One Foot in Front of the Other

Walking

The other day, I was out for a run.  About halfway through, my body felt like quitting.  My lungs hurt, my legs were tight and my knees were popping.  So I stared at the ground, or at a tree, or at the stretch of road ahead of me….whatever was needed to distract from the pain.

I pushed myself that day to not concentrate on the run in it’s entirety, but to focus on each step.  So I kept running, one foot in front of the other.  As I was pushing through, sweating, dreaming of sitting on the couch in my warm home, I began to paint a picture in my mind.  It was more of a comparison actually.  My struggle through that run was quite similar to our day-to-day encounters with life in general.

Many days, we feel as though we are defeated before our feet even hit the ground.  It takes everything within us to face the day.  It could be a lack of motivation, boredom, sadness, depression, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, or whatever.  Some days are just tough.

As a Christian, I feel this way with my faith at times.  There are days where the feelings aren’t there.  I don’t feel God’s presence like I would like.  I don’t feel of use.  I feel inadequate.  I just feel offbeat.  It’s ok, I’m human and I’m fickle, what can I say.

So, what the heck are we to do when there is no choice but to move forward?  When we can’t see the big picture?  Well, we put our heads down, and observe our feet taking one step in front of the other.  Sometimes that’s all we can do.

As we are attempting to move forward, we all may look in different places for help and inspiration.  We look to friends, coffee, drugs, alcohol, relationships, religion, our own skills and abilities, hobbies, sports, Oprah…the list could go on.  We look everywhere, trying to find a motivator.  We are trying to fill a void, but we don’t understand exactly what that void is or what’s missing.

So, we continue to struggle.  We may not be suffering greatly, but we just get by.  Swerving away from obstacles, solving problems, waking, eating, working, watching TV, sleeping….then we wake, eat, work, watch TV and sleep again…then we….you get the point.  It’s a pretty mundane cycle really, let’s be honest here.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  We were created to be in relationship, not only with each other, but with God.  He is the meaning of life, not our busy schedules.  Don’t get me wrong, I fail daily at keeping my focus on God.  It’s easy to lose it.

When I’m actually in right relationship with God is when all seems right in the world.  Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what’s crashing down around me.  I’m serving a God who’s in control, so I don’t need to control everything….man, what a relief that is.  Even in the most redundant of days, I can be thankful that I’m alive.  That I’m breathing.  That, sometime soon, whenever “soon” is, I will get to spend eternity with my God and Creator!  There’s nothing like it.  Nor was there ever supposed to be anything like it.

We have a choice though.  It’s not up to me to convince you or anybody that God is real.  That’s between you and God.  I do encourage you to ask Him a few questions….play along with me here.  Even if you deny His existence, I ask you, in your quiet time today, whenever that is, to just ask God to show you who He is.  Ask him what it means to be in relationship with Him.  Ask Him to show you that He’s real.  If he’s just a figment of your imagination, there’s no harm, right?  If you truly ask with a sincere heart, out of a desire to learn and know Him more, He will speak to you in a way that you would never expect.  It might be through a circumstance, or a friend, or a song…who knows.  If that happens though, please let me know.  I would love to hear your story.

It’s a cool thing to follow God.  It takes faith, courage, humbleness and a whole bunch of stuff that I suck at, we all do.  God does have a way of looking past our shortcomings though.  He has an even greater way of turning our daily steps into a continual skip.

How do you battle through the day-to-day grind of life?  Where do you find your inspiration?

God Bless,

Paul

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The Night I Dropped the “F-Bomb”……A Whole Bunch

Day 003 - Shame

You ever have one of those moments that embarrass the heck out of you?  A moment of weakness, where your true feelings come gushing out in an ugly way?  Yeah, I had one of those a few nights ago.

It all started with my computer.  I was trying to fix a problem after a long day at work.  Knowing myself, I should have saved this task for another day……well, things didn’t go as planned.  I couldn’t fix the darn thing.  My relaxing night of watching football turned into a cuss fest.  You heard me, the “f-bomb” came flying out of my mouth faster than….well it was fast…and furious….and repeatedly blatant.  Pretty lame.

My poor wife slowly and quietly left the room and decided to call it a night.  I don’t blame her.  I sat there…by myself….with a stupid computer shining on my face, mocking my inadequacy.  Embarrassment quickly rushed in.  I was humbled to say the least.

I hung my head low, took a deep breath and headed back to the bedroom to ask my wife’s forgiveness.  I wasn’t shouting at her directly, but she had to witness my tantrum.  That wasn’t cool.  Luckily for me, she shrugged it off and gave me a hard time about it.  I’m thankful for that.

So what’s the point of this story?  There’s a few things that come to mind.  First, I am a firm believer that what’s in the heart, eventually comes out of the mouth.  My heart obviously needs some patchwork in the anger and patience area.

Secondly, I am thankful for moments like these.  I’m reminded of how helpless I am in living a righteous, holy life apart from Christ.  I am so far from perfect and it was good to be reminded of that.  God has a funny way of knocking us off of our pedestals, doesn’t he?

Lastly, it’s the times that we fall off the horse where we have the opportunity to get helped back up.  The grace of Jesus allows you and me to get a do-over everyday, multiple times a day.  As a Christian, it’s easy to get caught up in the worries of what other people think.  We all want others to think that we’ve got it all together don’t we?  C’mon, I’m not alone in this, am I?  The truth is, it’s a lie.  None of us have it all together.  None of us fully understand God and His ways.  We all struggle.  We all sin.  We all judge.  We all are hypocrites…every one of our own little Christian selves.

I am not at all condoning my words or actions that night.  I am merely an example of an imperfect Christian, doing my best to dust off my knees after taking a fall.  I used to suck at this.  I used to beat myself to a pulp internally.  Shooting for perfection, but missing it’s mark every time…imagine that.  Not anymore.  There is beauty in even the darkest valleys.  My mess ups are only an opportunity to let Christ’s light shine through me.

I’m learning that people don’t want to interact with perfection, they want to interact with a real person.  Someone who can laugh about their faults.  More importantly, someone who can accept the faults of others.  The more and more I grow, the more and more that I want to be a “real” person.  I want others to see what I’m struggling with and the journey that God is taking me on……”f-bombs” and all.

Have you ever messed up, thus causing an embarrassing moment?  How did you handle that?

God Bless,

Paul