God’s Timing, For the Love, and Learning to be Held

I am fully convinced that God is always for us, and always working in the background orchestrating events that work together for our good. I haven’t always been so positive about this. I have doubted and lost my way numerous times, but He is always faithful to reel me back in when I am swimming in an endless ocean of uncertainty.

Sometimes we set out to do a task and just cannot stay dedicated to it, or we feel like we’re “too busy” for it, or maybe just feel completely unmotivated to complete it. When this happens to me I usually feel guilty and lazy and beat myself up. However, I am slowly learning that maybe, just maybe, some of these tasks are not meant to be completed at that time; that they were on my own agenda instead of God’s, and that they will be completed in His perfect timing.

I’m not by any means encouraging procrastination or delaying of important tasks. There is a difference between needing to brush your teeth, do homework, and putting gas in your car to make it to work than there is finishing a jigsaw puzzle, completing a novel, or planning a vacation. Some things have an absolute deadline and are necessary while others are completed at our leisure. In my case, one of these things was reading a book.

Last July I pre-ordered For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I had previously read one of her books and completed a Bible study along with it (Seven) and absolutely fell in love with her and her writing style! I started following her on Instagram, Facebook, and eventually subscribed to her e-mail list. I started getting e-mails about her new book that was going to come out, and for the first time in my life I decided to actually pre-order something. A week earlier than the book was released those who had pre-ordered were able to start reading the digital copy. I read the introduction that night and knew it was going to be great. A few nights later I read the first chapter and was weeping. Without giving the book away, she was discussing basically how women want to find balance, but try to be everything. I remember journaling about this and feeling so guilty because I was definitely one of those trying to be everything.

I meant to keep reading it, but I honestly never started reading the book again until today. I did not know it at the time-I actually did not know it until today-I was not ready for this book. Things had to happen in my life and God had to prepare me to get to a place where I could read this book and be able to learn from it without condemning myself.  Jen didn’t write it to push women into condemnation and chains, she wrote it through the guidance of Jesus to help women find the freedom He brings. I could not understand that back in August, but I sure understand it now.

I just finished the first chapter, once again, but this time I feel very different. I can understand where she is coming from because of what I have gone through in the past 9 months (wow, I can’t believe it has been that long!). Nine months ago I was in a place or darkness and depression and this book was just not what I needed at the time, but it is what I need to now and I can accept that and be challenged in a healthy way. I am able to be stretched beyond my comfort zone, but in a way that brings joy and does not deplete me with exhaustion or anxiety. I have to remind myself that God does want us to be stretched, to get outside the “normal” and be uncomfortable, but He tells us this from a place of working for our good. He does not mean to “stress us out” or to pile up too many activities on our plate, or to sacrifice our family and our sanity just to satisfy everyone’s wishes for us and how we are to live our lives. No, I believe He wants us to get outside of our comfort zone to find joy, to find peace, to find freedom. We go outside the “normal” to experience abundant life, to know Him more, and to further His Kingdom.

Jen writes, “We need to stop being awesome and start being wise”. I am finally at the point where I can understand where she is coming from and not read those words and feel utter confusion as to what she could possibly mean. I feel the best I have felt in a while, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Before “balance” was a foreign term and I did not know how it could possibly exist, but now I believe I am starting to find it ONLY through the complete surrender to my Lord Jesus. My balance is being found because I am finally going from a place of guilt and shame to a place of dancing in God’s almighty grace. It is in that place that I am finally learning what it means to be held by God, to rest in Him, and be content to live life today, instead of yesterday or tomorrow.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” –Romans 8:28 NASB

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My Running Journey

Until very recently I had given up on the idea of running. I had tried numerous times to “become a runner” or “get into running”, but I always seem to fail. I didn’t like it: the exhaustion, the soreness, or the sweat. Yet, knowing several people who enjoy running and participate in several races a year, I still wanted to experience what they did. I wanted to know this burst of energy that came from running, and even joy felt by many.

After my last failed “running” attempt, becoming very frustrated and drained I had thrown “running” into a little box of things I call the impossible for me. It was never going to happen. I tried hard to just accept it, but I was still dissatisfied. Something inside me wanted to keep pushing and give it another shot, but how could I after failing so many times? Why even bother?

Not long after having these thoughts I got some test results back that said I was (and now am) a Type 1 Diabetic. After seeing numerous doctors I knew that a severe lifestyle change was going to have to happen. Little by little I started incorporating changes, and my life has honestly been so much better because of this. It’s crazy to think that this diagnosis has actually changed my life for the better, and I believe it will save me from a lot of other major health problems I would have ended up with had I not made these changes. But that’s another story for another time…

A few weeks ago (around 2 months after my diagnosis) I decided I wanted to try running again. I decided to ask my dad about it, being that he has ran several long distance races in the past few years, and see what he thought. One of the races he did, along with several others that I know, is a half-marathon held in Savannah every November. I decided this would be a realistic goal to strive for, and even my husband said he would join me in training and running this race. After speaking with my father, he recommended a book titled Run Walk Run by Jeff Galloway. As I started reading the book, I could feel myself starting to hope again, and after finishing this book last week I am now a full believer in his method. While I was reading I would constantly hear a voice telling me, “You can do this“. I finished the book and had a training plan in place last Friday.

Today I had my very first day of training, and it was great. It was honestly the best run-although it was mostly walking because of the beginner’s method I am currently using-I have had in a long time. I was so encouraged and so hopeful from reading this book, and several thoughts came to mind that I knew was the Holy Spirit trying to teach me. It was then I decided to start keeping a record of what I learn on this journey. Training for this half marathon is about way more than just running some race. It is about physical endurance, but it’s also a spiritual journey for me. It’s about getting healthy and getting in shape. It’s about having a bonding activity with my husband. It is many things, and I want to keep a record of all this, and share it in hopes to encourage someone else as I have been so deeply encouraged.

Lord, thank you for this opportunity, and thank you for the hope that is in You and You alone.