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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons from Lent: Strength In HIM

I am a runner again and I love it.

I have always considered myself a runner, but having 2 children changes things a little bit. Nearly 3 years ago I delivered my first child, a baby boy. 10 months ago I gave birth to my second child, a beautiful baby girl. During this time running was infrequent and sporadic.

But now I'm back in the groove again. In the wee hours of the morning, I put on my Asics and pound on my treadmill before my kiddos rise and shine. I have recently found this morning time not only to be invigorating physically, but also spiritually renewing.

Typically, I turn on the TV and space out while I run. But as I mentioned before, I gave up TV for Lent. God was telling me to turn it off so that I could hear from Him more clearly in those quiet moments. In addition to giving up TV while I run, I have been praying through a prayer journal I keep on my treadmill and an inspiration board on the wall in front of me. For me, running has been transformed into a time for prayer, listening and reflection.

The other morning I planned to run two 6 minute miles. (A bit quicker than usual.) It seemed hard at first, but got easier. I kept going. As I was running I was praying from my inspiration board, Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me," I started to feel stronger and faster. I've read that verse thousands of times before, but it started to take on a new, special meaning.

I never used to believe that I could run a 6 minute mile. Why didn't I believe it? Because I didn't believe in me. It wasn't that I didn't believe my body was strong enough. It was that for so many years I didn't believe in me or my God-given abilities. But Scripture says that God created me. I am perfectly and wonderfully made. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I was made in His image. Yet, in the past, I doubted the strength and abilities of my own body.

You see, 10 months ago I didn't believe in me to accomplish this goal of a 6 minute mile. Sure, I'm stubborn and persistent. If I have a goal in mind that I really want to accomplish, I can out of sheer pig-headedness! But I haven't always believed in myself through Him. I never want to think too highly of myself; to be arrogant or prideful. While it's right to be humble, not when we forfeit strength and abilities that God grants us. Not that I should ever be prideful or boast in myself, but I can believe in myself when God is leading and guiding my steps.

God was revealing to me that He can give me strength in ALL things. In that moment I put my strength in Him and he gave me physical strength. But that wasn't the lesson He was trying to teach me. He was telling me that providing physical strength is just the tip of the iceberg. He's capable of doing so much more through me. He can do so much more in me and through me if I only I will trust Him and ask Him to be my strength. Day after day, minute by minute.

I finished my run in record speed. I felt like an Olympian with a gold medal in my hands!

I felt wonderful. I felt strong, empowered, and bold because of His strength in me!

Life isn't about running. It's not about our bodies. It's not about our possessions. It's not about our weight or clothes or appearance. Life is about what He can do in us and through us... in ALL that we do.

God can give YOU the strength to do all things for His glory. Simply ask and it will be given to you (Matthew 7:7).