Running with Intention

I had my hands up above my head (partially relieving a side ache), and happy tears as I finished my run. A run that I didn't want to end.

This was how my day ended yesterday. It was a far cry from how it began.

When my husband is on day shift I wake up with him at 5am. He gets himself ready, I get his coffee and lunch ready. Something I didn't do for about eight months. Then I realized this was time I could have with him and I decided to take those early morning moments with him.

After he leaves I usually go back to bed, read my devotional app (First5 - ladies, it's awesome) and sleep for another hour or so until the girls are up and moving. Yesterday was Amazon Prime day, and I love a good deal. After spending a little time on my phone I had to get the computer. Now, I was up for the day for sure. I had what I wanted in my cart and one item was already sold out and the other wasn't working. I was so irritated with myself for "wasting" time and not getting the sleep I desperately needed (I'm fighting a chest cold brought on by allergies--I want to know why I still have allergies in July).

I heard a little voice saying, "Sister, wake up." I snuck Karoline out of her room with her sister still asleep, despite her attempt to wake her. We sat on the couch together while I decided to give my purchase one more attempt. I had to make that time I spent shopping instead of sleeping or being productive worth it. I did end up getting what I wanted and the morning wasn't a complete loss.

Yesterday was supposed to be spent going to Colorado Springs to see one of my most dear friends new baby boy. With this chest cold and drainage I decided I better keep my germs to myself. There is no way I would have been able to keep that sweet baby out of my hands. I of course would have felt terrible if I passed anything along to him.

I sent out a message to friends to see if anyone would like to join us at our neighborhood pool to try and salvage the day that was no longer going to include cuddling a sweet baby (I can smell that new baby the smell from here).

Two friends and their little girls were able to join us. We had a fine morning, but I was keeping to myself a bit. I did so enjoy their company but something was in the back of my mind. Something that was inhibiting me from feeling like I was completely there and in the moment.

After swimming I got the girls into bed for a nap and quiet time. Then sat down to go through my closet and dresser to get rid of things (I really have been irritated with just how "full" our house feels). While I was going through clothes I sent a text to one of the ladies who met us at the pool and apologized for being grumpy. This sweet friend was so kind and responded that she didn't think I was grumpy, just quiet. She said I didn't have to explain, but she was willing to listen. I have to stop right here and say just how much that text effected me. I appreciated so much the way she worded that. It makes me want to be a better friend who offers to listen. I don't know if she was ready for the can of worms that she opened, but it came pouring out. Up until that point I wasn't sure what was bothering me and had me in such a funk. A funk that was allowing me to feel my day was ruined by wasting time online shopping at 5am. This was my response to her willingness to listen...

"I feel like I can't find contentment. I'm disappointed in myself for having no drive to do or be successful at anything. I always was very involved in lots of activities growing up but never "specialized" in one thing. I can't even get the trim in our house painted and finished or start some projects that I know I want to do. I'm mad that I don't take time for God every day. I don't take time for the girls where they have my undivided attention on a daily basis. I'm a stay at home mom, shouldn't that be easy?"

And this was her response, "It's absolutely not easy. At all. Give yourself grace, it's easier said than done, I know. I'm there a lot, too. Beating myself up for not getting it all done. God is not a God of guilt or overwhelming feelings. That is not from Him."

In her beautiful response I realized two things. First, surrounding yourself with friends who will lift you up and do not commiserate with you or allow you to go down that hole is vital. I'm working on becoming that kind of friend. Second, in our sermon last week I left knowing I need to have more grace for my family and my neighbors. It was a powerful sermon and spoke to my heart (if you have an extra hour, I strongly suggest watching it here). What I failed to realize after receiving the message was I need to give myself the same grace.
Grace. Grace for myself to be content in what it is I have to do in the moment I'm in. The rest of nap time I organized. Just doing something made me feel accomplished. When the girls got up we went to the post office, made dinner, Tim came home, I gave the girls a bath and got them into bed. Earlier in the day I had talked to my aunt about our work outs. We've been encouraging each other in our fitness journey. She told me while she was running she was praying. I loved this idea. I felt like it would give even more meaning to exercising and alone time. It also would help me accomplish something I know I'm lacking, time in prayer and time with God.  I knew I needed time to myself, and even though going for a run at 8:15pm meant I would get into bed later, I went anyway. I didn't walk for near as long as I usually do and started to jog. When I leave my house I start out going uphill. I have learned over my first few days of running that I breath better while running uphill, which is a strange concept to me. Maybe I have to take deeper breathes or something. As I began to run I had a worship song playing and I started to pray. I was naming everyone I was thankful for, when I said their names I prayed that they would be blessed. I was more than a quarter of the way done through my run before I took a break to walk. My break was shorter than normal and I started running again without playing mind games of choosing what land mark I would start running at again. I ran, I prayed. I stopped when I saw a field of weeds. They were weeds, but something about them was intriguing, the lines, the way they moved in the wind. I was thankful for them, thankful for all the things God made.
Close to my cool down and walk point, I put my hands up in the air, out of joy and to relieve my side ache. I had happy tears. I ran, and it was the best run yet, on so many levels.

This morning when I opened my First5 devotional app I was blown away that it completely wrapped up my feelings from yesterday.
"Experiencing more of God often requires us to step away from the normal so we can fully participate  in the exceptional. But that can be hard to do. Even though nothing can compare to being in God's presence, we may find ourselves struggling to let go of our daily routines. To do less so we can experience more of Him. To set aside all that's grabbing our attention so we can completely give our devotion to the Lord." 
"How often do we choose the normal and forfeit the exceptional? And we wonder why we're so exhausted all the time -- feeling spiritually depleted and emotionally dry. Could it be that our sense of loneliness and desire for more community is really a symptom from rushing through our intimate time with the One who matters the most?"

My trim isn't getting painted any time soon, I have lots of things to organize, things I want to do. Things I want to be good at and put time into. This morning I was greeted with a changed heart and a new perspective on all of those wants. I was up early and ready to accomplish things. I read the First5 app, read my devotional, read my bible and then went about my day, already feeling accomplished. 

I pray your day is blessed. 

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