Vibes Schmibes

I have a friend who is into vibes. Really into those vibes. She sends happy vibes, positive vibes, affirming vibes, shining vibes into the universe all the time. She sends them my way (I kind of wonder how that is actually done) and she instructs her social media followers to send similar vibes in all sorts of different directions. Her world is a vibey place.

 

Along with that she is all about speaking things into the universe. She believes that when we speak positively and throw things out into the great unknown, the universe will hear us and bless us. The universe is just waiting for us to name and claim things and once we let the universe know that we really want good and happy things— they will happen. It’s magic!

 

Now, I know that this happy positive vibey universe engaging philosophy is a weak kind of “religion” and I know that blessings are from God and not from the universe and it doesn’t matter how much we implore mother nature for sunshine, God controls everything… but what about the power of positive thinking?

 

You see– it’s been a weird year for me and it’s been a year where at times I have not been feeling very positive or deliriously happy or able to hold onto the belief that good things are comin my way. I spent a lot of time fighting for the ability to be okay. Some days that was easier than other days.

 

BUT THEN — I suddenly felt like things were changing. Dark clouds were clearing. I was feeling happier, lighter, healthier. And the thing is– it wasn’t because of all the vibes people were sending me, it was because God was teaching me some big things. It wasn’t about my flinging the dreams into the universe, it was about me trusting God completely and me finding joy in the act of doing so. It was about me finally being able to truly and fully believe that God is good and God is for me. That’s what filled me up and that’s what made me smile and that’s what gave me true joy. So yes, the world is right when it recognizes that seemingly positive people seem to attract good things but it’s dead wrong when it comes to understanding why. So I will never send positive vibes your way, but I will pray that whatever you’re going through, you will be able to “consider it all joy” as you trust in our great God to bring you through whatever it is you’re facing in the days ahead.

On a Rainy Easter Monday

I have been thinking about relationships a lot lately. Relationships with family and friends and… boys. I have been thinking about how easy it is to wreck these relationships and how difficult it is sometimes to see past the humanity of our family, friends and… boys and be able to love and accept these people anyway.

I have been thinking about how we hurt each other by accident or on purpose and how deep down we are all very selfish. I have been thinking about how for me, it’s difficult to talk out or fight out certain difficult issues that arise. It’s hard for me to believe that if I fight with someone, they will come back. I’m not quite sure where this idea comes from but while I can talk a tough game, I hate conflict.

I know that God is our perfect Father, Jesus is our brother and our friend forever. I know that the Holy Spirit is always with me, urging me and prodding me and guiding me through my daily life. I know this but it tends to not sink in as much as it should.

What differs our relationship with God from our other relationships in life is that He is perfect, He can be completely trusted-all the time, He is not a sinful human being.

I have had times in my life where I neglect God, where I squeeze in time with Him to ease my conscience and not because I really want to. I can go for a while without consulting Him and often my prayers can become filled with asking Him for things instead of worshipping Him and enjoying Him. What friend would put up with that?

I continue to appreciate the fact that even when I drift away a little, He welcomes me back and helps me get back on track. I can’t think of a person I know who would be okay with me saying: “I’m sorry I have been neglecting you, help me to start loving you more because right now it’s really hard.” Yet God does. He forgives my humanity, my weakness, my selfishness and He helps me move past it.

I know that as Christians we often compare our relationship with God to relationships we have in the world but it is so much more than that. It is so much better than that. We can’t hide from Him, He sees our ugliness and loves us anyway. That’s a pretty incredible thing.

And so on this Easter Monday, I am thankful for many things particularly that God made it so that we can be in a relationship with Him through His son Jesus. Incredible!

 

 

Thursday Thoughts

It seems like we can never get everything to be okay all at the same time. When one hurdle is jumped it’s only a matter of time before the next one pops up. I didn’t mean to begin this in a Debbie Downer tone because this isn’t a pity party post. I remember my mom once telling me that God puts difficult people in our lives for a reason and when one leaves the scenario, it’s only a matter of time before another one enters. And she wasn’t being a Debbie Downer either, even though her name is Deb. She was teaching me that I have to embrace the fact that less-than-stellar aka more-grace-required people will always be present in our everyday. Fun right?

One thing that I’ve noticed is how amazing it is that I can take these situations and people to God in prayer. I have written before about how praying over difficult people, I think it was students at the time, has an amazing effect. I continue to find this to be true. I sometimes think that God puts those people in our lives so that we will continue to rely on Him, over and over, every. single. day. I don’t enjoy doing life with annoying people but if that is what keeps me praying for patience and love and kindness… well in a strange sort of way.. it’s worth it.
Last night, in the middle of the night, I checked my phone. That’s a bad thing to do. It’s a bad thing to do for many many reasons but it happened. I read an email with content that gave me an idea about what my Thursday would end up revolving around. I stewed and fretted about it for a while and then decided to plan my early morning in such a way that I would be in control of all the things of which I could be in control. I went for a run so my body wouldn’t feel gross. I drank coffee and ate oatmeal so my stomach wouldn’t feel weird. I spent time praying about the situation so my heart wouldn’t feel messed up. I psyched myself up and all of these little things really helped.
I was also listening to Casting Crowns and the line: “You are the only one who can calm every storm” really jumped out at me. I did need God to go before me and calm the storms I was about to face. It was so comforting to know that He would do that. I felt like I had everything I needed to go into the day.
And so now the day is almost over and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I am still in the midst of the storm in some regards but I feel like God is here with me and giving me everything I need to get through it.
I love that God takes care of us on every level.

Alone Time

Since August I have been running in the mornings 4-5 times a week. I should be in amazing shape however I’m running with 40-60 girls who while lovely in their own ways, take up more energy than the actual workouts. It’s been fantastic running with them and coaching them and getting to know them and seeing them improve but I’m starting to become anxious to get this season finished.

I miss my alone time. Running for me is about so much more than exercise. It’s about processing and breathing and getting my head in the right place before the day begins. It’s about being in tune with my body and what my body can do and should be able to do. It’s about getting myself grounded before the day begins.

When I’m not coaching, I actually do the 4:44am thing which is earlier than my coaching wake up call at 5:21 but I find I’m way more tired with this coaching thing. From before 7am I have the little voices asking me all sorts of things and it doesn’t stop until I’m tucked back into my hobbit hole of an apartment at the end of the day. I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing that it’s starting to drain on me. But the season is fairly short and we’re in the final stretch so I know it will all right itself.

I have learned so much from coaching and am forever grateful for the opportunity to do it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my students, myself and running. I am now in the process of setting my own personal goals and trying to figure out what’s next for me in terms of running and races and all of that fun stuff. I’ve been able to witness the excitement of meets and actually, right now I’m in Guam for a tournament. All good things but I’m also happy that the season is short.

I am so looking forward to November 5th when at 5 am it will just be me and my running shoes.

Christian Songs Are Kind of Scary

I remember a little over a year ago, sitting around somewhere and hearing a friend start to plunk out on the guitar that ever familiar chorus of Matt Redman’s Blessed Be Your Name: “You give and take away, You give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Blessed be Your name.” She was happily strumming along and singing it in a way that I could clearly see she wasn’t actually grasping the intensity of those lyrics. I remember thinking: “No no no! Singing about God taking away things should never be done in that key, that quickly, that upbeat-ly.” That’s a hard thing to praise God for. And sadly, during that time of my life, I was never able to sing that song. In fact it got deleted from my playlist.

It’s funny how a song can continue to haunt you.

Fast forward to now and that song is back on the playlist. God didn’t take away what I was afraid He would yet that song still catches me off guard. Am I really able to say Blessed Be Your Name even when/if He takes away something I desperately hope He will not?

This week I’ve been working on being able to sing that and mean it. I think I’m really nearly almost there. That song does come on some mornings and I somewhat flinch but I’m okay with it and I can pray along with it.

There are other songs that keep playing though and I wonder just how many lyrics I’ve sung over the years with a poor understanding of what they actually mean. It’s so easy to get caught up in the catchy beat or a phrase we find is worth writing down and mulling over but to really internalize these lyrics that we sing…to really mean them… that’s a pretty incredible thing.

While I was making breakfast Chris Tomlin’s song Lay Me Down started to play and “It will be my joy to say, Your will, Your way” started to hit me. It sounds so nice and joyful but what happens when His will and His way makes us ever so uncomfortable? What happens when His will and His way plunges us into sadness and grief? What happens when His will and His way seems so opposite to what we think we need to be happy? It’s tough…

So I can quickly press next and get something a little more upbeat or I can turn to the Bible and there.. promises.

He will not leave us, nor forsake us.

He will not give us more than we can handle.

He will provide comfort.

He will be enough.

He will help us be brave and courageous.

He will hold us in His wings and keep us close to Him.

He will make us aware of His steadfast love.

He will continue to be faithful to us.

And He will help us get to the point where we can sing to Him, no matter what happens in our lives: Blessed Be Your Name.

Somewhat Despicable Me

dear-me Dear Me,

Sometimes you are really rather stupid. I’m writing this so that you can avoid such stupidity in the future. So you ran a race and then what happened to you? Yes, you were sore and tired and a little over the whole experience of putting on your running shoes and so you just… stopped? True, people told you to take a few days off, to recover and to just take it easy. But you took it a step further and just stopped. You know what happens when you stop doing something that deep down you ultimately love…. you get all weird.
Today you went for a run for the first time this week and notice how awake you are now? Notice how much better everything seems to be? Notice how good that morning shower felt? Don’t forget that.
Running in the morning is something that makes you, you. Keep doing it, even on the days you don’t want to. You know that you actually really and truly are a better person on the days that you run. Running affects everything: how you feel about yourself, how you feel in clothes, how you feel about life, what you decide to eat for breakfast, what you choose to mull over in your mind and what you choose to ignore. Running helps you burn through negativity and shows you what to focus on. You love running and you know that it is especially good on the days you really don’t want to do it. So no more! You are back to being the girl who runs 3-4 days a week whether you want to be or not!
Stop being lazy and stupid. You’re better than that!
Sincerely,
The Better Version of You.

A Daily Thing

quiet times If you were to read my prayer journal (no peeking, it’s private) you would probably give me low marks when it comes to variety of my prayer requests. Not because I don’t have much to pray about but more because it seems like I am constantly needing to pray about the same things over and over.

I have a few constant struggles that if I’m not daily addressing in prayer, seem to dominate my thoughts and life. I grow frustrated with how I’m always praying about these things but as someone once told me, if my continuous struggles are what keeps me in constant communication with God, well it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I was reading in Psalm 68 this morning about how God daily bears us up (vs 19). Emphasis on the word daily. I sensed immense comfort in knowing that this is just one of the amazing things our God does for us. He daily bears me. It’s okay that I need Him to do that every day. It’s okay that without asking Him for help, I’m not able to handle certain situations.

The Psalm ends with “He is the one who gives power and strength to his people” (35) which just further shows me how present He is/needs to be in my life.

God is the source. He has all the good stuff. He’s there to bear us up, to give us what we need in order to get through the day, from helping us form better attitudes and thought patterns to our salvation.

Sometimes the simplest ideas seem the most difficult to grasp. So whatever it is that you’re facing this week, remember it is God who bears us up daily and gives us the power and strength we need to get through the day, the week, the month… We have help in this!