Resting in my Race

 

When thinking on my new year’s goals (which I rarely set) and the onset of the age 40, I decided one night it was time to run a half marathon. I don’t run, but it seemed like a great idea at the time. I think the time was around 11:40 p.m.

I convinced my husband to join me, bought some running shoes and downloaded a training plan. I hit the gym the next week and began to train. After one mile, my body was screaming at me. Did I mention that I have an old back injury and my physical therapist told me years ago to never run? Anyway, day after day, I went to the gym to run. Night after night, my body was hating me. So after about 3 weeks of this nonsense I decided I was not a runner and had signed up for the wrong race. I am more of a yoga, stroll in the park kinda girl anyway. Or a dance-a-thon. I would kill that race.

I realized this morning that I have also signed up for the wrong race in my personal life. I have been looking around at all these other runners, envious of their race and wishing mine was a little different. This year God gave me the word “Rest” to focus on. I saw this morning how tired and achy I have become trying to run a race that hasn’t been given to me and definitely doesn’t belong to me. There is rest in the race that belongs to us, friends. Scripture teaches that we are each uniquely gifted and equipped for our race. A race that God assigned to us.

Take a minute and access what race you are running. If it’s yours, keep going! If it’s not, stop and begin to ask God to show you his perfect place and path for you. Rest in that. What a good word!

Hebrews 12:1 Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

 2 Samuel 22:33-34 The God who has girded me with strength has opened wide my path. He makes my feet like the deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.

Isaiah 40:29 Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will run and not grow weary.

Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

 

Bloom

Hey friends! I pray you have stepped into 2018 with some new, fresh words in your head and heart. Words that bless and heal. Have you considered picking a word for 2018? One to focus and reflect on? One that inspires and restores you? Consider this!

I am excited to share a fresh word from my dear friend, Ashley Jansen. She is a lover of words and her heart is to use God’s words to bless and heal others! I believe her words are the perfect challenge to us this month as we begin 2018!

“Do you ever wish you were blind?  I do.  I mean I am not trying to be insensitive and of course I don’t really desire not to see, but there are things I wish I was blind to.  I feel it would make the comparison trap not-so-trap-like.  I would stop striving for the next thing and just be content with the current thing.  I’d be ok with my current grade rather than desiring my neighbor’s upgrade.  I wouldn’t be able to see Jo-Jo’s latest beautiful project full of ship-lap or the latest magazine with the beautiful (unrealistic-touched-up) star on the cover.

It’s hard to put the blinders on, which is why I wish I was blind sometimes.  I think about the type of blinders you see on the horse of a horse-drawn carriage.  He can only see in front of him to stay his path.  Those are the type of blinders I wish someone could put on me.

My late mentor, Regina Williams, (who Kimberly modeled the Words Journal from) used to tell us all the time, “Bloom where you are planted”. IMG_4655 She would encourage us that God had planted us exactly where we are for a purpose and he desired us to thrive and bloom in that season.  My personal opinion is the more you look over at someone else’s garden where they are planted the less you bloom where you are planted. This keeps you from reaching the full potential God desires, thus you stay in that spot for longer (sometimes longer than he intended).

The comparison trap is hard.  Social media gives us our friend’s highlight real that doesn’t measure up to our normal, mundane day.  The neighbor got the new model of your dream car and now you are grumpy about your perfectly fine and working car.  Your sister is getting the new kitchen you have always wanted.  Or maybe it’s even more personal.  You got asked to be a bridesmaid again and you still have no ring of your own.  You received another baby shower invitation and you really thought the next baby celebrated would be yours.  Regina would say, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Saturate your life with His words so that your roots dig down so deep you wouldn’t want to be planted anywhere else.  His desires for you include a prosperous life full of blooms (Jeremiah 29:11).

I think this can also apply to situations you may not really want to bloom.  This was me 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was in a struggle with my heavenly father.  I didn’t want to bloom here.  But the more I fought it the harder the season was.  When I accepted cancer and chose to dig my roots deep into the soil of my circumstance the bloom that came forth was hearty, beautiful, and oh so fragrant.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe it wasn’t cancer, but maybe it was some other sort of medical or physical ailment. Maybe it was a broken relationship or marriage.  Maybe it was a prodigal child.  Maybe it was job loss.  Maybe it was grief.  My sweet beautiful friend – dig your roots into that soil.  Your father wants to grow a beautiful bloom from you.

Is there something in your current circumstances that you are resisting?  Could it be God has you exactly where he wants you on purpose, for a purpose so that your roots can grow deep and he can produce blooms in your life?

Is there something in your life you have grown discontent over that the Lord is asking for you to remain where he has you, stop resisting, and just bloom where you are planted?

Grab your words journal (https://www.etsy.com/shop/wordsjournal) and tease out those questions.  Be honest with your heavenly father, because he cares about you (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7).  He wants to hear your heart!”

What a good word friends! Let’s all find our place to bloom in 2018!

Ashley Jansen is wife of 14 years to Mark and mom to three boys, Hamilton (10), Luke (5), and Garrett (2). Originally from Texas, she has lived in Forsyth County for the last 13 years. She loves Mexican food, watching football and baseball, reading a good book, making Excel spreadsheets, and prefers candy over chocolate and Dr. Pepper over Coke. She is a recent breast cancer survivor, but still prefers purple over pink. You can connect with her at https://ashleyjansen.com .

Broken Legs

you are freeI received an amazing book for Christmas, You are Free, by Rebekah Lyons. This book is about her journey to freedom. After reading a few chapters, I began praying about my own freedom and God gave me a vision. I was at Lake Lanier at the huge rock everyone jumps off of. I jumped off the rock and into the lake but came out of the water with broken legs. After praying through this vision, the Lord revealed that the Lake = peace and my broken legs = surrender. The verse the Lord gave me was Psalm 147:10 “His delight is not in the legs of the warrior.”

The Lord spoke loudly that if I was to enter his peace, my legs would have to be broken. Ugh, broken legs hurt, so does surrender. Surrendering my thought life, my goals, my plans, my striving, my performance, my need to be right, my need to know the plan…surrender everything. He told me earlier this would be a year of rest. Who knew resting would require such effort? Peace is worth the effort though. Last year I had been praying for peace! 

Back to broken legs, though. Doesn’t it seem that God’s economy operates completely opposite from the world? What good is a warrior with broken legs? (Did you know that if you are a Christ follower, then you are a warrior? Check out Eph. 6!) The legs of the warrior are strong and give support. The warrior can’t fight without his legs. Well, I think God wants his warriors broken. The Bible is full of examples of God’s children being broken before receiving His peace. The Israelites were tired, hungry, and humbled before entering their promised land. Saul was blinded before receiving his ministry as Paul. Peter denied Christ before he was named a Rock on which the church would stand. Our most mighty Warrior became broken bread for His children, which allowed us to enter His eternal peace.

Psalm 51:8 and 17 say “Let these bones which you have broken rejoice…The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. Look with favor on Zion and help her rebuild.”

In God’s economy, brokenness always brings new life.

Psalm 148:14 says “He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones.”

What a good word, friends! He doesn’t desire our strength, but in Him, he makes us strong!