Sunday, February 13, 2011

Running the Race

Today marks 2 weeks since Ramiro ran his first half-marathon. Even though I was looking forward to that proud moment when Ramiro crossed the finish line, I wasn't too excited about waiting 2 hours in the rain for it to happen. (Especially since I forgot my umbrella!) What a pleasant surprise it was for me to find that the 2 hours were going to be filled with joy and celebration! I was able to see all of the 5K runners, some of the half-marathoners, and a few of the marathoners finish the race. It was so much fun to see all of the different kinds of people with different physical abilities and different personalities come together with their common goal of finishing the race.

The 5k run had a variety of runners and wheelers (athletes in wheelchairs). There were kindergarteners, tweens, teens, college kids, middle-agers, senior adults, and older senior adults. Some walked, some stayed at a comfortable jogging pace, and some sprinted to the finish. There were those who walked or ran just for fun, those who were there for a great cause, and those that walked or ran to show they had not been beaten by infirmity. Some wanted to be first (or close to it) and some just wanted to make it over the finish line. For some it was an achievement to just be there.

While watching the difference in how everyone approached the finish line, I couldn't help thinking about the way Paul talks about the way we are to live our life in 1 Corinthians 9:24:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

It made me think about how I'm running the race. Am I running like I want to win, or like I am barely going to make it over the finish line?

Watching the runners was fun, but it was also fun being surrounded by all the great spectators. We were all there standing in the cold rain to cheer on and encourage our loved ones. Everybody was for someone, not against anyone. We didn't just cheer on those we knew, we cheered on all the participants. It was such a great feeling!

I am NOT a runner, but now I am sold on running. I want to be in the middle of all of the excitement! I am so glad that Ramiro started this hobby. Even if I can only walk/run a 5k, I want to be part of this running fun! Like Ramiro says, I don't want to be a sipper from the cup of life, but a gulper!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Want to be Beautiful

I admit it. I really want to be beautiful. Unfortunately, I sometimes let this desire torment me as I compare myself to others. My sinful nature takes this desire and turns it into insecurity that puts a shadow on God's love for me and my love for others.

Why did God give me this desire? Maybe it was the best incentive for me to strive for the gentle and quiet spirit he wants for me. For the past several weeks, my prayer each morning has been for God to give me a gentle and quiet spirit as talked about in 1 Peter 3: 3-6.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."

A few weeks ago in Sunday school, our teacher asked what God was teaching us right now. He called on me and I said with a smile, "to be quiet." Ramiro chimed in a cute remark (I don't remember exactly what it was) but something that showed his great surprise to that revelation. Of course it gave everyone a good laugh. It was probably such a surprise, because although I start out with good intentions and a sincere heart, my sinful nature comes out way too often. As everyone who knows me can attest, especially those closest to me, I do not have a gentle and quiet spirit. I am passionate - I have robust thoughts and feelings that want to come out, sometimes at the most inopportune times. So those that I want to be the most beautiful for, see me at my ugliest.

Yesterday I visited Julie Goolsby, a friend who has that beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. I went to her for tips on organizing my day with my kids. She had no idea that God was working on making me gentle and quiet. When going through her books to find ones that she wanted to loan me, she gave me one that had "meek and quiet spirit" in the title. I know this was not a coincidence. This was God saying, "you're praying the right thing every morning, now let's work on it." Julie reminded me of another one of my favorite passages in Phillipians 4: 4-9.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Fear seems to be the poison here. 1 Peter references fear as a contrast to beauty. Phillipians 4 gives the remedy to that ugly fear and anxiety. This medicine is the daily dose I need to become beautiful.

How I want to cultivate this Godly beauty so that it can be seen by others! How I want to teach this to my sweet Hannah!

I'm so thankful to my Lord who put the desire to be beautiful in my heart and for his Spirit living in me that will give me the power to do so. And I will continue to pray each morning for that gentle and quiet spirit.