Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just Keep Moving

To start from the beginning, click here
For Part 2, click here

Just Keep Moving.  It's the phrase that became my running mantra and, in some ways, my life's mantra for a time.  Despite my busyness, I had been living a stagnant life.  I was moving, but not moving forward.  I did all the right things (Bible studies, regular church attendance, membership in service organizations, you name it), and I even "prayed" about my future a lot. But, in retrospect, what I was actually doing was just complaining to God about things.  I wasn't actually listening to Him and DOING anything about it.

In my case, it started with taking control of my health.  1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 says:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

I am a physical therapist, and since I preached to people every day about taking control of their own health, I had to start with myself.  And so I did.  I committed to nothing more than logging everything I ate and making time for some sort of exercise for 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.  That was the plan.  Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering.  Just eat less, move more. And gradually the pounds starting dropping off.

Why was this different than all the times I had tried to lose weight before?  The only difference I can point to is that when I committed, I didn't tell a soul.  No one.  Not even my husband.  It really became something just between me and God.  Unlike all the times before, I wasn't looking for anyone's approval but His.  If He told me to be self-controlled and to practice what I preached, then I was going to do my best.  If others noticed, then so be it.  But it wasn't for them.  It was just between me and Him and all I had to do was follow His direction.

And you know what?  That one difference, just a small change of mind, made ALL the difference.  "Working the plan" (another phrase I often used) became something I could do in other areas of my life.  Just one small step after another.  I didn't have to make grand plans and set lofty goals in order to be successful.  I just had to take the next step God put in front of me.  It was really quite simple.

On the health front, I started walking 20 minutes at a time.  And then I started running, not long and not fast, but just a little.  And then a little more.  And then, out of nowhere, I found myself registered for a half-marathon.  And God again just showed me all I had to do was follow a plan, take one step at a time, and "just keep moving."

Professionally, I also took the next step in front of me.  I started teaching at a local community college.

Socially, I stepped out even further.  In June of 2010 I met a woman about my age who was running for state senate.  By late August of that year, I was managing her campaign and traveling with her every week to various campaign events.

Again, I had no end goal in mind.  I was just following.  One step, leading to the next step, and then the next.  Before I even understood where He was taking me, I began to realize that God was developing gifts and talents in me that I wasn't even sure existed.  I was getting more confident speaking in front of people.  I was using my spiritual gift of encouragement in real and practical ways.  I was relying on Him every step of the way because I didn't have my own agenda to pursue.

In his book, On the Anvil, Max Lucado talks about three types of tools.  One type is rusted, worn out, and in the scrap pile.  Another type is on the anvil, being heated up in the refiner's fire and shaped into a more worthy implement.  The third type has been through the fire, and emerged sharper and more fit for use.  By the end of 2010, I felt myself emerging from the fire.  Refined, reshaped (literally and figuratively), and ready to pursue whatever next step was in front of me.  

As it became increasingly clear that bio kids weren't going to happen, we decided that perhaps the next step was adoption.  Initially, we looked into domestic infant adoption, but quickly learned the logistics of that were just not right for us. We have close friends who have gone through that process and have beautiful, wonderful families as a result.  It just wasn't for us.

And so I became okay with not having kids.  I say that now and think I must have been delusional, but honestly, God had worked so much in my life that I was okay with or without kids.  If He led me to them, I would go.  But if not, I was trusting He had my best interest at heart.  

I was also learning to trust my husband more.  Despite being separated by miles, our marriage was growing closer.  Not being in the same physical location forced us to communicate in ways we never had before.  When a phone call is all you have, you have to learn to listen.  And when you only see each other on weekends, you don't take those visits for granted.  We were each becoming more confident in ourselves as individuals, and we were also deepening our relationship in a way we should have done years before.  So, when Rodney said, "I think we should look more into adoption" I trusted him enough to say, "okay."  And, with that, we started down the road that would stretch us, try us, and, ultimately, shape us, into the family we are now.

To be continued...
Click here for Part 4
                                               St. Jude Half-Marathon, December, 2010

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