I have a love-hate relationship with running. I have wanted so bad to be a runner, but I could never seem to push past my exercise-induced asthma to make it happen. In college, my best bud Sally Jo and I would wake up at an ungodly 5:30 in the morning to go run around College Field. I. Hated. Every. Minute. But I desperately wanted to run. So over the years I have kept pushing. Most days I’m still a hater.
2013 has been the year for me to change my perspective. Instead of dreading is as a horrible task that I’m not good at, I decided to embrace it. I downloaded Pandora on my phone and decided to worship while I ran. I chose a Meredith Andrews station and this was a sampling of what I got:
Worth It All (even the sweat)
Here With Us (so I don’t die alone)
Word of God Speak (and tell me it’s almost over)
Revelation Song (reveal the weight I will lose)
And then, all joking aside, the cool down:
O, How He Loves (even when we don’t reach our goals)
My Beloved (He loves me no matter how long I run or how I look)
And lo and behold, I ran 4 miles in one sitting (somehow that phrase doesn’t seem to fit there.) That may not mean much to some people, but to me, that was HUGE.
I got tired of not-being-able.
When you get tired of saying you can’t, you will find that you will.
I can do all things through Christ. Oh, but the excuses crowd in and the motivation moves out and the intentions move aside and the only thing we have left is the “couldn’t”s.
This thing of New Year’s resolutions? It’s for sissies. (What about mid-year resolutions? No one ever hears about those.)
My experience with losing weight has confirmed in my mind that the only way to do ANYTHING is to change your heart. You can change your mind a million times. (It IS a woman’s prerogative.) You can change your food and your exercise. But until you change your heart, your mind won’t change. Permanently. When you see the pecan pie. When you see the new outfit you want. When you become discontent.
Perhaps contentment is at the heart of it all. It strikes a weird balance… being content enough to whisper thanks for what things are and discontent enough to make them better. But I promise you, contentment works that way. If you’re determined to be content in any situation, you’ll find that you have the power to be better. To be more.
Perhaps the only way to be more is to be content right now, because then the road to success doesn’t seem to take so long and you will have learned to be disciplined instead of riding on a wave of desire or trend and the more means more when you finally reach it.
The greatest lie is the one that causes us to be constantly grabbing for what we don’t have instead of holding tightly to what we do have. One day we’ll wake up and realize that what we always wanted is what we had all along.
If we spent more time looking back on our blessings rather than counting the things we wish we could change, we might have fewer resolutions and just be at peace with ourselves and the world. (That being said, we do not live in a utopia and there is always room for improvement. I consider every day a new year in that respect.)
So, what things would you change if you could? How about we narrow it down… what is the ONE THING that you would change if you could? The proper reaction to a thing we can’t change is to embrace it and give thanks and learn to be content despite it. The proper reaction to the thing we can change is to change it with God’s help. Slow baby steps of obedience. Could we be brave enough to say, “I’m content either way, Lord, but if you’ll help me with this, I’d like to be more effective for Your kingdom in this area.” Positive words of affirmation and constant reminders of God’s promises keep a stale “resolution” going.
I encourage you to reflect on the greatest things from 2013. (And don’t forget to count the worst things. They’ll show up later and they might even turn out to be the greatest things.) And then, find a verse or a word that you want to define 2014. It might change your life.
Because in the end, what’s important is not what was changed. It’s about us being changed.