Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Run with Perseverance the Race Marked Out for You"

If there was one thing I could say about what I've learned so far this year, it is to keep going through whatever circumstances may come.  Find joy in the journey!  If you let life keep you down and miserable, you're letting Satan win and you're only hurting yourself.  Whatever race God has marked out for you can be exciting if you only choose to see it that way.  Embrace the challenges.  That's how I am trying to look at it.  I'm always up for a challenge, and life never fails to throw them at you!  By keeping your eyes peeled for anything that can be used for God's glory, you will never get bored.
Here's some of my motivation from indoor and outdoor track season.
Success or failure in our eyes will always be success if it's used the way God intends.
This is one of my favorites, not only because it was one of the best races of my life, but I was filled with such joy from Christ!  No pain in the run, and I only felt like I could keep going faster and faster!  I knew I couldn't run fast on my own, but God wanted me to have the opportunity.  Joy comes with surrender"God...rewards those who earnestly seek Him."  Hebrews 11:6
Photo credits to Mom on this one.  This was during one of my spur-of-the-moment afternoon runs during those crazy snow days!  I had been saving up my neon outfit for a special snow day, and this was it.
Our weather is one thing that I say God uses to show us that we are not in control and we "do not even know what will happen tomorrow."  James 4:14 
The beautiful scenery also left me in awe of all He does.  We don't understand the things that happen in this world, but that is so we see that He is all-powerful.  Reading these verses just makes me "stop and consider His wonders."  Job 37:14  I just can't put words to it; I love it.

Hebrews 12:1-2 is our verse for the cross country team, but I also used it myself this track season to help me get my head right.  There were so many distractions filling my mind and keeping me from being who God wanted me to be.  My focus ended up being less on winning races and more on winning peace of mind.  My goal was to get rid of the worries that were holding me back (yes, mentally, but that leads to physical barriers, too), and keep on keeping on.  It's not easy to be joyful when things are so tough and painful, but we have to go through those things to make us better.  Satan will use these times to break us, but God intends to use them to make us.  (Genesis 50:20)  Changing the focus from my own problems to God's plan is the best way to be able to enjoy every moment, even when it's not something very enjoyable. 
I didn't get to see all of them, but Walmart had an entire section of shirts like this that were scripturally based!  Mom sent me these pictures while she was there shopping.  I would have bought so many, but my drawers already "runneth over."

Another seriously matching running outfit
This quote came from one of my college leaders at Motown Madness this year.  We aren't perfect and never will be.  Not even close to good enough!  That's not the point.  Christ died for us and all of our nasty sins and still loves us more than anything we could imagine.  He wants us all to be a part of His family and ministry.  He doesn't call us when we are good enough or ready enough, because there is no such thing.  He gives us what we need in the life that we are in. 
All of us are just petty sinners, given grace from God.
I found an awesome instagram and twitter account called Daily Bible Verses that posts all kinds of pictures and scripture.  I spent hours looking through them!  These were two of my favorites that I kept in the front of my mind during track season.

This ring means a lot more to me than just being on the back to back state championship team.  This season was a lot tougher than last year.  I've grown much more in my faith.  This verse speaks to my heart much more than it did before.  (We also had to pay for this ring, because we decided to get it in real gold!)  I also associate it with myselft being the indoor 2 mile individual state champion.  I wear this ring a lot, not to show off that I'm a state champion, but to remind myself of what I'm here for. I am a champion, but not just physically.  God has blessed me with these abilities and opportunities to use them for His glory every moment.  I have to throw off all the distractions and focus on the daily race that He has laid out for me.  You can't see the engraved verse while I'm wearing the ring, but I know it's there.  Wearing the ring reminds me of all these great things and the true victory that I am called to proclaim.  That's something I can brag on without having to worry that I can't live up to those standards again!  I may never win another race, but that's not important.  Bragging about that stuff just leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:8), but bragging on God is something to be proud of because I never have to fear that He won't win.  God will never lose. 
Social media can be used for amazing purposes!  I myself find so much encouragement when I surf the socials.  I was blown away one day as I saw all three of these right in a row, relating to just what I had been thinking on lately.
1)  God has blessed me, but I must be faithful, using those gifts totally unselfishly, for His purposes, not my own.
2)  Attitude impacts everything!  I have tried to stop worrying about the things that are out of my control, because they're in God's control.  I have to go with it, and stop rebelling and forcing my own ways.
3)  Fear of any kind is a major road block to our faith.  Trust me, I know.  We have to stop being afraid and just trust and act on what God leads us to!  He has told us to have no fear.
"...God is love...There i no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  the one who fears is not made perfect in love."  1 John 4:16, 18
We fear when we rely on ourselves.  When we focus on obeying God, there is no reason to fear.

What is your race that God has called you to run with perseverance?