What’s Your Training Plan?

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”

Monday-short run. Tuesday-strength training. Wednesday-cross training. Thursday-short run. Friday-strength training. Saturday-long run. Sunday-rest!

Are you following a training plan? Whether you’re a beginning runner or a seasoned veteran with a wall of medals, you’ve got to have a plan. You need to know what your strategy is from day-to-day in preparation for upcoming races.

Training plans are usually developed by experts. They develop plans so runners will have the endurance to successfully complete whatever their distance goal may be. Many faithfully follow Jeff Galloway’s trademark plan, designed for those who desire a mix of running and walking. Running expert Hal Higdon is known for his myriad of training plans for every running level.

Runner’s World magazine lays out multiple plans to choose from. Beginner 5K plans. Intermediate 10K plans. Advanced half-marathon plans. Beginner marathon plans. Whatever your goal is, there’s a strategic plan mapped out specifically for you.

Once you embrace a specific training plan, you know without a doubt that it’s equipping you to be a better runner. And most importantly, it enables you to cross the finish line.

Imagine a half marathon on the horizon without a training plan in place.  Would you just go with the flow from week to week depending on how you felt? Would you show up at the start line unprepared?

Just as runners follow a training plan, in the same way we follow a training plan to live our lives for Christ. In this case, there’s not a multitude of plans to choose from. It’s called the Bible. Whether you’re a new Christian learning to walk or a seasoned follower teaching others, we all live by this training manual. God’s breathed, inspired and flawless word—not the opinion of men or current culture.

This is what drives us.

This is what aligns us with our creator.

This is what keeps us on the righteous path.

Without it, we’re like a clueless runner without a training plan.

The Bible—our training manual for life—was developed by an expert. God himself used many people—led by the Holy Spirit—to write his story for us. From the creation to the fall. From the cross to redemption. He shows us who he is and how we are to live for him.

A runner’s training plan dictates daily steps to accomplish. But when it comes to God’s word, we have to dig a little deeper to hear him. We have to be still long enough to know what our next step is. We must be patient, studying and soaking up what God wants to show us.

The word of God will challenge us, yet comfort us at the same time.

The word of God will show us our sin up close, yet it equips us with strength.

Whatever each day brings, God desires to teach, direct and guide us on the path he’s prepared for us.

When we embrace God’s word, it equips us to be better followers of Christ. Whatever situations we face, his word gives us direction and insight. The strength we gain from the word of God enables us to thrive, and not just survive.

A finish line awaits us at the end of our earthly days. I don’t know about you, but I want to arrive and hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

READY? How would your life change if you engaged in God’s word with the same devotion you give your training plan for running? Identify an area of your life where you need direction. Pray and ask God to speak to you through his word and show you your next step.

GET SET. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

GO!  Heavenly father, thank you for giving us your word! Please help me embrace it for every situation in my life. Help me to understand your word when it seems confusing. May your word guide and direct me for all my days no matter what others around me are saying. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

When Your Body Wears Down

2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 

She loved running. This passion fueled her for many years. But one day the excruciating pain in her knees and hips drove her to see her doctor. After waiting for x-ray results, the dreaded diagnosis hit her smack in the face. “I hate to tell you this, but you have osteoarthritis,” the doctor informed. Unfamiliar with the condition, she pleaded with her doctor to explain this culprit—the very thing interfering with her running. Losing heart, she dropped her head in despair.

Osteoarthritis. Not something any runner wants to hear. But the truth is, as we age, osteoarthritis becomes an issue for one out of every two people. Also known as a degenerative joint disease, it causes inflammation and pain in one or more joints. A lifetime of walking, exercising and moving around in general takes a toll on our cartilage. Once arthritis of this type sets in, the cartilage deteriorates, which can lead to bone scraping against bone. Even if you don’t develop osteoarthritis, the stark truth remains: We lose muscle tone and bone strength the older we get!

Dear friend, don’t let this truth bring you down. It’s an uncontrollable fact that our physical bodies will wear down. They won’t last forever. Even the bodies of the most elite runners will eventually wear out. Living in a fallen world, all human beings have a common condition. It’s called sin. But as followers of Christ, we don’t have to lose heart. We don’t have to drop our heads in despair. We can rejoice! Why? Our soul doesn’t waste away. Our soul is renewed day by day.  We become more like Christ through the process of sanctification. The more we seek after him, the stronger our faith becomes. The more we rest in his presence, the power of sin loses its grip on us. The more we humbly surrender to his calling, the more he increases in us.

And the good news gets even better. Even after our physical bodies wear out and we take our last breath on this earth, we are immediately ushered into the presence of God. We’ll see him face-to-face. He promises us a brand new resurrection body. A body that won’t wear out. A body that won’t deteriorate. A body without any pain. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get to continue our running journey in heaven. No shin splints. No cramping muscles. No torn ligaments. No aching knees. Can you imagine that?

So until that day comes, we keep on running. We keep pressing on. We run our hearts out until we can’t take another step. No matter what type of physical diagnosis we receive for our earthly body, we’ll graciously accept it when that time comes. In the meantime, we keep running in our spiritual race. We keep pressing into Jesus. We run our heart out until our last breath. We can rejoice in the fact that we’ve already received our spiritual diagnosis. We are sinners saved by grace.

READY?  Is your life currently affected by any physical pain? What are you most looking forward to when you will experience living in a brand new body in heaven? Whether you have physical pain or not, is your faith growing stronger? What steps do you need to take to keep God the center of your life?

GET SET. 1 Timothy 4:8 “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

GO!  Lord Jesus, I feel weary sometimes living in this physical body! Help me not to focus solely on my physical condition, but to embrace caring for the soul you’ve given me. Thank you for the promise of a new body in heaven. But even more so, thank you for the promise of seeing you face-to-face one day. Help me live in such a way that my life pleases you for the days I run my race of faith on this earth. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my BOOK.

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Who Are You Competing Against?

2 Corinthians 10:12 “…When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

 

Just a few hours after the 10K, the race results glared on the screen in front of me. Every single person who finished the race could be searched. From the winner all the way to the last person who crossed the finish line. Plugging in my name, I viewed my results. There in front of me I could see my total time and average pace.

Just as I was starting to feel good about my accomplishment, I looked at the next column over and saw another set of numbers: Number in age group; my placement in that specific age group; my placement in the entire race. A lot of other women in my age bracket finished sooner than I did! Now I didn’t feel so good about my time. Shouldn’t I be able to run at a faster pace like these women my same age? Feelings of defeat washed over me.

To make myself feel better, I searched the results of women 20 years older than me. Now as I scrolled through finish times longer than mine, I felt a sense of pride. Well, at least I beat these women.  I didn’t come in last place.

Unless we’re the first one to cross the finish line, there will always be someone faster than us. But if we focus on comparing ourselves to these people, we’ll be left with disappointment. The opposite is true as well. If we compare ourselves to slower runners just to feel better about ourselves, we get puffed up with pride and a false sense of security.

In the same way, we sometimes mimic this behavior in other areas of our life. When we compare ourselves to people who are more successful, wiser and richer we find ourselves feeling defeated. I should be further along, like her.  Before we know it, we continue the comparison game. To brush off these feelings, we turn our attention to those whom we feel are beneath us. Those who may be struggling in areas we are strong in. Those who are just beginning a journey we’ve been on for years. At least I’m better than those people.

Oh how foolish we are to do both of these! Gazing at others ahead of us—through the lens of comparison—leaves us discontent. Looking at those who are struggling—through a lens of judgment— leaves us prideful.  Instead of comparing, shouldn’t we focus on where we are? Shouldn’t we strive to live the life God has called us to? Using the gifts and talents He’s blessed us with to fulfill our purpose—instead of comparing them to others.

When we stand before God one day we won’t be standing alongside anyone else. Each one of us must give an account for the life we lived. God won’t scroll through a list of people and say, Look, you should’ve done better than her. And he won’t say, Great job, you performed better than these other people.

Most runners embrace a PR approach in races. Personal Record. Instead of comparing our finish time with other runners, we compare our finish time to our own time in a previous race. We attempt to beat our best time. The person we aim to compete with is ourselves.

Maybe that’s how we should approach this journey of faith we’re on. Instead of comparing our lives to others, we focus on making progress with our own struggles. Instead of judging others, we embrace humility, thanking God for rescuing us from our previous ways of sin. And when we conquer one area of sin, He takes us further and shows us something else.

READY? Can you identify an area of your life where you compare yourself to someone else? What effect does this have on you? Ask God to reveal a current struggle you need to commit to him.

GET SET. Galatians 6:4 “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction for a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (NLT)

 GO!  Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve foolishly compared myself to others. Free me from any chains of discontentment or pride. Give me direction to focus on the life you’ve called me to. Help me walk in humility. Give me victory over the sins I struggle with. Amen

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Figuring Out Your Course

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

For most official races, runners can view the course online. You can view every single twist and turn. In detail, you can see the highest point of elevation. You know precisely at which mile markers the path will ascend to steep hills. You can sigh with relief knowing exactly where the path will descend, giving you breaks throughout the race. Some runners will even determine whether or not to register for a race based on the course layout. Too many hills! I want a flatter course. Better not run this race, the elevation is too steep towards the end. I’ll be too exhausted.

You can even view the places where water stops are located. Knowing this beforehand, runners can train to run specific lengths, spacing out their water intake. Mentally you can prepare for worst case scenarios, seeing exactly where medical tents are located. Most importantly, you can see exactly where the finish line is. You tuck the names of the intersecting streets in the back of your mind. That’s where I’ll finish the race. That’s where my family will meet me afterwards and congratulate me.

All of this information we are privy to is great!  Can you imagine how cool it would be to see the course of your real life? To actually see in detail what was in your future? You’d see every exciting milestone awaiting you. In wonderful elation, you could anticipate all those mountain top experiences in your future.

But if you examined the course a little closer, you’d also see the dark valleys up ahead. What?! Just around that corner you’d see a marriage crumbling, ending in divorce. The unexpected job loss—the one you thought was secure just a few miles back. Huh?! And when you keep looking further down the course, you’d find that one of your kids has broken your heart. And you don’t even see a medical tent anywhere in sight. What would you do?

Maybe you wouldn’t even want to continue your race of life any longer. I can’t bear the thought of these things coming. I want an easier course. I won’t be able to live this kind of life.

Thankfully, we don’t get this kind of information in our journey of life. That’s not how God designed us to live. While we don’t get to see the whole course of our lives mapped out in front of us, God does. We don’t know the details of trials and challenges headed our way, but He does. We can’t fathom the abundant blessings He has in store for us, but He knows and can’t wait to lavish them upon us.

He’s designed us to live one moment at a time, in total dependence on him. Our flesh craves to see an entire mile at a time. But God wants to lead us one step at a time. We desire to know how long a certain trial will last. But God wants us to trust.

When we register to run the race of faith with Jesus as our guide, we run with all our might. We run with boldness and perseverance. We run like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, we don’t know what a day will bring forth. We may think our course is quite long, but we don’t know exactly where our finish line will be. Whether it’s a quick 5K or multiple marathons back-to-back, we must keep on running. Keep on trusting. Keep on thriving.

So while we don’t know where our earthly finish line will be, we know who is leading us on the course. And we are promised that He will greet us at the intersection of time and eternity. Now that’s something to get excited about!

READY? If there was one thing you could figure out about your future, what would it be? Are you willing to surrender this concern to Jesus? Take some extended time to pray about your fears and worries and lay them at the foot of the cross.

GET SET. Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.”

GO! Lord Jesus, help me to trust you with every twist and turn of my life. I’m so prone to worry and wanting to know what’s up ahead, that I’m missing out on knowing you more intimately. Help me to let go of the things out of my control and trust you completely. Amen

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

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In the Heat of Summer

Isaiah 58:11 “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Heading out the door, you check the temperature. Already 80 degrees! Sweat begins pouring down your face. Just minutes into your run, you’re already out of breath. The scorching sun feels like your enemy, staring you down.  The humidity is unbearable–sapping all the energy out of every fiber of your weary muscles. Your parched mouth craves water sooner than normal. Tempted to quit, you wonder if you can finish what you’d planned to run. You’d give anything to return to the previous months of cooler temps. But no, this is what it’s like to run in the heat of summer.

Running in extreme heat puts more stress on the heart and our muscles don’t get as much oxygen. The higher the humidity level, the harder it is for our bodies to evaporate sweat, making it difficult to cool down. No wonder we reach exhaustion sooner!

But runners who want to maintain fitness goals and train for fall races have no choice but to run in the heat. So instead of quitting, we must adapt to the heat. There are multiple tips on beating the heat, but the most essential thing we can do is maintain optimal hydration.  We have to drink more than what we’re used to–even when we don’t feel thirsty. Without enough water we risk dehydration, causing muscle cramps, dizziness and nausea. It’s a matter of survival!

Just as runners must hydrate more frequently in extreme heat, Christ followers must run to the source of our living water–especially when we’re in a season of life that feels like a desert. Ever been there? Before the day even starts, a wave of exhaustion washes over you. You dread the day ahead. Can’t I just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep? You’ve lost your joy. Your motivation to live purposefully has disappeared.  Your faith feels like it’s dried up, leaving your soul parched. Maybe you don’t feel God near you. Perhaps you’ve given up waiting for an answer to your prayer. Every fiber of your weary soul is burdened. Worn out from stress and anxiety, you wonder if you’ll ever make it to the other side of the desert you’re trudging through. Why even bother? Does it really matter?

Dear friend, it does matter! Although Jesus told us to expect trials in this fallen world, he promised to never leave us–even when we don’t feel it. Desert seasons often usher in waves of exhaustion, fear and hopelessness–crashing in and pushing out our peace and joy. But instead of quitting, we must resolve to stay faithful and embrace Jesus with our whole heart. Whether we thirst for him or not, we must fix our eyes on him and cling to him more than ever before. Spending time in prayer. Soaking up promises from his word. Resting in his presence. Reaching out to him desperately. Without him, we risk falling into hopelessness and despair. It’s a matter of survival!

I don’t know how long your desert season may last. But I can promise you that Jesus is with you every step of the way. Your sun-scorched soul will be watered…by him alone. The heavy burdens weighing you down will be lifted…by him alone. The empty places of your heart will be filled…by him alone.

READY? If you’re walking through a desert season, what are you actively doing to maintain your relationship with Jesus? Recall a previous time in your life when you walked through a desert season. What insight did you gain from that time in your life? Claim a promise from God’s word you can cling to for times you may not feel his presence.

 

GET SET.  John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

GO! Jesus, I praise your name for your faithfulness to me. Even when I’m going through a rough time, I thank you for your promises. Help me embrace your presence when I’m walking through a desert. May your truth fill my thirst and satisfy my longings. You truly are the living water. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Ahead of You?

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Just when you think you’ve arrived at your fastest pace, whoosh! Another runner speeds past you like a bolt of lightning. You can almost feel a breeze from the force of their speed. You see them quickly disappear from your view and before you know it, they’re long gone. How in the world does she keep up that pace? I’ll never be able to catch up!

Unless you’re the first one to cross the finish line in a race, there’s always going to be someone running ahead of you.  We are definitely called to run at our own pace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others who are ahead of us. Beginning runners seek out training tips from veteran runners. Runners who’ve sustained their first injuries could gain valuable wisdom from others who survived those same injuries. The first race ushers in a wave of anxious nerves. What should I expect? What should I wear for this kind of weather? Who else out there would know answers to these questions? Runners ahead of you! Their pace may not necessarily be faster than you, but they’ve pounded the pavement far longer than you have. Instead of putting them in an unreachable category, those of us who are behind them could instead reach out and ask for guidance and insight.

Dear friend, if you’re a follower of Christ, there’s always going to be someone ahead of you—further up the path of life. People who have been following Christ for many years longer. People who have long ago passed through the very same season you may be walking through now. People who have much wisdom and insight to offer if only we will ask. As you enter into a difficult season, perhaps a wave of anxiety is rushing into the depth of your weary soul. How will I ever get through this? Will I ever make it to the other side? And then you may wonder with great curiosity. WHO do I know that perhaps has ventured through this same kind of challenge?

Let me tell you without a doubt that someone is ahead of you that can gently and lovingly guide you. Maybe it’s an older mom who survived the season of raising teenagers. Maybe it’s the woman you’ve heard about who survived her nasty divorce and is on the other side now. Whatever challenge you may be facing, you’re more likely to gain peace and strength with someone else helping you through. So go ahead. Reach out. Ask. Humbly wave the white flag of your soul and courageously say, “I need your help!”

In the Bible we meet a young man named Timothy, a new believer who needed some guidance and direction. The apostle Paul was running his race ahead of Timothy. Paul poured his very life into this young man! Without Paul, Timothy would’ve floundered in his faith. Grown weary. Lost his hope. But instead he clung to Paul. He humbled himself and listened with a teachable heart. And then he flourished into a bold teacher of the gospel. He could keep running his race at a fierce pace because he walked in the footsteps of Paul. Who’s ahead of you?

READY?  Identify an area of your life where you feel challenged and could use some guidance. Ask God to show you someone who has walked through a similar challenge. Are you willing to reach out and ask for help? Pray and ask God for strength and wisdom to take the next step.

GET SET.  Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, this life can feel so difficult at times! I feel weary trying to navigate through the hard times on my own. You’ve called us to carry each other’s burdens, so I humbly ask you to show me someone who’s ahead of me who can walk alongside me during this season of my life. Help me set aside any pride that may stand in the way. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Which Side Are You Running On?

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of you mind.”

 

Cars approaching you closer and closer. Zooming past you, just inches away. It’s enough to usher in a wave of fear, wondering if you’ll get plowed over. It can feel downright awkward and vulnerable. This just seems backward. You feel like every driver is staring you down. For safety, runners are urged to run on the left side of the road—facing traffic. Huh? It doesn’t make sense! It would feel much more comfortable to run with the flow of traffic rather than against it.

The truth is you’re doing the right thing by running against traffic. Running on the left shoulder facing oncoming traffic is much safer than having cars at your back. In most states, it’s not even a matter of choice; the law requires that runners face oncoming traffic. Oncoming traffic can better see you. If you ran on the right side of the road, you couldn’t see what’s coming behind you. Distracted drivers (texting or looking at their phones) won’t be able to see you until the last-minute. Or in some cases, won’t see you at all until it’s too late.

Runners who run with traffic are dangerously putting themselves at high risk. So the best way to prevent an untimely meeting with a vehicle is to be able to see them. And that means you must run against the traffic and ignore what appears to be a comfortable pattern.

As followers of Christ, we are called to stand out from the world. We are set apart. That means we don’t conform to the ways of our culture. The spirit of this world opposes the ways of God. The spirit of this world is wrapped around pleasing self. People who are not God-driven are caught up in the whirlwind of a dangerous traffic pattern. Its force is strong. At times it may even look appealing, beckoning us to join in. If we aren’t careful, we can get distracted. Before we know it, we’re caught up in the rushing current of sin. And then we think it’s no big deal because everyone’s doing it. This is the path everyone is traveling, so it must be right.

Just as runners go against the flow of traffic for physical safety, we must resolve to walk the narrow path for the life of our soul. As tempting as it may be to blend in with the world, we must commit our lives to walk as Jesus did. We must embrace the path He has laid out for us. This path will not look like that of our unbelieving neighbors and coworkers. This path will not be popular. This path will not feel comfortable. On the contrary, this path will feel awkward. It will cause us to feel very vulnerable before others. Walking this path will go against every fleshly desire welling up inside us. But this is the path we must embrace if we are true followers of Christ.

Hurting people in this world will notice us plain as day. Broken hearts will be drawn to the hope radiating out of us. Empty souls will turn in our direction, longing to be filled. But they won’t notice us if we’re blending in with the traffic pattern of the world.

READY? As a follower of Christ, which side of the road are you running on? When are you tempted to blend in with the world? What is your response when it feels everything is against you? What steps can you take to confidently run your race of faith on the righteous path God has laid out?

GET SET. Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

 GO! Lord Jesus, this world is a tough place to live in. It’s so easy to get caught up in the flow of what seems right. I desperately cry out to you and ask you to strengthen me. Help me to be brave and walk the path you’ve laid out for me. Help me to be faithful even when it feels like I’m alone. Amen.

 

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If you enjoyed this post, check out my devotional book!

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

Life is Like a Tough Mudder Obstacle Course!

As a runner, I’m ingrained with a natural instinct to do two things:

1. Avoid puddles (You’re supposed to go around them, not through them!)

2. Steer clear of anything blocking my path. (You gotta keep up your pace without having to stop!)

While tackling my first Tough Mudder recently, both those instincts went out the window.

I’m wired to write about the parallels between running and our Christian faith journey. Yet after completing a 10 mile muddy course with military-style obstacles, my eyes were opened with new insight.

Life is really more like a muddy obstacle course!

PITFALL:   30 yards of wading through a murky-muddy wetland with sudden drop offs.  The first few steps you’re sloshing in shin-level water.  But looks can be deceiving. Suddenly you plunge into deeper water, almost to your waist.  You have no idea if the next step will be on firm ground or sinking deeper into the unknown.

Ever feel like this in your life? From your human perspective, all seems well. You think you’re on level ground, but then out of no where….you plunge into the unknown, your feet no longer on firm ground.

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But here’s our hope…

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

 

BIRTH CANAL: This obstacle forces you to crawl under a deceptively heavy water-filled plastic liner.  The pressure weighing down on me felt so overwhelming!  It forced you to push back up and slowly inch your way to the light at the other side.

Ever feel like the weight of stress is pinning you down? Like you can’t even breathe? The pressures of this life feel overwhelming at times and the only way to get through them is to humble yourself. In your humility you crawl one step at a time until you get on the other side.

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Here’s our hope….

2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but never destroyed.”

 

BERLIN WALLS: These were 10-foot walls you had to climb over. One of the toughest obstacles for me, every time I came face-to-face with one I muttered, I can’t do this one. There’s no way I’m gonna climb over this wall!  And the truth was that I could NOT climb those walls.

Not alone.

But with the help of other people, I could–and did–get over those walls! I had to be lifted up by stronger bodies.  Once I was at the top of the wall, I felt fear grip me. I’m gonna fall! I don’t know what to do next!  But other people at the top of the wall reassured me I was safe. Once my legs were over the top of the wall and I felt myself being lowered to the ground, my fear subsided.

Ever feel like you’ve hit a wall in your life? Something stops you abruptly in your tracks. It stares you in the face, screaming full force:

Impossible! Insurmountable! Never! There’s no way!

Many challenges we face in this life are too difficult to face alone. Without support from others, we simply wouldn’t make it. But you have to be willing to ask. You have to hold out your hand and admit you’re struggling. God uses other people to carry us through our difficult times!

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Here’s our hope…

Psalm 18:29 “…with my God I can scale a wall.”

 

ARCTIC ENEMA: This is Tough Mudder’s signature ice bath obstacle! You plunge down a slippery slide into ice-cold water. When I say cold, I’m talking like 34 degrees cold. This is one of the obstacles I feared the most.

You don’t train for this. You just do it.

It’s more mental than physical. I can honestly say that thinking about this one and imagining what it would be like was more gripping than actually experiencing it. 

It literally takes your breath away. You come up out of the ice-cold water almost paralyzed. Every part of your body is shaking and it takes every ounce of energy you have to get out. My brother’s advice to me on this rang true in my mind:

Whatever you do, don’t stop and scream about how cold it is. Just keep moving and get out as quick as you can.

There are many challenges in life we can prepare for. We can seek advice on marriage, parenting and serving others. We can attend classes, read books and talk to people in order to equip ourselves for something that lies ahead.

But some things in life we simply can’t prepare for. Things that literally knock the breath out of us. Things that leave us feeling paralyzed all over. Things that bring shivers to every fiber of our soul.

The nugget of wisdom is this:

KEEP MOVING.

DON’T STOP.

JUST KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU’RE ON THE OTHER SIDE.

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Here’s our hope…

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

 

MUD MILE: This obstacle was the muddiest! You had to crawl over multiple mounds of mud and wade through waist-deep water in between each one. The most difficult thing about this was getting out of the water. In some places there were no footholds to climb up on. With no way to pull yourself up out of the murky mess, someone else had to lend a hand and pull you out.

Sometimes our lives are really messy. Dirty. Ugly.

We’re in over our head and there’s no way to pull ourselves out of the messes we’ve made. The man pulling the woman out of the muddy water is a powerful picture of how God reaches down and pulls us out of the mud and mire we’ve wallowed in.

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Here’s our hope…

Psalm 69:1-2 “Save me, Oh God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.”

 

CARRY YOUR WOOD: As a team, we had to carry a heavy log on our shoulders through mud and over two separate walls. This was one of those challenges requiring a team effort. No matter how strong, you could never do this alone.

Sometimes we are faced with heavy burdens we simply can not carry on our own. As the body of Christ, we walk alongside each other and help to lift the burdens of those who are feeling weary and overwhelmed.

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Here’s our hope…

Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

 

ELECTRO-SHOCK: Approaching the final obstacle of the Tough Mudder, I braced myself. Live wires hung over a field of mud with hay bales blocking my way. Some people can run through this and barely get shocked while others get knocked to the ground.

This is another obstacle you can’t train for. You just have to get through it.

The next 40 seconds were a blur. Just 10 seconds in, I got jolted and knocked to the ground. My entire body went limp. My face plunged into the muddy water. Instead of standing up and traversing the rest of the way, I stayed low on the ground and swam the rest of the way through. My eyes dripping with mud, I could barely see. My burning eyes and blurred vision lasted another hour until I got them cleaned out by medical personnel. (I went out with a bang!)

Some trials in our lives utterly knock us to our feet. We may watch others go through similar challenges unaffected, but because we are uniquely created, our experience may look and feel very different.  Often times in the middle of a difficult challenge, our vision is cloudy. We can’t see in front of us. Painful circumstances sting our heart and we just HURT.

With time we begin to see more clearly. With prayer we continue to seek God. And with the love of others, we get on the other side.

electroshock

Here’s our hope…..

Isaiah 40:30 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

With any of the obstacles I trudged through, the key was this:

Keep on going.

Don’t stop.

Someone’s got your back!

Whatever obstacle you find yourself in today, dear friends, let me encourage you to keep going. With your eyes fixed on Jesus, he’s got your back.

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

 

At the Crack of Dawn

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Darkness hovers. Most people still slumber in deep sleep. Our alarm clock blares. Eyes widening, we quickly bound out of bed. Careful not to wake anyone else in the house, we throw on our clothes. We’re ready to do what we planned all along. It’s the crack of dawn. Time to run.

Why is it that we runners choose to run so darn early? For heaven’s sake, it’s still dark outside! Our non-runner family members and friends question our motives to exchange another hour of sleep to run. Why not run later in the day when it’s not so, umm, dark?

Most runners claim that it’s beneficial to run in the early morning hours before other things start to interfere. Once the demands of the work day are underway or kids are bounding out of bed, it can be much harder to squeeze in a run. Feeling wiped out after a demanding day, the thought of running later in the day can seem daunting.

Running in the early morning gets your metabolism geared up for the rest of the day. Energy you didn’t have at first rushes through your blood vessels and you’re suddenly ready to face the day ahead with a more positive attitude. You’re also more likely to be aware of the food you put into your mouth after putting in hard work.

Runners claim it’s worth getting up early to see a sunrise first thing in the morning. The beauty and sheer joy of watching the sun come up is invigorating. Breathing in the cool air of the morning. Breathing out gratitude for such an awesome part of creation. With a refreshed perspective, you’re more able to tackle the day ahead.

While running early in the morning is good, seeking God in our first waking moments is even better. David writes in Psalms that his requests are brought to the Lord, in the morning. Early in the morning before we fall into our break-neck pace of life, we are urged to put our focus on God. Before we get distracted with work and interruptions from our kids. Before we start tackling our to-do list. Before we pick up our phone to check social media.

Seeking God first puts everything in perspective. Fixing our eyes on him before anything or anyone else grabs our attention sets the pace for the rest of the day. Humbling acknowledging him first allows the holy spirit to flow more freely through every part of your soul. Asking for his guidance makes us more cautious about what we choose to put into our mind throughout the day.

Even Jesus got up early in the morning to spend time with his heavenly father. He was fully man and fully God, yet he modeled for us what we should embrace first upon waking. His example should challenge us to follow in his footsteps. Footsteps that ran to God early in the morning.

It’s well worth rising early to encounter Jesus. Sitting still in his presence washes peace and joy over us like nothing else can. The power he infuses upon us is invigorating. We can then breathe in his grace. And this prepares us to breathe out praise to him throughout the rest of the day. Before we start our day, we’re refreshed with an eternal perspective. He prepares us to not just tackle the day ahead, but to thrive in it!

READY? How are you doing with spending time with God before your day gets going? Are there any changes you need to make in your schedule? How does spending quality time with God affect the rest of your day?

GET SET. Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

GO! Lord Jesus, thank you for the truth of your word. Help me to realize the importance of acknowledging you first in the morning. Forgive me for the times I’ve put other things ahead of you. Help me carve out the time to be still in your presence. Praise you for the promise that when we seek you first, you will provide all that we need. Amen.

sunrise pic

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett