13 July 2015

Running with the Marines

Last spring I began running again.  We were regular runners before the move west.  But then we had to adjust to altitude.  Then we had some major set backs (surgery, PF troubles, and traveling to name a few) in 2014 to our running game.  So when 2015 came around we were determined to get back up and get going again.  

Let me just say that relearning to do something that you used to do is really hard.  Starting from scratch, when you know that a few seasons ago you ran for nearly 3 hours, is not easy.  So very much of running is a mental game.  It doesn't take long to defeat yourself and give up.  The mental game is weak for me right now.  I do not have the resolve that I did 2 years ago.  I am relearning how hard every run is, yet how much I am capable of, and how good it feels to finish.

As I reenter the running scene there are a few things I had to relearn for me to succeed.  First: I need water.  A whole lot of water.  I am a thirsty runner and can not go without liquids.  Second: I need a light meal before and a light one afterwards. Food is key for me to succeed.  Too much and I die.  Third: I need a plan.  Free training app, C25k or C210K, is perfect for me to restart with.  Plus later the timers are great for interval training.  but eventually I need a race to keep up the training.  Lastly: I need to begin with the Marines.

I need ear noise (music, sermons, conversation).  I am not picky but do need headphone action to keep me company.  When I began again I tried music, but it failed and left me walking in boredom.  In the beginning my perspective was short and I needed shorter tunes.  After a few runs of trying to get songs to work, I remembered the Marines.  I switched to cadence and began running with gusto.  I love listening to the Marine PT cadence while I run and here's a few reasons why they inspire me:

  1. Motivation - One of the main purposes of cadence is to motivate the men.  Oh boy is it motivating.  As I listen to them downplay exercise it helps propel me onward.
  2. Training - The cadence reminds the men to train often and train hard.  It is just what I need to remind myself.  There is a battle and I need to be active and seasoned for my part.
  3. Historical - The lyrics often contain history about the battles and commanders.  It reminds me that I need to review my spiritual and biblical history to keep myself informed.
  4. Bigger Picture - They sing often of being part of the Corps.  I am reminded that I am part of a bigger story.  One that goes from the beginning of time and will never end.  
  5. Solider - Can not listen to any one of these tracks and not hear a solider reference.  I love this image because it is the same image Paul uses in the Bible to describe us.  Every Christian is a solider. 
  6. Weapons - They frequently mention M16's + K-Bars.  Frequently.  Hearing about their battle weapons reminds me that I am armed and equipped.  Not only for life but also for this run.
  7. War - So many references to being in combat or to an historical event.  War is woven throughout the tunes.  It reminds me that we are in a battle.  Not with people, but with the heavenlies fighting against darkness. 
  8. Love - Of course there are many a love songs.  The outcomes of the relationships are usually that the Marine sticks with the Corps and the woman either joins him or stays behind.  But nothing separated Him from His duty.  Just like us.  There is no relationship here on earth that can separate us from God.  HE is completely devoted to us. 
  9. All In - The cadences leave no room for maybes.  These guys are all in for whatever assignment they are given.  They are faithful to the group and to the mission.  As Christ says lukewarm isn't an option, we are to be all in for whatever this Christian thing means.
  10. Dedicated - This is a word that often appears, as it should, in the songs.  They pride themselves on being dedicated to the Corps and to each other.  They hold a high standard for character.  Integrity isn't an option, it's expected.  Today, the situation is the same for those who follow Christ.  We are to be motivated by love, be agile/flexible, responsible, take initiative/go, be noteworthy, have endurance and excellence.  

01 June 2015

Sarah + Rushing Ahead

Recently I found myself in an emotional hurricane.  The kind where something is brewing deep but you fear being out in it.  Fed up with condition I strapped junior into the stroller and headed out to walk and hash this out with God.  I walked with intensity and fervor.  Soon sweating and begging God to calm and clarify this inner storm.  At some point my son fell asleep, but I was not finished.  

For 90 minutes I crossed the neighborhood.
For 90 minutes I cried and yelled.
For 90 minutes I shadow boxed with God.

Finally, drained of all fight I returned home.  Better.  But with many more questions.  Before I did not know what was gnawing on my soul.  In the walk, it was named.  But now I needed to know what direction to go next.  

I had spent over an hour revisiting old wounds.  Asking God why He hasn't answered my many of my prayers?  And why my dreams aren't good enough to be?  And if He is strong and able why won't He give me a miracle?  Lots of big questions attached to a very deep gaping wound.

At the end I recognized that I was at the end of my rope.  I was done with this mess.  I didn't want healing I only wanted my way.  Desperately wanting my will.  So much so that during our conversation I saw that my heart was willing to break boundaries God had given me years ago.  I was at the end of my rope.  Hopeless.  Hurt.  Isolated from God.

And then He, as He frequently and graciously does, pointed me to His Word.  Sarah was my example this time.  Sarah's story is found in the early part of Genesis.  As I reread her story I was struck by how long she had to wait until God chose to fulfill His promise and how much damage she did by her choice to step ahead of God.

Sarah was 77 when she lost patience and chose to bypass God.  77 years of waiting and praying and trying and hoping.  I just can not even imagine how she made it so long.   But finally, after 77 years she decided that she couldn't wait any more.  Actually, she decided to take matters into her own hand by making a choice that, from the outside, appeared normal to her community.  In the land she lived in, it was not wrong for a man to have several wives.  Although her idea of having her husband marry her servant may have looked typical to an outsider, I believe Sarah must have known that she was stepping ahead of God  Her choice to escape pain and relieve impatience cost her.  BIG.TIME.  

As soon as her servant was elevated to a wife, Sarah's impatience turned quickly to bitterness and resentment.  Her plan failed.  Miserably. And now there were lives of others wrapped up in this mess. From the servant came a son that would forever be against Sarah's son.  FOREVER.  Strife, bloodshed, arguments, and war.  Always against each other.  Never peace.

Sarah! Part of me is astounded that she was able to hold out for so long.  And yet I am irritated that she could not have waited any longer. And then I look at myself.  Nearly 5 years of infertility and I find my heart impatient.  Like Sarah I find that I want to force open these closed doors.  And then the LORD ever so gently reminds me that there are consequences.  The last thing I want are consequences like that!!

So what am I left with?  Today I have the words "Faithful" and "Wait".  They are sitting with me in this tender stormy season.  I don't like them, but they are what I have been given.  Wait for Him, don't rush ahead like Sarah.  And know that He is faithful to you just like He was faithful to her.  Same God.  Same abilities.   

07 May 2015


From Wikipedia: The Oxford Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church 
defines acedia (or accidie) as "a state of restlessness and inability 
either to work or to pray". Some see it as the 
precursor to sloth—one of the seven deadly sins.

With the new year came a deep sluggishness in my being.  I was just out of all of my "want-to".  My normal activities and habits weren't happening.  Sometimes it felt like nothing was happening.  All I truly wanted was to lay on the couch and check out.  But that wasn't an option most days.  There was laundry and dishes and groceries and volunteer work that needed finished.  Although I was able to function (which is a strong distinction between acedia and depression in my opinion) my heart was far removed.  

When I came across acedia in April, it's use, history, and definition illuminated my struggle. I am a highly self-motivated person, and achiever, and a do-it-myself kind of gal.  This detachment had me both concerned and asking why.  I tried to embrace it and just let the pieces sit where they wanted.  But at the end of each day I would lay in bed and tally all of the "should haves" and "ought tos" from my day.  Although I tried to embrace the relaxed lifestyle it is not for me and left me with guilt, frustration, and lacking. 

Near the end of March I figured I had tried the "embrace" theory long enough.  I decided that I needed to just start.  Start something.  Start doing the things I loved even if I didn't "feel" like it.  "Pick up a book, anything, and just read!" I would tell myself.  (Well ... maybe it was more of a demand, but I am totally ok with that.)  I made myself unpack the camera and go somewhere and use it.  I forced myself to go outside and just walk.  I have been prodding myself to write again.  Next on my force-list is sewing a project.  Start.  Just start being you.

I can't say that making myself is eliminating the acedia.  But what I can say is that making myself is awakening and reattaching me to my inner self again.  It is helping restart much that was shut down.  Much is coming alive again.  I feel that the coinciding with spring is somewhat divine.  

02 May 2015

Panic Attacks

Wikipedia: "Panic attacks are periods of intense 
fear or apprehension of sudden onset..."

"A Beautiful Disaster" / Marlena Graves / chapter seven / page 96
"There is almost nothing as terrible as this feeling, 
this sensation of being helpless, panicked,
 and alone without God and without hope in the world."

After reading this paragraph from Mrs. Graves book, I had to stop and put the book down and process.  I have never heard of this disorder applied to the spirit.  Is this possible?  Is this a true thing? Is she over reaching her descriptions?

The longer I have sat with this idea the more I noticed my own heart does have a tendency toward panaic + fear + alone + helpless.  Since relocating a year and a half ago, there have been days that were debilitating.  I considered it my "funk" and hoped it would pass.  The wild emotions and the forgetting orf truth would lift as quick as it set in.  I woud again see clearly.  The fear would disapate. The weight and worry would dissolve.  And thankfully my husband waits patiently with me during these long days.  

Since these have begun (READ: moving across country), I have wrestled with why?  Why does this happen?  Is it only me?  Is there something that needs medicated?  How can I see it coming and run away?  Can I actually avoid it?  Can I shorten it's duration?  So many unanswered questions.  And no game plan to combat it either.  Other than prayer, very little has been helpful in clearing the fog and bringing me out of the pit.  

And then I read this chapter and heard her word of idenification.  Her chapter gave my "funk" a name.  It gave it a shape.  It defined the condition of my heart and thus pointed me toward an escape route and hopefully a detour to avoid this pit.  

Now I can pray speciaifcally about peace.  I can meditate on the truth that God is with me and never leaves.  I know that if another one comes, that prayer is the best/only option.  And I know that they will not last forever but will end.  ( I am grateful that they are fewer and further apart than when we first moved.)  My next learning area is to see what my triggers are.  

In the meantime I am so glad to have a grasp on this struggle.  I find understanding helps me reduce the crazy.... well maye only just a little :)