Running

Woman Runner Tying Sport Shoes

The leader of a small group I was attending asked us to bring an object that would help explain who we are. I didn’t have to think very long or hard. I brought my running shoes. Those of you who know me know that I am an avid runner. There is nothing like it. There is nothing more physically demanding or spiritually refreshing. But I didn’t just bring my running shoes to that meeting to talk about physically running; running shoes embody who I am and what I value. 

If you are a student of the Enneagram, I am a strong 8. If you are a student of Strengthsfinder, my top strength is activator. I have been designed to move; physically, emotionally and spiritually. I turn nouns into verbs without even realizing it. My favorite bible verses are the ones that have action attached. Brainstorming sessions are very stressful for me, because ideas equal action. Without other people realizing it, I walk away from meetings burdened to take action on all the ideas discussed. A few days ago, Bryan and I were once again talking about rest. I found myself saying “What if the way that I rest is by doing something?” I can just hear my mindful friends begin to compose an email to me about the importance of rest. I get it. Let’s put that on the back burner and discuss my rest needs at another time. 

I will be the first to admit that I am extreme. But I also find that more often than not, I am an exception. Most people I know have incredible ideas, but for whatever reason they stay ideas. I also see this tendency prevalent in our Christian culture. We are quick to discuss our sin, but are slow to repent and make amends. We are quick to judge, but we don’t take the time to truly understand. We talk about loving our neighbor, but we turn our face the other way as they get in their car each day. 

I don’t say those things to condemn; I am equally as guilty of those things. I am here to remind myself and others that ideas are only ideas. Without action – ideas are useless. I have found in my life that the ideas that stay in my mind and heart over time (not rash, fleeting ideas) are usually ideas God has given me. God is calling us to take those ideas and put them into action. 

Don’t just take it from me, it didn’t take me long to find out what Jesus had to say about taking action. The Bible is full of exhortations. 

James 1:23-25 says: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

In James 2:14-17  we are told “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

James 2:18 says “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

James isn’t speaking of salvation. Our salvation is not contingent on our works. But I do believe that James is reminding us that faith propels us towards action. James is calling us to take a good look at our lives. If we aren’t producing fruit, it’s time to take a closer look at our faith. Faith is like a tail wind. It gives us the push we need to keep leaning into our God given passions and callings.  

I have spent the last month or so talking about things that I am passionate about. I have talked about my passion for my community and especially my neighborhood. I talked about my passion for public schools. I talked about my new passion about taking care of the earth. Last week I shared about my passion to take care of our bodies. You may not be passionate about any of those things and that’s okay. What are you passionate about? What are the ideas that keep coming back to your mind over and over again? Take note of those things. Write a list. You may be surprised as what comes to mind spills out onto your paper.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe one of the reasons people struggle with taking action is that it feels overwhelming. When we get overwhelmed, we tend to get paralyzed. Look at your list, if you feel like you don’t know where to start, then start with one passion and start doing one thing. Do that one thing until it becomes second nature. And then when you no longer have to try to do that thing, do the next thing. 

I deeply believe, if we all did that, took our God given ideas, committed to one action -and then did another and another – we would CHANGE our worlds. 

So join me as I seek to change my world, one action at a time. 

Lisa

 

 

 

Don’t sell yourself short.

A95B0206-B314-4791-A403-F7C4DEA2F290I was never a star athlete growing up. Any athletic ability I possess I have earned with blood, sweat and tears. But as early as middle school, I instinctively knew it was important to exercise. When I was in 8th grade I started going on morning jogs. In high school I scheduled “treat days.” I would get up at 5:30 to get to the gym before school. I wouldn’t say that my behavior could be described as an eating/exercise disorder, but considering I wasn’t an athlete in the traditional sense, I was much more aware of my body than my peers. 

A few months prior to my liver transplant, I was working with an organization called “YWAM”. We had been overseas so I had not been exercising. I felt really convicted that I was supposed to get back into shape. In case you don’t know – its a lot harder to get into shape than to get out of shape. But I struggled through it; it almost felt like a calling from God that I should get back into shape. 

It was a good thing I did. After my transplant (Transplant), I was back exercising within a month. The doctors were amazed at my swift recovery. I heard over and over again that the reason I did so well after my surgery was because I was in such good shape. 

After hearing that, as you can imagine, fitness was no longer just important – it became a passion. That passion eventually led to a job; I became a personal trainer. My favorite part of working with a new client was hearing their story, to hear about their “why?” “Why did you hire me as a personal trainer? What is motivating you to be more healthy?” Most of their answers sounded like this. 

“I want to be able to run around with my kids….” 

“I want to be around to see my grandchild get married…”

“I want more energy at work….” 

“I want to feel more confident….”

There were a few exceptions, but overall the reason people came to work with me had little to do with how they looked in a swimsuit or how much weight they could lift or how high they could jump. 

They wanted to be who God created them to be and to do what God called them to do. 

I believe God asks us to take care of our bodies so that we can fully be who God created us to be and do what God is calling us to do. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says … do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

When we choose to walk with Jesus, we welcome the Holy Spirit to come and take residence in our heart and mind. When we surrender our lives to Jesus and invite him to take over, we become his dwelling place. His temple. We become the vehicle through which The Spirit moves. 

In life, if we do not fill our vehicles up with gas or oil or do not fix what is broken, our vehicle can only drive us so far. We may get half way, but we won’t make it to our destination. 

We are asked to look at our body in the same light. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the vehicles God has chosen to use to advance his kingdom. And if we don’t rest, properly fuel our bodies, exercise or prepare for the journey ahead – we won’t get to our final destination. We may get close, but we won’t be able to fully walk out the calling God set before us. 

For me part of my calling is to be a mom. If I don’t get enough sleep, I have zero patience for my kids. I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.

Part of my calling is to write. If I don’t exercise I don’t have the energy or focus to write, I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.

Part of my calling is my community. If I don’t eat well, I don’t feel good and need to rest. I’m not able to fully invest in my relationships, I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.

I’m not here to give you specific tips or a new exercise routine. My challenge for us today is to simply shift the way we view our bodies. We are the dwelling place of the Lord on High. Repeat that again and again throughout your day. I bet if you started saying that each time you were eating or as you were deciding between the elliptical and the couch, you will start experiencing change. 

You will be able to chase your son that “one more time”. 

You will be front and center at your grand daughters wedding.

People will begin to ask at work where you get all your energy.

You will start radiating with confidence. 

And when people ask how you do it…

You can say, I am the dwelling place of the Lord on High.

I was bought with a price.

So I am going to glorify God with my body. 

Lisa