I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Christian’

Human: Race Report 

This is the one race I would feel incomplete without running each year. Of course, that means it is also the one with the most logistical trouble, which is especially ironic because it’s only 30 miles or so away from our house. Each year, I hope we will make it to the race site with plenty of time to warm up and breathe before the race start. Maybe next year… 

I wrote two days ago that I was feeling quite nervous about this race. My knee was hurting, though it usually doesn’t. I feared I wouldn’t be able to keep a steady pace. My jitters were evident to all as we (parents, Adonis, and Lil One) drove to the race site. 2 minutes after we left the house, Lil One realized she forgot her race bib so we had to go back, and it was the closest I’ve been thus far to saying a cross word to her. I was thankful that Mom thanked her for remembering when we weren’t far from the house because I was too caught up in my own emotions to respond properly. 

We made it in just enough time to park, walk, and find a place for Daddy to sit and cheer. This year was going to be very different than last – I was tapering for my half-ironman vs this being my longest race so far this year. I had committed to allowing myself to walk, as that is how I’ve been doing my long runs (with intervals), but I didn’t really want to. I set my watch to do 4/2 and the goal was to finish in 1:16 or less – 12 minute miles. I was prepared with my 76 minute long playlist. 

The horn sounded. As I crossed the timing mat, I started my watch and my music. “American Woman” was how I decided to start my race. Almost immediately, I felt the incomparable runner’s high that I crave, which, of course, concerned me. “Gah! How fast am I going? I don’t want to burn out before mile 1!” I checked my watch and it turned out my pace was a cool 11:30. Sweet. I smiled as we turned right and I started to make my way through the pack. I am not exactly sure why, but I love turning. I think it is because it is a very tangible reminder that the finish is that much closer. 

I started to think about what I was doing. Tee hee, know what I mean? Of course, as I was running I was thinking about what I was doing, in terms of monitoring my heart rate, pace, and breathing. Then I started to think about what I was doing. What an incredible blessing it is to be able to run. I felt very connected to the hundreds of strangers around me, striving for whatever was most important to them that day. I prayed for them. I prayed for my family as they ran. I felt a tap on my hand. Lil One and her handsome father had caught up to me. I grinned as we ran together for about a quarter mile. I must be honest – I would have been bitter if they had kept up for too long – I’ve been training and they have not, hah! I resisted the temptation to run faster. They slowed for a walk break, and I smiled again. 

Though my watch had been going off to remind me to walk, I chose not to. I felt surprisingly okay maintaining a 12 minute pace and decided to go with it. I only walked when I stopped for water. I noticed a woman beside me soon after mile 1 and it seemed we were going the same pace. I wondered if she would be my buddy. As I came to the second water stop, I was walking a bit when she said, “Let’s go! We’re running together!” Buddy = confirmed. We ran together without saying anything else, but I was thankful for her presence. I’d always heard of God sending people into our lives for reasons, seasons, and lifetimes, and I am now convinced sometimes He sends us people for an hour and change. 

I reflected upon my desire to progress. Running is a way for me to set goals and meet them and feel great. I thought it strange that I could be happy with setting a goal that was 10 minutes slower than I was able to do a year ago. I suppose that depending on where we are in our lives, success can take on different definitions. As tempting as it is to think of that as a copout, it really is not. I am very slowly coming to terms with the fact that life does not progress in a linear manner, as much as I would like it to do so. 

All this thinking got me to mile 5. It was here where my self-talk started to drift from holy to heathen. I’ve noticed the direct correlation between my HR being above 180 and my use of expletives. I knew I could not slow down if I wanted to meet my goal; plus, I had my Buddy! I lingered on the thought of my Aunt, who not only would be appalled by my language but who persevered until God finally called her to stop fighting against ovarian cancer. I had to keep going.

We were on the last straightaway and could see the final turn toward the finish. Then these VOLUNTEERS (I am writing volunteers but I was definitely thinking less kind words at the time) tell us to run a bit past the last turn and make a circle around a cone before turning. That bloody .2, man. Thanks for bringing me that much closer to vomiting, USATF. I heard Adonis and Lil One cheering for me as Buddy and I crossed the finish line together. We exchanged a high five as Lil One ran to give me a hug and Mom took a picture. 

  
I really like this picture. It’s not particularly flattering. I think I look as exhausted as I felt. My fantastic stepdaughter-to-be was supporting me. It’s a picture of how human I am. I cannot be close to God unless I am dealing with my humanity – my brokenness as a runner, daughter, and future wife and mother. It is only in Him that I am strong and have the hope of being stronger. 

1:13:36. Praise God. I would like to come back next year and do it in under an hour. Here’s to not busting my face or losing track of what is most important in the process. 

  

In Garmin We Trust? 

Look at this. 

  
Apparently, my watch has a lot of faith in me. I have not achieved anything close to ANY of the above times. I’ve done a significant amount of running with the watch, so I’d say it knows me pretty well. Yet it says I am capable of so much more than I have done. 

What does this mean? Am I not working hard enough? If I were to get any of those times I would be beside myself with glee. I worry that after only 2.5 years of running that I have peaked, but Garmin seems to think otherwise – that I have a long way to go. 

Tomorrow, I have a 10k and I am NERVOUS. It is the longest race I have attempted in 2015. Since starting my HR training, I would be ecstatic to get 1:15 or less. Hah. 56:24. Why doesn’t Garmin tell me exactly what I need to do in order to achieve this? Moreover, why doesn’t it tell me when this could be possible? 

  
I love how God can even speak to me through my watch. I may never see any of those times, but I may see some even faster! I must be thankful for every day that I am able to run. Maybe strength and speed are like money – God blesses us with that which He knows we can handle. How will I be a good steward of the strength and speed I have? 

Race report tomorrow! 

The Blessing Tax: A Prayer Request

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭8-10‬ NASB)

It’s really a sweet deal when you think about it. God blesses you with a way to provide for yourself and your family. You give just 10% of that to your local church, they put it together with other believers who have done the same and do awesome things for the community, and then on top of THAT you get additional blessings in whatever form God sees fit for you. No sweat.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭23‬ NASB)

Oh. So it’s like, it doesn’t matter if I give my tithe if I’m a jerk? Is that what you’re saying, Jesus? 

I was recently listening to a radio show whose topic was tithing. I grew up in a faithful home in which I saw both of my parents tithe so it wasn’t strange for me at all to think in this manner once I started working. Make a line item for it in my budget and go from there. I’m not going to pretend it’s not tempting sometimes to say, “I could save more,” or “ermahgerd that outfit is like, so HAWT,” but by God’s grace I (typically) resist. Indeed when I trust Him and give my tithe AND keep my eyes and ears open I do see how I’m blessed beyond measure. Those speaking on tithing, however, were talking about both money and “other resources.” 

Oh, dear. My time.

You know those financial blessings of which I give 10%? Well, I work some long hours for them. There has been more than one occasion where I’ve taken advantage of my church’s ability to tithe online just so I don’t have to be physically present to worship. I Does God hold us accountable to give him 10% of our time as well? He blesses me with income, I give 10%. I’m blessed with mobility/health/time – why wouldn’t I need to give 10% The church hour adds up to a mere 1-2% a week if you take 168 gross hours or 133 “net” (a believer’s gotta sleep!) hours. Does that mean I need to take 10 hours a week to do some volunteering or church activity or – something?

I know this is an area of my life I need to work on because God wants my whole life, not just my wallet. If you are reading this, please pray that I actively seek ways to serve Him with my time. I don’t wanna be a Pharisee! Thank you kindly 😊

The Trap: A Story of Breakfast, Triathletes, and Hope

I went to church today…

Eventually.

On today’s training calendar is my long run. Normally, this would give me a case of the yays but because I am just getting back into running after injury, I feel mentally unfit. Even 2 miles feels grueling at the moment. I awoke this morning with plans to run, but my foot was yelling at me. “Great, I didn’t really want to run anyway. I’ll swim later and put it off until tomorrow. I’m SOOOO responsible,” I said to myself as I rolled over.

I had made breakfast plans with 3M the night before. She was going running too because, well. She sleeps, eats, has an occasional shot of tequila, and runs. So I had planned to go run and get our food on afterward. She texted me in the morning to ensure we could still eat.

But now I wasn’t running! I don’t normally miss church for purely social purposes. The game had changed. But I didn’t want to cancel because I didn’t run, and the two of us had been wanting to do this for a while so I said I was in.

I was driving on I-75 to see her feeling suuuuuper guilty. All this hype about missing church and now I had a WIDE opportunity to go and was choosing not to.

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Oh, dear.

Breakfast was delicious. 3M is always great, of course. I couldn’t help looking at the clock, of course. First service was ticking by. Then two of my other tri buddies walked in. “Oh hayyyyyy!” Dressed in jeans and a blouse, it was clear that I hadn’t been training. “Did you go to church?”

Seriously, God. You sent a relay team for me.

I parted ways with 3M around 11. My dear friend was likely oblivious to my inner turmoil and I hope she doesn’t feel bad about anything. Totally my choice to say yes! I got in my car and headed toward home and was debating whether I should go to church late. Not a couple of minutes late, but QUITE late. In jeans. That’s not normally how I roll, though the jeans part is fairly inconsequential.

In the end, I did go. Y’all already know. I’m glad I did. Today’s sermon was from the Book of Judges. The judge of Israel at the time was Deborah (girl power!) and there she was having a talk with this guy named Barak. “Dude. God said you’re supposed to go to war with the people oppressing you and He’s gonna deliver you. What’s the hold up.” And Barak is all, “Uh, I’ll go if you’ll go.” So the God of the UNIVERSE spoke and Barak was still being a punk. He did end up going into battle with Deborah and a lot of other stuff happened. You can get a Bible app yourself. Anyway, Barak shows up later as *gasp* a good guy!

And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭32-34‬ NKJV)

Hebrews 11 is like, a roll call of awesomeness. People who served God like champs. And this dude, Barak, messed up and STILL made it in. Pretty cool. The pastor made the point that God will honor those who are faithful at the finish and Barak was. Today, so was I. I ended up where I should have been in the first place. Late, but I suppose better late than never.

I often fall into the trap of thinking that if I don’t have a great start, the rest doesn’t matter. I’ve messed up a LOT more than necessary because of this trap. I would have missed a great sermon today. It’s comforting to know that I can have less than stellar start and grow. Thank God that as long as I am blessed with another breath, I have another chance.

N.B. – I also missed a good chunk of the Gentlemen’s Final of Wimbledon. I didn’t even check the score on my phone during church. Well, it flashed once and I shut off the app. Now THERE’s some heaven-sent strength – if anyone could distract me from church it’s Novak Djokovic.

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Dear Christians, I’m lobbying for a new hobby.

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First, I’d like to let you know who is writing you. I count myself among Christ’s followers. I was raised and baptized in a Southern Baptist church. I regularly tithe, read the Bible daily and do not view it as merely good ideas. I am saved by Grace and work (and fall short) every day to show that I am thankful Christ gave his life for me. Theologically speaking, I am no liberal.

I count myself blessed to have been born in the United States, where I get to put on my church hat, grab my iPad, and choose which translation of the Bible I’m going to read without fear. I’m not talking about the kind of fear of losing a couple of friends or people thinking I must not be too bright if I think the Bible is God’s inspired word. I mean fear of the government. Fear for my life. I can worship freely and I love that the framers, whatever their flaws may have been, set us up that way.

I’ll speak to one of our favorite hobbies now – the pro-life movement. As to where I stand, I think abortion is tragic. I wish they didn’t have to happen. I wish no woman suffered the pain of a miscarriage. I wish no woman would ever go to the doctor to learn that her child would be born with an unimaginable defect. I hesitate to call myself pro-life because of all the mess it’s associated with. At the same time, I am not comfortable calling myself pro-choice for the same reason. I find it disturbing that people would picket and shout at complete strangers with whose situation they are completely unfamiliar. I also find it flippant and disrespectful to say “don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.” Everyone has a right to a voice. Christians, we have a responsibility to make that a Christ-like voice. A loving voice. The stuff that happens outside those clinics ain’t it. In a perfect world, abortions would not have to happen. Many things are not under our control. You know what we SHOULD do if we hate abortion so much? 1. Work to improve circumstances of mommies and 2. Work to educate children so children are not having children. Nothing unbiblical about that. Summary: put me in Clinton’s camp. It should be safe, legal, and rare. I think there are lots of things related to 1 and 2 mentioned above that the church can be doing to make it rare.

You know what will definitely NOT make it rare? Not covering birth control in an insurance policy. The recent decision of the Supreme Court disturbed me on several levels. I could only imagine if my mother worked for Hobby Lobby when I was a teen and needed birth control for hormonal issues that had nothing to do with the pill’s intended purpose. Our God made us free to follow Him. Jesus did not grab Peter by the throat and say “joker you better put that net down or else.” We cannot expect for everyone to believe what we do, and certainly not in this context. Aside from that, regarding the purpose of birth control – I am positive that many of the women who work for Hobby Lobby are in happy, heterosexual marriages. If the beef is that everyone should be procreating, why is Hobby Lobby covering vasectomies? Certainly Viagra promoting procreation is a joke too, right? Most in the market for an erectile dysfunction drug are not in the market for children. It just makes me suspect that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a non-issue. “Shoot, I’ve got season tickets. I can’t have this baby.” Just. Like. That.

Christ died and rose to save people. John 3:16 does not say “For whatever corporation believeth in me shall not perish but have eternal life.” If a corporation were a person, it would be a two year old. Selfish, having no interest except in the here and now for its own sake, regardless of how it impacts others. What do we do with two year olds? We don’t let them out of our sight for a moment. We appreciate two year olds and love them, but we – some more than others – are all too aware of the damage they can cause.

Christians, a decision like SCOTUS made is damaging to us. Don’t think for one second that it’s out of the realm of possibility that people will say they have a right to deny anyone, including us, a right to anything. Christ is bigger than this. We should be bigger than this.

I used to think that the thing I feared most about following Christ was that I wasn’t doing a good enough job with the rules to be known as a Christian. Now it scares me that because I am not shoving my theological beliefs in people’s faces like a jerk I will not be known as a Christian. We should be known by our love (with truth, of course) and not by trying to keep women from having access to birth control. Not even abortion. The thing that prevents women from having them!

I know my walk is imperfect. I share that with all of you. Let’s all walk more humbly, keep our eyes on Him, and leave the judgment to the Perfect One.

Love,
Lady J

Just As I Am: The Dangers of Knowing Too Much

Most civilians know how stressful music making situations can be. By civilians I am referring to amateur musicians, of course. I say amateur musicians (as opposed to professional) because all of us have musical experience. There is not one person who does not listen to music and analyze it. We sing along, even when it is by ourselves. Only a complete asshole a very unsure person wouldn’t participate in a communal happy birthday, right? Professional musicians just have the ability to express their tastes and preferences with a greater degree of specificity.

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Das right. I’m fancy. But nobody ever thinks of the perils of being fancy, least of all Iggy.

So I’m in church last week (this triathlete loves Jesus) and we’re worshipping the Lord in song. I must confess – this is my least favorite part of the church service. “But Lady J,” you say. “This makes no sense. You love music. You love Jesus. Music + Jesus = winning, right?” Only when done my way, silly billy. I love singing my favorite hymns on my bike. I love playing through them early mornings as I have tea and (not so) quiet time with The Lord. Meanwhile, this choir and worship leader are up there, singing songs that I may not know, invariably in keys that are uncomfortable for my voice.

“Still,” you insist. “You are a trained musician. Your voice cannot be that bad.” Please. When did I say my voice was bad? It’s just not the best it can be because I have not rehearsed the songs and the worship leader was not considerate enough to contact me regarding an appropriate key. Some
Christians, man.

“So, what you’re really saying is that the talent with which God has blessed you – you’re allowing your knowledge to get in the way of thanking Him for it.”

Guilty.

It’s not as though I am embarrassed of my voice, like others often are. Hell, I’d have to care about the opinions of those around me in church to be at that point. In truth, that kind of concern would probably be a step forward for me. My perfectionism is manifesting itself yet again. God, I want to give you my best. I hate when my technique is wrong. I hate when I yawn as I’m singing praises. But Christ’s death on the cross was probably not to pay for all the off key singing.

I’m sure it didn’t help, though.

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