Finishing The Race

Pursuing God One Shin Splint at a Time

An Equation for Grace

So two days ago I was pretty much done. Stick a fork in me.

But yesterday hope had returned.

I know this happened because of prayers that were sent from many of you and my own desperate ones. I had angels disguised as friends step in and provide just what I needed.

My friend Staci G said she was coming over to keep my boys while I ran, no excuses she said.

Dang. Okay…

And then the windchill was literally eight…yes 8 degrees. There was my perfect excuse…nope, she said I had to go to the gym.

Dang. Okay…

But my experienced runner friend Sara has a standing invitation for me to use her treadmill…well if I have to go, I might as well see if she’s home. She was and she said I had to come.

Fine.

One last chance to quit, but as I looked at Staci she knew to force me out.

Fine.

So I make a deal with myself that I’ll just start. Just go ten minutes and then I can quit if I need to. Since Sara’s setup doesn’t have a TV for entertainment I decide it might behoove my spirit to listen to a podcast from a friend’s church instead of catching up on Gilmore Girls. (I’m almost finished with Season 6 in case you were curious.)

I happen to choose one called “First World Problems of Moms.”

I get set up and start running. Hmmm….it doesn’t feel like torture. Maybe I’ll make the ten minute mark.

I see on a wall in the room an equation (Sara and her husband are both teachers)…

Se + A

Well goodness, what in the world does that mean? I adore everything about literacy, but when letters begin replacing numbers in math it makes me nervous.

The podcast begins and as I hit the ten minute mark I realize God is doing something in my spirit. A shift begins to happen, so tangible I can feel it happening.

The mom speaking has children leaving her nest. She starts off telling her audience that is it the REAL DEAL that our kids’ childhoods go by in a flash and that isn’t because she’s forgotten the endless demands of the season.

(CONVICTED—I had even started a post a couple of days ago that said the next person that tells me to cherish these days that fly by would get to babysit for a week while I got massages on a beach…)

She goes on to tell us how to shift our perspective when we are feeling defeated. It really boiled down to things we have all heard but you know we need to hear again…and again…

Control the things you can control, let go of the things you cannot control and be grateful for what you have right now.

An example she gave was being unhappy with where you are living–she said quit feeding the feeling by binge watching HGTV and reading “Better Homes and Gardens.” She said there’s a reason it’s called “BETTER” because there is ALWAYS something better than what you have! Whoa.

She then recounted what she had seen in Haiti and how there are people still living in the FEMA tents given to them when the earthquake happened five years ago.

As she went down a list of complaints typical Americans have on a daily basis she was quick to point out that this is NOT to make us feel guilty, but to help shift our perspective. She and my friend Sara (as I processed the podcast with her) both wisely said that we shouldn’t feel guilt for our sadness, because our perception IS our reality. It just helps us reclaim the joy we can have in our immediate circumstances if we can take a wider look at the issue.

So as I ran on and stared at that equation on the wall (mainly because I did not want to see how much further I had to go, just putting one foot down at a time and refusing to think about the distance or time) I could feel God gently re-centering my perspective.

I have the ability to run, even if it seems impossible.

I have friends to help me out and take the next step–whatever that may be.

My husband was returning that evening from his work trip to provide support…and I know by experience this is not a guarantee.

God mercifully provides rest at the end of a long day, (at the very least for a few hours at a time!) So it will not always feel this intense.

And as I neared the end of my run…way past my 10 minute quitting mark and feeling good (Praise God) that equation came into focus for me. Here’s a pic for you…

IMG_3885I’m sure you see something different.

So if I had taken time to consider the wider picture, looked past the end of my nose, I would have used the context of the situation to  remember that Sara’s husband is a musician as well as a teacher. This wasn’t an equation mocking my math abilities, but the simple heading of “Set A” ready for an order of songs to be played.

Good gravy.

As I hit the cool down time I couldn’t help be in awe of how sweet God was to me. He gently gave me this illustration to remind me that my humanness is something He created. He wanted me to see that in my human condition there is no way for me to see the whys and hows of the big picture like He does so it is natural for us to feel it is all too much.

However, He has given us the tools to find relief in Him. Shift perspective at times, and if that doesn’t help it’s okay too.  He will be there to pick up the pieces. No matter what. That is called grace.

At the end of our book study on Every Bitter Thing is Sweet the author wisely reminds us that the memories of the sustenance provided for us yesterday is not enough to maintain us today.

If memories sustained us, there would be no reason to grow, learn and enjoy the here and now.

I will pray today, I will be present in today’s moments, I will control what I can control and leave the rest to our God almighty. We have to keep returning to the Source for our daily bread.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

4 Comments

  1. I love it! It’s not about solving anything, but about letting our perspective change to see the answers/path/grace/fill-in-the-blank that God is already holding out to us. Be still and see. “Be still and know that I am God.” I am so thankful that He gently teaches us.

  2. It’s been my goal this year school year to control my “circle of concern” to make it better match my “circle of control.”
    🙂

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