Who’s Behind You?

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Huffing and puffing to catch my breath, I came to a halt. Wiping sweat off my brow and looking at my watch, I felt a twinge of disappointment wash over me. My pace was slower than normal for our group’s weekly long run. Seven miles done. Trying to figure out what had slowed me down, I began walking toward my car.

Hey! Wait up!” I heard an unfamiliar voice calling out to me.

Turning around, a woman approached me with a smile on her face. “I was following you the whole time. You’ve got a pretty consistent pace.”

Huh? Someone was following me?

I’m training for my first half-marathon. I’m excited but very nervous too!”

After introductions, we struck up a conversation and I gave her some tips for training. With five half-marathons under my belt, I felt confident in guiding my new friend on her unfamiliar journey.

No matter what your pace is, there’s always going to be someone running behind you. Brand new runners venturing out for the very first time. Runners lacking confidence. Runners who don’t know what’s up ahead. Runners who are watching your every move to see how you’re running your race. These runners are in the same spot you used to be. Yes, there is someone always running behind you whether you notice them or not.

In our race of faith, there is someone running behind you, dear friend. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the pace of our own race that we forget to stop and turn around to help those running behind us. There are people watching us whether we realize it or not. People who are new Christians just starting out. People who are stuck in a rut and need some encouragement. People walking a path you’ve already navigated through. But do we ever slow down our pre-calculated pace long enough to help someone else? Do we slow down long enough to walk alongside someone who is hurting?

We often may think our pain and suffering is in vain. As genuine followers of Christ, we can testify that God carries us with strength and pours his comfort on us during hard times. He does a work IN us during these seasons. But it doesn’t stop there! He longs to do something THROUGH us. He desires for us to embrace those behind us and point them to Him. To lovingly comfort them. To assure them they’re going to make it. This is what the body of Christ is called to do.

So who’s behind you, dear friend? If you have children, they are watching you whether you realize it or not. What about that young mom with multiple children? You might be an empty-nester who could encourage her with your insight and wisdom. Is there someone at work or in your neighborhood struggling through a season of life you’ve already traveled through? I promise you that you won’t have to look very long. There will always be someone beginning to crawl onto a path you’ve just finished running. Ask God to show you. And don’t be surprised when they soak up your encouragement like a breath of fresh air.

READY? Do you find yourself too preoccupied with your own pace in life? Genuinely pray and ask God to show you who’s behind you at this season of life. What is the next step you can take to pour into that person? If you’re feeling anxious, ask God for his peace!

GET SET.  Romans 15:1 “We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of past times when you’ve comforted me through difficult seasons. I praise you for giving me strength. Help me come out of my comfort zone and show me the people you want me to help. Give me courage and wisdom. I long to point others to the power you’ve given me. Amen

whosbehindyou

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

What’s Your REAL LIFE?

A few months ago, I asked people on Facebook if they ever felt discouraged scrolling through countless pictures where everyone looked perfect, polished and everything seemed so positive. And then I came out of my comfort zone and posted the following pics:

reallife1 reallife3 Dirty dishes…Overflowing laundry

reallife2 reallife4 Nasty sink…No makeup

 

The response I got from people was overwhelming. Many said my post and pics were refreshing and encouraging to them. Some agreed that they too felt discouraged by the false reality they see on Facebook.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the lie that everyone has it all together. Or that what you see on Facebook is what your life should look like. (And if you really want to take it a step further, check out Pinterest!)

Perfect kids. Immaculate homes. Tantalizing meals that could be on the cover of a magazine. Flawless and polished selfies. Yep. I’ve seen all of these. And yes, I have posted all of these. I’ve proudly posted my kids’ achievements, my exciting celebrations, and of course the perfect date night pics with my husband. I’ll even admit to taking 10 selfies before choosing the best one!

There’s nothing wrong in and of itself for us to post these things on social media. So please hear me out on this. I’m not saying we should all stop posting the highlights of our lives to share with friends and family.

But what I am saying is this:

 Let’s not compare the highlights of other people’s lives with the messy reality of our own lives. For every “highlight” pic you are viewing there are probably 10 other pics of real life you’re not seeing.

For the perfect date night pic you see of your friend, you’re not seeing the pic of the argument that spun out of control on the way home from that date.

For the polished pic of your old high school buddy, you’re not seeing the pic of what she looks like in the morning before she gets her makeup and hair in place.

For the pic of your neighbor’s kids playing their best at a competitive sports game, you’re not seeing the pic of that same kid having a melt-down the next morning getting ready for school.

For the pic of your co-worker’s gathering at her house with everything perfectly in place, you’re not seeing the pic of her house the day before where everything was a disaster and she was yelling at her kids and husband to help her get everything ready. (Why do I know so many details about this?)

For the pic of your friend’s perfectly healthy dinner, you’re not seeing the leftovers she served her family two nights in a row. Or (gasp!) the cheeseburgers and fries she desperately gave her kids from McDonald’s drive-through on the way to soccer practice.

It’s easy for us to fall into a rut of thinking that everyone has it all together. That nobody struggles with anything. That something must be wrong with us. And when we are bombarded with perfect images plastered all over social media, we buy into the perception of this false reality.

Our comparison of reality to something false only breeds disappointment, discouragement and insecurity. 

So what can we do differently? How do we avoid this trap?

I don’t think we should just delete all our social media accounts and say forget it. No, I think there’s a better solution.

Instead of always posting your BEST moments, how about courageously choosing some that aren’t so great? Choose to be REAL.

If my 4 pictures of a messy house and no makeup brought so much encouragement and refreshment to so many people, then what would happen if more of us did the same? What if we chose to be REAL and it trickled down to countless others who are definitely feeling the same way? Think about the ripple effect it could have.

Go ahead and be brave!

Show that pic of your dirty laundry (okay, maybe hide your husband’s underwear.)

Show that pic of your burnt dinner.

Show that pic of your living room littered with toys.

Show the clutter plastered in the floorboard of your car (yes, I’m talking about the fast-food wrappers, empty water bottles and sticky sippy cups.)

Show your “bad-hair” days!!!

It doesn’t even have to be a picture. Maybe a simple statement that you’re having a rough day…with your kids. With your spouse. With work. With life.

Will you join me? If you’re on social media, how about using the label #RealLife with your posts or pics? Whether it’s once a week or every other day, join me in encouraging others with reminders that we all struggle. We all have messes to clean up. We all have challenges with our kids, spouses or co-workers.

We don’t live in a false reality. We live in REAL LIFE!

RealLife

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Check out my book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul