Aside

A new season. . . A new race

I’ve recently found myself walking into a new season of my walk with the Lord and I was slightly unsure of how to respond to this new season. . . until now.

For the past couple of months I’ve been in a place of “lots of questions”. Questions like:

 “What am I going to do once school is over?”

“Once I get out of school am I going to make enough money to support myself. . . and later down the line, a wife and kids?”

“I’ve got some big things coming up that are going to require lots of money. . . where’s that money going to come from?”

These were just a few of the hundreds of questions that shot through my mind on a daily basis. I found these questions causing a lot of worry to arise in my life. (and worry is something I don’t do)

My prayers were mostly “Jesus, I don’t know what to do. . . HELP!” Side note:  just in case you don’t know, Jesus really likes prayers like that because it takes all the pressure off of us, and puts it all on Him. (1 Peter 5:7)

That brings us to this morning, Sunday, April 27, 2014. This morning we had a guest speaker at Crossroads named Wes Martin. Wes is on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. He talked about how our primary purpose in this journey of life is to love Jesus (Matt 22:36-37) first and foremost. Everything in a Christians life should stem from that one thing. . . to love Jesus rightly. He went on to talk about how Paul compares this journey of life to two things: a race and a fight in 1 Cor 9:24-27. Wes mentioned that in order for us to succeed in this race or in this fight we must be focused, we must be disciplined, and we must be prepared.

Being prepared? This was the question I began to ask myself during the service, and in that question is the key to answering the questions I had been asking myself over the past couple of months.

In order for me (or us) to be prepared for this race/fight I have to know what to expect, right? If I’m going to train for a triathlon I’m going to need to know what to expect during that triathlon. Now I’m not going to begin to say I know all the “ins and outs” of what the enemy is going to throw my way (that’s where I/we have to continually rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit) but one thing I do know is that the enemy will try to tell me/us things or cause me/us to worry in order to get our focus off of Jesus. John 10:10 says “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”  So obviously the enemy is out to get us, plain and simple. 

That was my answer, remembering that the enemy was out to destroy my life, and he was trying to do it by causing me to worry about my future. He was trying to get my eyes set on the bad rather than fixing my eyes on the good. Jesus tell us in Matthew 6:31-34 not to worry about to tomorrow because tomorrow will have its own trouble.

So for you, the reader of this blog, know that the enemy is out to get you and he’s always going to start by attacking your mind. If he can get you to think contrary to the Word of God (which is 100% true) then he’s won. Be prepared for the attack and recognize it when it comes. When the attack comes remember: Jesus is fiercely committed to you. . . committed to the point of death (Wes said that this morning and I couldn’t wait to use it). (John 10:11)

If you’re worried or anxious, if you have hundreds of crazy thoughts flooding your mind, if your stressed, just sit back and relax. Put those worries in the hands of Jesus. He’s just waiting for you to give them to Him.

 Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11: 28-30

Advertisements

What’s your passion?

Among my many passions, exercise is near the top (coffee and the outdoors are at the top). Exercise has become a way of life. I’ve found out that during the week when I don’t get some form of exercise in, I end up feeling lazy and unproductive (same as when I don’t start my day talking with Jesus). Now I know what your thinking, “He’s one of those gym rats who spends 3 hours a day, 7 days a week in the gym.” False. That is a stereotype that only a few fall into. I exercise during the week and make sure to take one or two days off during the week to let my body rest, but I digress. My passion for exercise has become a way for me to connect to the Lord. . . especially when I run.

image.jpeg 2

For the past two years I have run the Tough Mudder race. This is a 13 mile race, designed by the British Special Forces, that tests your overall strength as well as your endurance. The race usually begins with the “Arctic Enema”, this is just a fancy way of saying its an ice bath you have to swim through. At some point in the race you will be faced with “trench warfare” where you will have to crawl underground in the pitch black through a maze of tunnels until you finally reach the opening on the other end. Other obstacles include jumping off 25 ft walls, pulling yourself, along with your buddies (and those girls who thought they were strong enough to compete) over 10ft walls, carrying 200lb logs on your shoulders, and running through fire. That was the easy part, after running your 13 miles in the grueling mud you will be met with your final challenge, “electroshock therapy”. This is the worst of the worst, you have to sprint through the thick, pasty mud while hundreds of electrical wires hang down and shock you for everything your worth. . . so beginning of January, I began training for Tough Mudder once again. Because this is a 13 mile race I have been running more than I have been lifting. As I run, I do something else that is far more important than any race or any exercise I could ever do. I talk to Jesus. 

image

Have you ever gotten lost in the woods? Here at USI we have 1,400 acres of pedestrian, bike, and nature trails to run on. I remember last fall I went for a trail run and I found myself on a deer path that led to the edge of a lake, and continued to wrap around the entire side of that lake. The trees were just beginning to turn colors and birds were singing all kinds of songs. I remember stopping and staring at the many colors in the woods as the sunlight glistened off the glass-like lake. Its in these moments, and I’ve had many, that I can’t help but to think “God you are so good.” Some may think that running is anything but “relaxing” but for me its nothing but relaxing. I unwind by running in the beauty of Gods perfect creation… this is my paradise.

I asked myself for a long time, “God how can I connect with You?” So often we get busy with the mundane, repetitive way of life that we forget the God wants us to live an exciting life. Christianity was NEVER meant to be boring! Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” A rich and satisfying life is never boring. To often we, including myself, lose sight of the fact that we serve a BIG God who has endless ways to excite us. There are passions on the inside of each one of us, these passions were placed there to be fulfilled, and when they are fulfilled they bring joy, excitement and happiness to us!

So I ask you this, “How can you connect with God and what are you passionate about?” Think about it. It may not be exercise. It may be sitting at a coffee shop with someone and talking about life (another one of my favorites). It may be painting. It may be through music. It may be sewing. Whatever it is, however weird it is, know that it was placed there by the Creator of the universe, and it was placed there for a purpose. Everyone is unique, everyone has purpose, everyone has passions, and everyone has destiny. What is yours?