Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I am a firm believer in consistent personal growth. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. I think that change is a beautiful thing and as you evolve you find out what you're truly made of. One of the biggest ways I am growing right now is through my new hobby: running. Let me preface this by saying that I have NEVER been a runner. I honestly didn't know I could run for more then two minutes at a time! I'm a big advocate of physical activity and being healthy so while I do like to try new workouts and ways to stay active, running has never been something I've gotten into. My boss has a treadmill in her basement and has told me I'm welcome to use it while I take my afternoon break. The first month I didn't go anywhere near the thing! But a couple weeks ago I decided to give it a try and I'm proud to say that I'm hooked.

Running is definitely difficult and I find myself sweating and thinking "can I do this?" as I push myself to go farther then the day before. But it is also really rewarding. It is such a great way to clear my mind and sort of shake off the stress and business of the day and set my focus on accomplishing one goal. I also like to crank up some worship music while I'm running and I really feel that it can become an act of worship. I was never good at standing still during Church, I always find myself swaying and bumping into my neighbor. Now I don't just have to sway, I can run as fast as I want to as I engage in the music and worship!

Also did I mention I've lost four pounds since I started running? :) Don't mind that either!

Another way that I've been trying to challenge myself is by putting my relationship with God as the top priority of my day. I'll be honest, I'm not good at daily devotions. I always argue with myself about the best time to get in the Word and when the day's all said and done, I realize I never found that "best" time. So, I made the decision that before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I grab my Bible and do some reading. I would bet that most people who know me would say that I am not a morning person and they would be absolutely right! One of the reasons I've never done morning devotions is because I didn't think I could learn or retain any information because my brain is so foggy, but I have been pleasantly surprised! I find myself remembering verses I read later in the day and thinking them over, praying about what I'm learning and for people in my life. It truly is turning into an all day devotions!

One verse really stuck out to me yesterday, one that I don't recall ever reading before.

"A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads the prisoners forth with singing."
Psalms 68:5-6

I've heard of God being the father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, but I'm blessed have a dad and a husband so that never really stuck out to me. But when it says he puts the lonely in families, something struck a chord in me. I've been lonely before. It's something that I've fought probably since I moved out to go to college but specifically in the past two years when I moved to Chicago and now Milwaukee.

I grew up in such a unique, close knit community that I naively thought that there was no need for locked doors, that if you need a cup of sugar you can go over to your neighbor's for some and if they're not home you know you're welcome to just walk in and help yourself. All of a sudden I was in a world where I was surrounded with faces I didn't recognize and I felt so. alone. I think my loneliness has been the single biggest thing in the past couple years that I had to choose to either let God use and bring me closer to Him or to make me angry and resentful. I'm not perfect and I've cried more then a few tears over my situation, but something I've learned is that God knows me in my loneliness. He has not overlooked my situation or my feelings but is actually drawing closer to walk through it with me. I know it isn't easy, but I also know what God can and will do if you let Him. And it's so good.

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