.  Sure we were all over the place but there was something comforting about being tied to my dad’s canoe.  I knew that we couldn’t end up turning all the way around and going in the opposite direction.  I knew that we would eventually make it back to our destination.  I knew that amidst the difficulty we needed to just keep going.  If we didn’t keep going we would end up going the opposite direction.

Sometimes in life we face trials and tribulations that are against the wind.  The ground seems rocky and unstable.  The trial seems like an eternity away from being over.  The tribulation seems too difficult to continue and we just want to give up knowing that it will just turn us around.  The confusion and the lack of understanding have us lost and frustrated.  We ask why would I keep going if everything seems stacked against me?  What’s the point, you might ask.

But when we tie our selves to a solid source, Jesus Christ, although we may rock back and forth we can continue going on the straight path.  We are desperately asking questions and trying to find solutions to our trials but Jesus is looking for us to depend on him to get us through the trial.   In fact, he allows us to go through trials so that we might be strengthened.

I made a decision in that canoe in Boundary Waters that cold spring day.  The decision to keep going regardless of my circumstances I was facing.  I have since been in many other trials that have challenged me to make a similar decision.  I continue to make a decision to keep going.  I don’t want to be all turned around.

I never got my answers to my questions that day or to many other trials, but it doesn’t matter.  Those answers didn’t help me reach my destination.  Trials make us stronger.  In the midst of them we all have a choice to make.  Will we keep going and seek help in a solid source, Jesus, or will we get frustrated, give up and end up going in the direction the wind wants to take us?  The choice is ours!

Some verses to encourage your journey through trials:

John 16:33; Romans 11:33-36; Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 1:27-30; 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5; Hebrews 12: 1-12; Hebrews 13:6; James 1:1-4

Adrenaline the Pain

Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Healing | 0 comments

When I was two weeks into my freshman year of college I was riding around town with a friend on a bicycle.  We had been riding for about 3 hours by the time we were near his home.  We hadn’t eaten dinner and we ran out of water about half way into our bike ride.  When we were getting closer to my friends apartment we decided to race back to his apartment.  We were going about 20-25 miles an hour. We came to the Design Building where the sidewalk splits and he veered to the left and I veered to the right.  It was about nine o’clock in the evening at this point and the sun had already set.  What we didn’t know is that the construction company that was going to be remodeling the Design Building had put fences around the perimeter of the building, which included the sidewalks, which we were riding our bikes on.  The construction company had failed to put up warning signs or lights to warn us of the sidewalks and we couldn’t see anything in front of us.  My friend rode his bike right into the fence and I saw it right before and slammed on my breaks.  I went flying over my handlebars and my bike went flying about 15-20 feet and hit the fence.  I hit the cement with my shoulder and head.  I broke my collarbone, fractured my elbow, bruised my jawbone, and ripped my ear part way off.

I don’t remember much of the first moments after the accident, but I do remember asking if my friend was okay and trying to get up.  I was told later on that I complained about my shoulder hurting, but my adrenaline was working really well and I couldn’t remember the pain that I was in at the time.

I was extremely dehydrated and couldn’t eat anything because of my jawbone being bent out of shape.  That night I woke up to use the restroom and when I was returning to my room I fainted and fell to the ground.  At that point I couldn’t get up on my own.  I yelled out for help and my poor father had to help me out.  The bad part was he pulled on my arms to get me up.  I’m sure that didn’t help with the initial healing process.

I stayed home for a few days and then went back to the dorm.  I had to switch my classes around because I was riding my bike to an English class that was now too far away for me to get to by walking.  The new English teacher didn’t have much leniency with me.  I needed to write a one-page paper about myself and there wasn’t much of an extension regardless of my circumstance.  At the time I didn’t know that my right elbow was fractured.  I was having trouble writing but wasn’t sure why.

A week after the accident I was returning home from writing the English paper, which took me hours to write because I didn’t have the use of either of my arms.  It was late and all the doors were locked.  I was tired and weary.  I tripped on the stairs and ended up re-breaking my collarbone and re-fracturing my elbow.  That time I felt the pain.  It was intense.   I wasn’t able to open the heavy dorm doors, so I had to pound on the door (it has been too long for me to remember how) but the girl on the floor, whom didn’t like me, opened the door for me and helped me call my parents.  They came to the dorm to pick me up and take me to the emergency room.  At this point I found out that I had a fractured elbow.  So they gave me a brace that would help me not use my arms.

This was a pretty humbling time of my life because I couldn’t dress myself, carry anything heavy, and write anything, open doors, drive, or anything else on my own.  My poor roommate had to help me shower and dress.  I had a friend drive me to a few of my classes, carry my backpack, and take notes for me.  The positive side was I got a handicap pass for the school year.  I was out of work for a month and the construction company paid me for the time lost.

There is something else I have learned over the years from this story.  I am reminded of it all the time.  When people go through a physical trauma our body produces adrenaline to help cover up the pain.  If we felt the pain without the adrenaline it would be too much to bare.  It’s too much of a shock to the system and would almost paralyze us.  I believe that God does the same thing for us when we go through emotional traumas as well.

Let me explain.  When I was going through my divorce and everything else that went along with that emotional trauma I didn’t experience everything at once.  I believe that God allowed little bits to come at a time because if everything was revealed at the same time or experienced all at once it would have been too much for me to handle.  Now at the time it felt like too much and I wondered why all the crap kept coming and wouldn’t end.  But looking back I see it as a blessing to have it spread out over a period of time.  It gave me time to heal one wound before having all the other wounds were revealed to me.

Eventually the scabs come to cover up the wound, but the insides still need to heal.  The body and our emotional state (depending on which we are referring to) are fragile and can only handle so much at a time.  I believe we need to give ourselves more time to heal the insides and not focus on the scabs on the outside.  There is a reason why doctors say to take all two weeks of a medicine even though you are feeling better after three days.  The bacteria are still there it is just weakened.  If you don’t take all of the medicine your body will stay sick longer.

It has been over four years since I have been officially divorced.  God continually shows me areas of my life that need to be worked on.  Some areas were weakened by the divorce and they have needed time to strengthen and heal so that I can be stronger than I was before.  Some areas were weak before I even married and affected my marriage.   The divorce heightened those weak areas and has needed a lot of extra attention and time.  We all don’t heal the same way nor do we heal at the same rate.  My caution: Don’t rush the healing process!   It is worth being patient through the healing process.  I have never been happier in my life.  My collarbone still is crooked and my ear has a scar where it was sewn up, but they are stronger than they were before.  I have scars from the divorce, but they have made me into the woman of God that God has created me to be.  Divorce has not defined who I am but certainly has shaped me into a beautiful creature of my Heavenly Father!

How to Run in the Cold

Posted by on Dec 31, 2011 in Blog, Health and Fitness | 0 comments

Recently I have signed up for a ten-mile run.  The run is in March and I have approximately two months to train. I have attempted to run on a treadmill but my efforts have failed me.  I would much rather run outside around a beautiful lake or on a trail.  So I decided to purchase some gear that would allow me to run in the dead of winter.

Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, to name a few, are all companies that create gear that can be worn in the cold.  They call it coldgear.  I purchased gloves, an ear band, compression pants, a long sleeve compression top, and a jacket.

The gloves that I purchased are made of polyester and spandex.  They are longer than the cheap cotton ones that cost a dollar or two.  They are meant to resist moisture and keep the hands warm.  The ear band is meant to keep the ears warm but allow my head to have fresh air.  This will keep me from overheating.

The compression pants that I purchased are fitted to keep the warmth next to the skin.  The lining is made of polyester, which is meant to insulate, dry quickly, and retain its shape.  So although the outer layer has elastane (another name for spandex) to make it stretch the polyester keeps it from stretching and not returning to its original shape.

The long-sleeved compression top that I purchased is fitted as well and for the same exact reasons as the pants.  I made sure the sleeves and torso of the shirt were both long enough to cover the skin.  There are different style options.  I chose to buy the round neck instead of the turtle neck because I don’t like things tight around my neck.  To keep my neck warm, I would need to wear a neck warmer, a scarf, a jacket that zipped up, or nothing at all. The jacket that I purchased is meant to keep the wind out and add extra warmth.  It is light yet doesn’t add too much resistance while training.  Here is what the Under Armour website says about  ColdGear: “Ideal for days when it’s 55° F and below, ColdGear® features a dual-layer fabric that wicks moisture from the skin and circulates body heat – keeping you warm without ever weighing you down.”

http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/temperature-guide/womens

So far I have been pleased with my purchases.  The temperature in which I have run outside has been around 30 °F.  I have played broomball in much colder weather and have remained warm as long as I keep moving.  So far my feet have not been cold, however I am not sure what colder weather will do to feet without anything special to put on.  While playing broomball I put on really thick wool socks.  My running shoes would not fit wool socks very well.  I’ll keep you posted on what I find out.

Another trick that I have done while running in the cold is making sure to chew mint gum.  It keeps me from coughing.  It is kind of like having a cough drop in your mouth.  The cold of the air tends to take my breath away.  By chewing gum I have eliminated the coughing.  It also keeps me from needing to drink as much water while I am running since the water fountains around the lake are turned off for the season I needed to come up with another solution.

The Ugly Sweater

Posted by on Dec 31, 2011 in Blog, Shopping | 1 comment

I just had finished swimming and was heading home to get ready for an ugly sweater Christmas party.  I was at the stoplight and was reminded of my need for an ugly sweater.  About fifty feet in front of me was an Old Navy.  I thought it was possible they may have some ugly sweaters.  When I pulled into the strip mall area I noticed a consignment shop called, Clothes Mentor.  I decided that I would check it out.

I was browsing around looking for anything ugly that would fit and I was having no luck.  I decided that I would ask one of the sales ladies for help.  Her response to me, “we don’t sell ugly things.”   Priceless.  We began to sift through all the sweaters and with no luck sales lady one asked her coworker if she knew of any ugly sweaters.  Sales lady two knew the perfect one.  She bolted right to the ugliest sweater in the store.

As she held up the ugly sweater it was as if fireworks had just gone off.  Yes, not only was it the perfect sweater it looked like fireworks had just gone off.  It was filled with blue, white, pink, and gold glitter threads that were interwoven into the black yarn.  It was the perfect ugly sweater.  I immediately asked if they had any gold leggings.  Sales lady two said no, but we do have a lot of jewelry we could look through.

 

As I walked towards the front of the store there was a lady heading towards the sweaters I had just finished sifting through and was walking away from the jewelry.  In her hands she was holding the only Christmas brooch the store had.  It was the perfect little brooch.  Sales lady two and I thought the very same thing, perfect.  Sales lady two asked the guest if she was planning on purchasing the brooch.  She told her she was still browsing and wasn’t one hundred percent sure yet.

The guest laid her belongings on the counter so she could continue looking.  With the brooch on top I laid my sweater on the counter and sales lady two took the brooch and placed on top of my ugly sweater.  It was in fact, perfect.

Meanwhile, sales lady one was looking through jewelry trying to find earrings or a necklace or something for me to wear with my ugly sweater.  We joined her in the quest to find something that I could wear with the ugly sweater.  After several minutes sales lady two pulled out the perfect pair of clip-on earrings.  They were located on the bottom-back of the moveable rack of earrings that probably had never seen the day of light.  These earrings were gold and about three and a half inches long.  They had colored jewels hanging from each strand of gold rings that reminded me of the three wisemen.

Sales lady two hung my sweater up behind the counter to hang the earrings over the sweater.  All three of us agreed that they were the best option.  I asked the sales ladies what the likelihood of the other guest purchasing the brooch was.  Sales lady two went to the guest and asked her if she was planning on purchasing the brooch.  The guest had not made up her mind yet.  I told the sales ladies that I would purchase the sweater and earrings, go to Old Navy to see if they had anything and I would be back in ten minutes.

When I walked into Old Navy I walked through the entire store.  I prayed that if there was anything that would go with this sweater that it would just pop out so I didn’t have to waste my time.  At this point I had about an hour before the party started.  I turned the corner from where I was and there in the sales area was a purse that looked exactly like the sweater I had just purchased.  I couldn’t believe it.  And it gets better.  Right above the purse was a pair of glitter shoes, size 8.  Perfect.  I pulled both from the rack and went to the wall size mirror to try it all on.  I had my outfit.  If only I could complete my ensemble with the brooch.

Ugly Sweater Winners!

I made my purchase at Old Navy and returned to Clothes Mentor.  I walk into the store and immediately sales lady two tells me that I got the brooch.  I asked her what happened and why the other lady didn’t want it.  Sales lady two tells me that the guest asked her if the sales ladies liked it and sales lady two told her, eh and shrugs her shoulders.

I officially had my ensemble.  My glitter was the hit of the party.  I won the most likely to cause a seizure award.  The award was a Christmas Santa hat with elf ears.

A Call for True Beauty!

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 in Blog, Relationships, Virtue | 0 comments

A woman wakes up at 5 Am to take a twenty-minute shower.  She spends twenty minutes drying her hair, twenty minutes putting on her make-up, and twenty minutes picking out her outfit.  She spends twenty minutes preparing her low-fat breakfast so she can wear her skinny jeans later that evening.  She brushes her teeth and reapplies her lipstick before she walks briskly out the door to her posh vehicle that she spends a fortune on monthly payments. From the outside this woman looks like she has everything together.  She spends her time consumed by how she looks and what others think of her.  She rarely reads her bible and she makes sure she says a quick prayer before she enters her prestigious job.  She works hard all day, barely takes a lunch break, and scurries home with the hopes that the man she likes has left her a message on her machine. In the meantime, she makes sure she is home for her favorite T.V. reality show at 7 PM.

Tonight I watched The Devil Wears Prada with a few of my friends.  It got me thinking about how woman, including myself, spend so much time in front of the mirror and our thoughts are flooded with ideas of how we are supposed to look, feel, and behave.  It made me think about woman like the one that I wrote about above and how we are consumed by this idea that if only we were prettier, skinnier, dressed better, drove the right car, or had the right job that we might have a better man calling us on the telephone or this day in age, the cell phone.  How deceived our society has become to the reality of true self worth, self-esteem, and inner beauty.  We have forgotten that true beauty is from within, that outward beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive (Proverbs 31:30).

The other day I was running around a local lake in Minneapolis, MN and I saw an older man running towards me on the trail.  His skin was floppy and his muscles were not as defined, but you could tell that he has been a runner most of his life.  I thought to myself how he must have been in pretty good shape in his younger years, but even athletic men become old and wrinkly.

If only this woman would have spent more of her precious time in front of her bible, a good book, or listening to a wiser-older person.  If only this woman would have spent more of her time mentoring a younger woman, serving in her local community, and less time in front of the mirror.  This woman may have found herself a man that actually wants to talk to her, spend time with her, and she may even feel better about herself.  Outward beauty is great, but it doesn’t keep you married, it doesn’t keep your job, and it certainly doesn’t give you more self-worth.  If a man marries you just because of your outward beauty than he probably isn’t the man that will stick around very long.

Look around people.  Everywhere you go, no matter the place, you will find someone who is better looking, smarter, richer, and more successful.  You are not the best.  Nor is the person whom you are comparing yourself to.  You need to create a self-worth founded on truth of who God created you to be.  You need to create a self-worth that is in competition with yourself not your neighbor or your best friend.  You need to spend more time bettering who you are on the inside so that your outward appearance is more attractive.  If only our feelings matched what I am saying.  Nothing that I’m saying is conventional.  It is against everything that media and Hollywood is telling you to do, but I can honestly say if you better your insides your outsides will be more appealing to others.  You will actually be able to hold a conversation.  You will be more confident, more successful, and you may even look younger longer because you aren’t stressed out about what others’ think of you.

A woman wakes up at 5 Am.  She reads her bible, prays, and worships the Lord for an hour.  She spends the next hour showering, drying her hair, putting on her makeup, picking out her outfit, eating breakfast, brushing her teeth and running out the door.  She makes it to work on time in her car that is paid for.  She prays before her morning meeting.  This woman works hard at her job and spends lunch with a co-worker sharing her thoughts on the book that she was reading the night before.  She drives home happy, content, and ready to serve at the food-drive at church.  She likes to match her clothes, but finds bargains or hand-me downs from her friends.  She wants to get married, but trust that God’s will is being done.

You tell me which woman seems more appealing!

Tied Down

Posted by on Jul 22, 2011 in Blog, Relationships | 0 comments

Today is my brother’s wedding anniversary.  The idea of marriage got me thinking about how people in general get freaked out by tying the knot to someone for the rest of their lives.  And I pondered why that might be.

Is it possible that if you are tying the knot to someone you love that you wouldn’t feel “tied down”?  When I think of being tied down, I think of it as a negative thing.  Something that is keeping you from doing the very things that you were created for. Should a person be in a relationship that keeps them from doing the very thing that God created them for?

If I were married to someone who was jealous of my success as a person, I would never succeed.   I would never pursue after my dream of being a Life Coach so I am able to help as many people as the Lord is willing for me to help.  I would walk around with my head a little lower because my options would be limited and I would never be able to use the very gifts God has intended for me to use.

If I were married to someone who kept me “tied down” then I am not married to a person who is showing me true love.  If you are to marry, marry someone who is encouraging you to use your gifts, appreciates your gifts, and someone who wants to use your gifts with you.  Marry someone who loves you for you and who will not keep you from doing the very thing you were created for.

I am not saying to run away from the person whom you are already married to.  I am mostly writing this for people who are currently single or in a relationship and not married.  If you feel discouraged instead of encouraged after talking about your passions with the person you are seeing, then you might want to double check if this person is really best for you.

People feel “tied down” because they will never be able to date another person, because they have to check in with each other, because they can’t go out with their buddies or their gals.  They feel “tied down” because they have this restriction that keeps them from pursuing their dreams.  Some of these things are not bad.  Relationships are sacrificial and one must give up some of what they had been doing as a single person to make the relationship work.  I am more concerned about the passion side of being tied down.

If a person is pursuing their dreams when they have met the person, the person they met already knows what is expected of them in the relationship.  If one starts to change/mask their passions and desires to try and match where the other person is at, then there will be a lot of disappointment after the relationship has been “tied.”  It will surprise the person that they really didn’t like to exercise or that they really wanted to be a career mom and not a stay-at-home mom or vice versa.  This of course is a whole different subject I will cover in another blog at another time.

One must ask if it is worth being in a mediocre relationship with a person who keeps you from doing what you really want and desire.  I would say, Heck No!  Strive for excellence.  Strive for being the best you and only then will you end up in a relationship that not only has honesty a part of it, but also will soar because you are already pursuing after your dream.  You will be a happier you and because of that might even be found more attractive.

Marriage is a wonderful thing!  Marriage is a gift from God that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  My brother and his wife have a wonderful marriage and this blog doesn’t represent who they are as a couple.  In fact, it is just the opposite. They both have pursued their dreams.  Each of them has sacrificed their own comforts for each other.  Together they made their dreams happen.  They both encourage each other to be a better person and I would have to say that although they tied the knot eight years ago, neither one is “tied down” from reaching and attaining their dreams that God has given them.  Proud of you bro!

Humility Through Suffering

Posted by on Jul 22, 2011 in Blog, Virtue | 0 comments

“Don’t break your arm patting yourself on your back”

By Ruth Winland, my great-aunt

As I was researching scriptures about humility and pride, I came across 1 Peter and got stuck on this passage in chapter five.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. “

1 Peter 5:6

First, I was struck that humility is under God’s hand.  This means that we are not humble on our own.  We need God in order to be a humble person.  Naturally we are prideful, self-centered, and selfish.  God creates in us humility.  He does this in a few different ways and he has other purposes in those ways.

This passage also struck me because we often times want more than we are actually given.  We think we deserve more than what we have.  We think that somehow we are more than we actually are.  God wants to lift us up, but he can’t do that if we are doing it ourselves.  If I were to tell other people how pretty I am and how great I am at xyz skill, not only would people be irritated with me, I would leave no room for others to compliment me.  I have already done that myself.  If I tell God how great I am at a skill he equipped me to have, I give him no room to actually use my skill the way he designed it to be used.  I do the skill in my own way and therefore limit the skill to my own power, which really isn’t that much or none at all.

If you keep reading it gets better:

“Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

My enemy, the devil is looking for something in someone.  What is he looking for?  He is looking for weakness.  He is going to inflict people with different sufferings and wait to see how we are going to react.  When we struggle, he will feed off of our struggle to make things worse.  We often times make things harder than they actually are because we are focused so much on the problem rather than on our Problem-Solver.  The devil will be looking for our soft spots to push, bruise, and inflict pain.  He starts out small but will keep pushing and devouring until the sin, lie, or issue, etc is deeply routed into ourselves.  We often times bring about our own deeper suffering because we don’t resist him or stand firm in our faith.

“Resist him.  Standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are under going the same kind of sufferings”  1 Peter 5:9

When we resist him by telling ourselves the lie isn’t true, using scripture to fight the lie, and by not praying through the lie we set ourselves up for deeper wounds.  These take longer to heal.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”       1 Peter 5:10

God gives us the power to resist the devil by allowing us to suffer for a while.  Did you hear that?  We will suffer for a while.  Why?  So that we can acknowledge our weakness and our dependents on Jesus.  This will then cause us to become stronger so when the devil is prowling around us again, we are equipped to resist him even more.   The life of a Christian is not easy, nor should it be.  In order to become more like Christ we need to be humble.  In order to be humble we need to suffer a little while so that we can acknowledge our Creator of our gifts, talents, beauty, etc.

Our Creator wants the praise and glory for what he has equipped us to do.  When we are humble, he will lift us up in due time so he may use it for his glory, honor, and praise.  When we do things on our own, without acknowledging our Creator, we are doing them in vain.

What am I saying?

  1. Acknowledge that the skill or talent that you have is from God
  2. Do it without boasting or expecting others to notice
  3. Thank people who do compliment you, still acknowledging where it came from
  4. Rely on God, the author and perfecter of our faith for the power to do your skill or talent
  5. Use your skill or talent
  6. Be thankful for the skill or talent you have been given
  7. Be content with the skill or talent you have been given

Don’t Stop Running

Posted by on Jul 22, 2011 in Blog, Coaching, Health and Fitness | 0 comments

“If you do what you’ve always done, you will always get the same results”

Today I ran three miles around Lake Calhoun with a couple of friends.  I haven’t run that far in a very long time.  The purpose of me running three miles is for this triathlon I am in the process of training for.  I knew that running would be the hardest part of the tri, so I started extremely early in my training process to accomplish this goal.  As I reflected about this process that I am going through to attain this goal that I have for myself it made me think of how often fear, complaining, and making excuses keeps us from doing what we really want.  Now for the purpose of this blog I am going to use running as the example for accomplishing goals.  Feel free to change it to whatever is applicable to your life.  Not all of us are meant to run.  I still question if I am one of those people or not.

A person can read about running, coach running, talk to people who run, and buy the best running shoes and still not be able to run three miles.  Now don’t get me wrong when I say those things; all of those are good things and help in the process of an accomplishment, but if we never get off the couch we will never run three miles (or more).

A person might fear running that far because they fear the unknown, the process, or they can’t fathom what they haven’t done.  They don’t want the pain of failure in the process of the accomplishment.  They don’t want others to judge them or to criticize them because their ego will be bruised.  People might fear that they will never actually get to their goal and so why try at all.   I have a former student who quit track right before the Sections meet because he knew he wouldn’t win the State competition.  He could go and maybe get third, tenth or twentieth place, but that wasn’t good enough.  He feared failing and missed out on a great accomplishment.  Not many people can say they have been to state let alone, get third place.

A person might want to run three miles but they haven’t run in a very long time. And even though they used to be able to run three miles or even six they have to start their training from the very bottom.  Hoping they might finish a mile, they complain about their muscles hurting, or their knee, or their hip (that’s my ailment).  They might complain about not having enough time to run because they have too many things to do, the weather is bad, their shoes aren’t new enough.  People are very cleaver in their reasons for not going after what they really want.  So that makes me wonder if they really want it or if they like the illusion of the goal being accomplished.

If a person comes to me and complains about something-anything doesn’t matter what it is, I will listen.  I will give advice if asked and let them go on their way.  If they come to me another time and their problem is still their problem and they are still complaining about it, I will ask what they have done to try to reconcile the issue.  If they come to me a third time and complain about the same problem, I will tell them that it doesn’t seem like they really want to get rid of their problem.  Some people “thrive” off of complaining or always having a problem, but what they don’t realize is that what they are doing is actually hindering them from really truly thriving.  I understand some things are uncontrollable and they can’t change those things, but we are called to rise above those uncontrollable things and change the things we can.

So what would happen if we stopped fearing the unknown or the outcome, we stopped complaining or making excuses and we humbled ourselves and started to run around the block, then two blocks? Then we run a mile, then two, and soon after weeks of humility we accomplished our goal.  How amazing would that be?  Goals do not have to be accomplished right away.  If we are patient through the process and work towards our goal, we will succeed at them.  If there are obstacles, then find a way around them or just jump right through them.