Sunday, April 18, 2010

Restoration - Part II

Hello all!  As some of you may know, I'm training for my first ever half marathon on May 9th (I ran a 5k, like, 4 years ago and I walked most of it, so this is really my first race ever!).  Over the last two years I've started running a few miles here and there, but never wouldn't have considered myself  "a runner"...until now, baby!!!  Over the last two months, I have gone from a fair-weather, occasional a full on running machine (I'm up to 10 miles in 1 hour and 44 minutes. Hallelujah!).  How did this happen, you ask!? Great question.  Thank you for asking.  Well, it happened when I decided to stop believing false ideas I had about myself, stop making excuses to avoid change and difficulties, stop fearing failure, stop thinking I am someone that doesn't complete things, stop telling myself I can't, stop listening to people that reinforce all of these false ideas about myself, and more than all that...START letting God come into the places of my life where all of these thoughts and feelings lived and let Him do some serious house cleaning.  It's hard to do that though, isn't it?  Not only is change hard...even when you know it's for the better, but what is even harder  is to believe that God won't let you down; that He won't leave you; that He will be your biggest cheerleader, fan, and supporter; and that He really and truly can and will show up in the situation you thought was impossible and show His glory, power, and LOVE!

When I'm running long distances....okay, even short distances....I always find myself checking how many miles I've gone so far, how much longer I have, how fast I am going, etc.  I need to constantly know where I am and how much longer until I'm done.  I know my goal....and I want to reach it in the fastest way possible.  But when I do this, it seriously seems like time slows down to an almost halt.  You know the old saying, "a watched pot never boils"......well, a watched run never ends.  I feel like I am about to pass out and die....I assume that I am almost done with my nine mile run....I look at the gauges and find that I have only run 3 miles. Oh the humanity!

Another thing I do is think way too much about my running form.  Am I landing my feet correctly?  Is my stride too short? Is my stride too long?  Am I slouching?  Am I bouncing up and down too much?  And every time I do stride gets all out of whack and I end up overthinking it so much that I run in such a way that I start to feel pain.  I KNOW I'm not supposed to do these things.  I know that I am supposed to just enjoy the run, listen to the music, zone out, pray, talk to God, sing out loud and freak out all the people in the gym....but it's SO HARD!!!  I've tried to listen to my music, stare into the distance...go all zen and enter a blissful state of nothingness, talk to God, etc.  I even tried bringing a towel so that I could cover all the gauges that tell me my progress....but, inevitably, I move the towel and peak, or check the clock on the wall for my time. 

Every time, right before I am about to move the towel and check my status...I feel something in me telling me not to.  BUT I do it anyway...because even though I have changed a lot over the stubbornness has been the last thing to go.  (I like to think of it more as "tenacity" and "drive" than stubbornness, but whatever!) And then I find out how far I am from the end and my spirits get low and I start thinking that I can't do it.  I'm already tired.  I'm already hurting.  I'm already thirsty.  And I'm not anywhere close to the end.  How can I keep going?  It's too hard.

I do this very same thing with my life in general.

I am always wanting to gauge my status.

Has God answered that prayer yet?  I start looking up all the Bible verses I can find about how God answers prayers swiftly and doesn't make His people wait.  I start reminding God how He promised to give us what we ask for as long as it is in His will.  Then I start pleading my case as to how my request is obviously in God's will, so if He could just go ahead and get on that....that'd be great.

I know the desires in my heart.  And I also know that God will bless me with them beyond anything I can possibly imagine.  But I start to lose heart as time passes and Jesus tarries.  What's He waiting on!?  But what God is showing me right now is that the things I used to think were impossible are now the prayers in the past that I felt like weren't being answered, are now answered.  Given that fact, why wouldn't Jesus come through for me now!? 

Today in church, Pastor Michael preached on John 11 and how Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead.  He preached on the fact that even though Mary and Martha both knew Jesus...and considered Him a close friend, they still didn't really get that He was God.  They thought that Jesus had shown up too late to save their brother and even after Jesus told them that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, they still didn't quite understand that He was God and could do it.  They thought that He had taken too long from when they initially called upon Him.  They doubted.

This is the same with our hopes and dreams.  We call out to God and when He doesn't produce the instant we ask Him....we begin to lose hope.  We tell ourselves that God must not be real or if he is he doesn't care about what we want or need.  We weep at our lost dreams.  We bury them, place a big rock in front of them. and we mourn their loss.  We give up hope because we think there is no way that God can raise our dead dreams, hopes, souls, spirits.  I think of all of the things in me that I counted as dead and gone...such as my love of writing.  But now, God has raised that dream back up and now I can glorify Him with it.  Jesus could have easy healed Lazarus, but then there wouldn't have been as much glory in it.  What is better than a dream come true...a dead dream brought back to life, that not only comes true, but was bigger and better than what you could have ever imagined.  Jesus showed God's glory by waiting 4 days to raise Lazarus.  God showed His power by raising Jesus from the dead after three days in the grave.  Remember everyone, we aren't here on Earth in order to get our own glory, we are here for God's glory.  If waiting and letting God do what He does best, means that His glory is greater, then I say it is well worth the wait.  It may seem strange that Lazarus, a close personal friend of Jesus, had to die while the other people got to be healed.  And even though Lazarus was eventually raised from the dead, what a harrowing experience that must have been.  Martha and Mary thought they had it bad, but at least they didn't die and get put in a tomb for 4 days.  It may seem like, even though you are a close personal friend of God, that you are getting the raw end of the deal while everyone else is out there getting their miracles.  But I bet that Lazarus counted himself blessed that God found favor in him enough to use him for His glory.  Lazarus had to die, so that God could have the glory.  But he didn't stay dead.....he lived and he gave testimony of God's power and greatness. 

God raised me from the dead.  I was dead in false ideas about myself.  I was dead in bad relationships.  I was dead in living an empty life trying to party my way into feeling fulfilled.  I was dead in so many ways.  People had given up on me, and I had given up on myself.  But Jesus came into my life and said, "Katie, come out!" No more wrapping myself in the false grave clothes.  I don't miss who I used to be.  I don't even know her anymore.  I don't live my life like everyone else, and I don't care...because God has restored me.



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