race face part 2...

so do you remember this painful and yet adorable race face from last year...


here is one from more recently... last night...


running is hard. and she came by that pained look on her race face very naturally, she got it from her mama.

i make that face whenever i have to run the race of life (which is pretty much daily.) i grimace. i sweat. i cry. my stomach hurts. i feel like i might throw up. or give up. or hit someone up for an easier ride...

but thankfully rosie was making that face seconds from the finish line. she hates to run. but she loves to finish. she got that from her mama too.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

at least God doesn't tell us that we have to run the race with any other emotion other than perseverance. whew. though He could have said "walk the race." or "have someone carry you through the race." or "the race has been cancelled and there are doughnuts instead." but even the message version still uses the word RACE. and RUN. darn you message version. where are the doughnuts?

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (the message) This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause!

maybe in the "leamarshall get the message" version it reads... all that's left now is the shouting and the doughnuts- God's applause.

look closely...

Look closely. The beautiful may be small.

{emmanuel kant}

that is one of my favorite quotes. and when i take my walk everyday i have been taking one photo of one small beautiful thing. i use the instagram app on my iphone to take the photo. it also allows me to add some cool effects and then email myself the photo (or put it on facebook or twitter). 

i am in a season where the beautiful is hard to find somedays. i see the BIG AND UGLY much easier. my mind wants to fixate on all that is wrong and how i should have done things better and different. and so taking these photos remind me to look. to appreciate. to see God’s goodness in the land of the living. they remind me to look. and to see the beautiful. though it is small. it is there. it is always there. in different places. in vivid colors. sizes. shapes. but beautiful. and reassuring that God is not silent. He is not passive. He is active and alive. and at work. making all things beautiful in their time.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  Psalm 34:4-6

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.  Psalm 105:4

As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.  Psalm 123:1-3

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:25-27

move it or lose it...

if i don’t “move it” everyday, i will “lose it” and the “it” is my mind. and 12 steps of forward progress on the sanctification scale. hmmm, is there a sanctification scale? not stepping on to weigh myself on that on anytime soon...

or a regular scale either. just thought i would add that for clarity.

so let’s run right toward the second of the two things that i KNOW that i need, Lord help my UNKNOWING... 

i need to exercise (and eating well kind of falls into this category also). ugh. and ugh. and huge sigh of remorse inserted here...

it is a lesson that i THOUGHT i learned a few years ago. when i started running everyday and loved running. i kind of got obsessed with it. lost myself in the pursuit of skinnyness (hard to imagine if you look at me now). i wasn’t exercising for health’s sake. but for vanity. and i got lost in it. the pursuit. 

really lost. like a year of my life where i exercised 5 hours or more a day. ate less than 1000 calories a day and wrote down everything that went into my mouth kind of lost. where it is the ONE thing that matters most in your life. and it is how you judge whether you are good or bad by how many calories you won or lost that day.

but i am trying to remember what was good about those days, what was not obsession but just healthy. and it was the running part. i LOVED the running just for running’s sake. i know... crazy talk. and i still love it. i just love it at a slower pace. and mixed with some walking. not counting every calorie and measuring and freaking out if i am “over” for the day and panicking. that wasn’t healthy. but NOT exercising because i am afraid of going over into the dark side, isn’t healthy either. it is just another dark side.

i am a bit like the israelites in the old testament. one season OVER OBSESSIVE about the temple and how it looked and the next season FORGETTING TOTALLY about the temple and letting it fall into ruin. there is a middle place. a healthy place.

in my short term memory life of the oh so DAILY  i forget that i LOVE to run. that i NEED it. until i am actually running. 5 minutes before i run, i hate it. then a few steps into it... LOVE. and then the rest of the day as i am a more loving and gracious and joyful person because i have stretched my body and done what it needs to be healthy. 

but the next day, i forget it again. 

i forgot it for a few years. then a month ago, i started running again. i had been walking pretty faithfully for about 6 months. but one day i heard a song on my ipod that made me want to run. and so i ran. slow. but steady. and now i am up to about 3 miles a day.

when i remember that i love to run. but every day i seem to forget...

i think something akin to this happens...

luke 9:14
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, 
but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures,
 and they do not mature.

life’s worries, riches, and pleasures choke me. and make me forget what i KNOW. and i do not mature. i keep learning the same lessons again. insane. as einstein defined it...

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 
{albert einstein} 

i KNOW that i am a physical being. that i have physical limits given to me by God. unique ones. i must sleep and i must exercise and i must control what i eat. that is how He made me. and He made me that way for a reason. a Good reason. 

maybe i have to run because running is my favorite time to listen to sermons (i am in the middle of ephesians series with matt chandler right now, plus i listened to his current one on authority: government and institutions while i ran on tuesday to the church outside my neighborhood where i vote. it was a great one to listen to while going to vote.) somedays i am not in a sermony mood and just listen to music. mostly worship and praise music. with a couple of christina aquilera tunes thrown in for good measure. which might be the only times the words “worship and praise” and “christina aquilera” were ever used in back to back succession.

perhaps it is the only time that God can pry me away from my million and one things i must do or die list and focus completely on His voice. on learning more. on loving more. on living more fully.

yesterday during my run (maxx, my cross country boy call my running “run-ish” because i go so slow) i listened to the  song “i am running” by klaus (not santa) here are the lyrics... here is why i want to run...

“I hear the voice
It’s the voice of the One I love
He’s calling my name
I hear the voice
The voice of the One I love,
He’s calling my  name
He’s saying…
“Come up higher
I hear the angels sing
Come up higher, my beloved
Come up higher and leave this world behind
I find you to be beautiful.”
I am running, running after You
You’ve become my soul’s delight
I am running, running after You
Here with You I find my life.”

i feel beautiful when i run. not the world’s definition of beauty because God knows that is not how i must look when i run (and thank God there are no mirrors out where i run) but i feel beautiful by some other standard. some much more important standard. and not so fickle and finite.

Eric Liddell: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. 

lea marshall: i believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me slow. and when i run i feel His pleasure.

psalm 119: 32 
I run in the path of Your commands,
for You have broadened my understanding.

hebrews 12:1-2
... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

my prayer is that KNOWING that i have physical limits and that they are for my GOOD and that He has created me to NEED physical exercise every day will sink deep today... and tomorrow... and the day after that.

What matters is not the idea a man holds,
but the depth at which he holds it.
{ezra pound}