We Are Capable . . . Of ANYTHING!!

The other day, I shared on my Facebook page how excited I was to increase the level of my strength training. For the first time, I attempted some of the equipment in the back of the gym with the help of Chelsea, another AMAZING trainer at my gym. I had been using the machines in the front for a long time, and I just stayed with those machines since they felt “safe”. However, I knew I would have to beef up my strength training if I ever planned to increase my running speed, so last week I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Guess what? I sweated my guts out, felt the burn, and I loved every second of it! Not only did I survive, I conquered!! The TRX single leg squats, triceps fallouts, inverted row, and the 300 ft. rope pull down were BEASTS, but after using them only twice so far, I can already tell a difference.

I mentioned on Facebook how I never knew how much I was capable of doing with running and exercise until I just got out there and DID IT!! The same goes for the Christian life. None of us ever know what we are truly capable of. If we let the seemingly “small” things slip . . . such as the essentials like daily Bible reading and prayer . . . after a while, we start to look at our lives and wonder how we ever got to wherever we are. Have you wondered how a high-profile minister (or any other Christian) can commit adultery or any other sin? It’s because he has allowed himself to neglect the basic necessities of the Christian life . . . the very same things that are preached to his congregation!! When we hear of a minister who commits sin, many times our natural response is anger. However, at the same time, it makes me realize even more how important it is for me to stay focused and not to allow any known sin to remain unconfessed in my life.

My heart is broken every time I hear of a minister who falls into sin. It not only affects his life, but it affects the lives of his parishioners as well.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Also, here is Proverbs 4:23: “Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life.”

When I was at my heaviest weight a year and a half ago, I knew I had made a lot of wrong choices to get there. I knew what I had to do to get the weight off. I also knew it would not happen overnight. When I started training myself to run, I knew it would be a long, arduous task. In just the last seven months of training, I can see how my hard work has paid off.

Just as we must make necessary changes to restore our bodies to optimum health, we as Christians must also be determined to make necessary changes to restore fellowship with God if our fellowship has been broken. We must never give up, no matter what. As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have hope for a change in Christ! God does not give up on us. We must remember that His love for us never depends on anything we do. God’s love is because of everything that God is!! It is the most perfect example of unconditional love that ever existed. No matter what we have done, God stands ready and waiting to wrap His arms of love and forgiveness around us. Yes, we must face consequences for our actions, but God gives us what we need to handle those consequences. He yearns for us to run to Him with open arms, empty of self, and say, “Here I am, God. Here I am with all of my imperfections. Fill me with Yourself, and use me as You see fit!”

When we seek forgiveness, make necessary restitutions, and humbly submit ourselves to God, we may never know the full extent of what God is capable of doing in us and through us, but we will certainly enjoy sitting back and watching Him work in the little things . . . EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!!

Until next time . . . let’s keep on running!!!

I Can, Because God Can!

As I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, I have started my own personal word study of the words “can” and “cannot” in the Bible. I am still in the beginning stages (I’m up to verse number 85 out of the 285 listings of the word “can”). There is so much that God has already shown me, but it’s still going to take me a while to get all of my thoughts organized so that I can clearly share everything with all of you.

One thing about Bible reading, I have found that I learn more when I read the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation . . . no “Bible studies” or Bible reading plans that make me skip from one passage to another . . . just a straight, pure reading from God’s Word to see what God says about Himself. I have nothing against Bible studies, but I personally use those resources as the “salt and pepper” to the real “meat” of the Bible itself. I am now on my third reading of the Bible for the year. A few days ago, I started reading in the book of Exodus about Moses and the children of Israel. The thing that stood out to me was that God chose Moses to lead the children of Israel out of bondage, but Moses was the one who kept saying he was not physically capable. During the entire burning bush encounter, God never implied that Moses could not do the job even after all of the excuses Moses gave! If God calls us to do a task, He gives us everything we need physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to complete that task.

I always like to use my running as a parallel to the life lessons God teaches me in His Word. Training myself to run has taught me that we don’t have to be in competition with each other. I do want to continue to improve my time and stamina. I know what to do to make that happen. The thing is, I never feel pressured by anyone else even when I’m in an official race. When I’m focused on what everyone else is doing, I’m not concentrating on my own goals. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy competition, but if competition is the only reason why I do anything in life, I’m doing it for the wrong reason. The real satisfaction comes in the completion of the race and the lessons learned along the way.

The same goes with Christian ministry. If God has called me to a task, He has chosen that task specifically for me. That does not mean that I am better at it than anyone else, or that anyone else is better than me. It means that that God wants to use the task He has given me to draw me and others closer to Himself. I may not win any contests or medals, but as in racing, the ultimate joy comes with the lessons learned along the journey, and with the satisfaction of knowing that the task was completed the way in which God intended.

Before we criticize Moses about his lack of confidence in himself and God, as Christians we must ask ourselves how many times we have made excuses why we can’t do something we know God has called us to do. God has already promised us that He will give us whatever we need to do what He wants. Again, I use my running as a parallel, because as I mentioned in a previous post, running is something I never thought I could do because of my clubbed feet. Doctors told me that I should not do any physical activity that involved running, so I avoided it as much as I could. However, as my dad used to say all of the time, none of us will ever really know whether or not we can do something until we at least try. Out of curiosity, I tried in January. So far, I have run TWO races, and I’m looking for a THIRD! God has given me the physical stamina, focus, and determination to keep going. I am finally learning that no matter what the task, I CAN do it . . . because GOD can do it!

Until next time . . . let’s keep on running!!!

Memories of Dad

I am so thankful for the years God allowed my dad to spend with my mother (they were married for 53 years), sister and her family, and me. The wisdom and leadership he gave to us are gifts I will cherish for as long as I live.

Dad was a go-getter. He never met a stranger. We used to laugh when we would go on vacation, because we could be hundreds of miles away from home in an out-of-the-way place, and within 10-15 minutes, Dad would meet someone who grew up in the next town from where he was born! Dad was also a good salesman. He was an insurance salesman for almost as long as I can remember. His positive outlook and love for people were beneficial in his chosen career.

I think I’m a lot like Dad in more ways than I ever realized when I was younger. As a child, I had to spend a lot of time inside our house while recovering from surgery instead of playing outside with other kids. As a result, I retreated within myself. It was difficult at times to relate to other kids at school since I had to spend most of my time alone or with adults. I was in my mid thirties when I finally began to learn what true confidence in God and in myself really meant. My similarities to Dad began to blossom at that time.

Dad loved all of his family dearly. He was the youngest of nine children. All but two of his siblings have now passed away (Dad included). All of his siblings have children and grandchildren. Our family reunions are HUGE!! My grandpa also had several brothers and sisters, but Dad’s immediate family always has the largest representation at our annual gatherings.

One of Dad’s weaknesses was food. He used to joke that he liked “see” food . . . if he saw it, he ate it! The spicier it was, the better he liked it. I used to laugh when we went out to eat, because Dad had a sweat gland in the back of his neck that worked overtime if he was enjoying a spicy food. However, Dad enjoyed too much of the wrong kinds of foods, and it caught up with him. He was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes when he was not much older than I am now. He tried to control it with diet and exercise, but Dad was never one to use discretion when it came to controlling food portions. Therefore, he had to go on insulin. I’m not a medical expert, but in my opinion, the diabetes was the catalyst to Dad’s other physical problems that eventually took his life a year ago last February.

One of the reasons I am training to run races (besides proving to myself that I CAN) is to get my body back in shape. At the time of Dad’s death, I was at my heaviest weight . . . 226.5. My BMI showed me as obese. I was physically heading in the same direction my dad went, and I knew I had to do something immediately. I joined Weight Watchers . . . again . . . in April of 2017. I am happy to say that I am over 50 pounds down! I am not one of those people who says everyone should join Weight Watchers, but I just know that it works for me. You can’t beat eating right and exercising, especially when you’re part of a plan that keeps you accountable.

Over the last year and a half, I have had a few memories of Dad that have caused tears to flow. I believe God understands that. Training myself to run has not only built my confidence, but it has also been an emotional release. Maybe that’s another reason why God has given me the desire to run at this stage in life. Each time I run, I can feel my dad cheering me on as he’s looking down from Heaven.

Until next time . . . let’s keep on running!

I Am Me

I am the kind of person who has to figure out on my own where my current abilities lie and what I have to do to improve. I’ve always been told that I “march to the beat of my own drummer”, and that is just fine with me! My methods for improvement may not work for everyone else, but they work for me. I admire people who know how to think outside of the box in order to get things done. I may not always agree with them in certain areas, but people like that tend to be trendsetters and leaders. As far as my running goes, I still want to keep improving, and I know what I have to do to make it happen. I went running in one of our local parks again yesterday. I knew I was going to be pushing it, but I also knew if I didn’t start pushing even harder that my speed would stay the same as it was. I wanted to see how close to 40 minutes I could get. I got my Pandora going in my ears . . . I’m a Southern Gospel girl . . . gotta have good thoughts going through my head while I run . . . and I also pulled up my running app. I’ve been using ZenLabs Fitness, and it’s AWESOME!! One of the nice things is that you can repeat previous weeks that you’ve already finished if you want to. Even though I’ve graduated up to their 10K app, I decided to go back several weeks and just run their equivalent of a 5K which is a total of 40 minutes. I ran it in 35:44!!! I had to look at my timer at least two or three times to make sure I read it correctly, and I DID!!

I said all of that to say that I don’t always do things like everyone else, but I know what works for me, and I do it. I am not everyone else anyway . . . I am ME!! God made me in His image. Sure, I have weaknesses . . . all of us do. God knows that. He created me exactly the way He wants me to be. I love what the psalmist David said in Psalm 139:14:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

WE are “marvellous” because GOD’s WORKS are “marvellous”!! How exciting is that???!!! If we are “marvellous” as David said, we are most certainly physically capable of doing EVERYTHING God chooses for us to do in the way He chooses for us to do it, no matter of what anyone else says, thinks, or does. Readers, take comfort in that thought!!

Until next time . . . let’s keep on running!!