Push Through and Pack for the Destination


In my last post I mentioned how rude my legs are at mile 3.5 on the bike trail near my home. They cry and call me names. They want to go home and watch Netflix. But sometimes in life we need to push through the hard parts and pack for the destination. This morning when I got ready to go for my bike ride I packed a large bottle of water, my debit card, a notebook, a pen and a book I’ve been reading. Why did I pack those things? Because those were what I would need when I reached the beach, my destination.

Sometimes in life we think more about what we will do after we fail than about what we will do after we succeed.  We spend more time planning our exit strategy, Plan B, or our concession speech than we do planning for the destination/goal we are headed for. I know that at times the road we are on seems impossible, sometimes everything inside of us is screaming for us to give up, go home, eat some ice cream and pen that speech. But sometimes, in fact the majority of the time, we need to just push through the hard parts and pack for the destination.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9


This is the spot.

This is the spot. Right here. See where the road curves as it comes out from under the bridge? It is the place where it all begins…

This is a bike trail by my house that is approximately 6 miles from the beach. It’s a nice flat trail, a road really. As you can see it is paved so it’s an “easy” ride, perfect for this chubby, middle-aged girl. But even with that flat, smooth road around mile 3.5 my legs start talking to me, and they don’t say nice things. They say things like “you are abusing us!” And “you’re too chubby for us to carry you”. Like I said, mean. So sometimes at mile 3.5 I turn around, I want to stop the rude chatter coming from my legs or I have to because of time constraints. But those days that I push on and ignore my legs and all the other thoughts swirling in my head that remind me of important things that I should be doing, I am rewarded. 
You see it’s right there at the curve in the road that I smell the ocean. It is a smell like no other, the unmistakable scent of sand, salt and seaweed and when I make that curve and the fragrance reaches me, it is there my mind begins to be at peace and I feel my body begin to relax. The load I’ve been carrying becomes lighter and the worries and cares of life begin to ease and fade into the background. The voices of dirty dishes, incomplete projects and phone calls that need to be made is drowned out by the sound of the surf. This is my quiet place. It is here that I can again hear the voice of God, my mind and heart are freed from every distraction and communication comes easily and naturally again. Too often at home the thoughts and cares of life blare in my mind like an annoying and distracting tv that make it difficult to press into His presence. 
But here at the beach it’s an easy and precious intimacy. I hear his voice, reassuring, correcting, loving and guiding. And he hears me, my praise, my fears, my requests, my hopes and my sorrows. 

On the ride back my legs are probably talking but I don’t hear them because my mind is at rest and my heart is at peace.
Do you have a place like this? You need one! Jesus did. He always found a private place of prayer, on the mountain, in the desert or in the garden. He always pulled himself away from the crowds, the disciples, the ministry and the pressure to spend time hearing and being heard by the Father. So find a place today where you can set your cares aside and hear Gods voice. Maybe it’s a coffee shop, in the shower or in the car but find it and allow the cares to fade and the voice of God to speak. 

And if you don’t know God, have never heard the voice of God or are not sure you even believe in him, I challenge you to ask him to speak to you. The bible says that he stands at the door of your heart and knocks, he is waiting for an opportunity to speak if you will only open the door and listen. 

I woke up cranky today. 

I woke up super cranky today.

I overslept, I chose to eat leftover oatmeal instead of the bacon and eggs the hubs made and I began a walk with the hubs but when he started walking ahead of me I turned around and went home. All out of sheer crankiness. Part of it was that I had walked all over Kingdom Come yesterday with the wrong shoes, (I know you feel my pain).  But that wasn’t the real reason for the crankiness… Ive been reading in Exodus about the children of Israel and I woke up thinking about them, out in the desert for 40 years walking around the same mountain, walking in circles, looking at the same rocks and the same cactus. The thought of that would make anyone a little cranky, but not the level of cranky I was exhibiting . Nope, what caused me to be cranky was that I realized I was just like them. 
A couple of days ago the hubs and I had a good conversation, and part of the conversation was about a couple of areas of life that I wanted to see changes in and a regret that I had. We determined the changes that were needed and moved on in our conversation. But this morning as I was contemplating the children of Israel with my cranky pants on, I recognized what bothered me so much. You see, the conversation I had with my husband, I’ve  had that very same conversation before, maybe even twice before, and I’ve come to the same conclusions, had the same regret and decided on the same course of actions that were needed to change those areas. It was then I realized I have been here before!!! I am still walking around the same mountain! Looking at the same cactus and the same rocks! What utter frustration I felt. (Thus, the crankiness.)  
What was it that kept the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years? 
1. Complaining, complaining about everything. I am guilty of that!  I’m a blessed women, I’ve been pregnant four times and came out of the hospital with 4 beautiful babies, I’ve been married to a faithful man for almost 33 years, I have a closet full of shoes, I am saved and on my way to heaven, I have a roof over my head and food on my table. What in the world do I have to complain about? In truth, nothing. In my head, plenty. Time after time I’ve shown my ungrateful heart through complaining. God has been so good to me and still I fuss and fume over things that have no eternal significance. God forgive me. 
2. Unbelief. Even after all God had done for them, miraculously delivering them from pharoahs army and the plagues of Egypt, they refused to believe that God could get them past one last hurdle and into the promised land. Guilty again! I’ve seen God come through for me and for my family more times than I can count. I’ve seen him meet our needs when it seemed liked there was no way our need could be met. I’ve seen him bless us and favor us time after time. And yet now, when I am facing another hurdle, I doubt him. I doubt that he will help us pay off our debt, I doubt that he will bless and grow our church and I doubt that other needs I have will be met. Oh how I doubt… But God is so faithful, “rich in mercy” according to his word, and in spite of my doubts he still leads, guides and blesses me, he still calls me his child and still reminds me of his promises. 
3. They kept looking back at where they came from and they changed the truth of what they’d been through. The truth is that they were enslaved and beaten, forced to labor under horrible conditions but they chose to remember all the lovely fruits and vegetables they had to eat.  Really?!? Some times we look back at the past and remember it as better than it really was, we look at it through rose colored glasses, just like the children of Israel did. But sometimes we look back and see things as worse than they really were, that is my sin. I have looked back over a period of my life and there was one person that did not seem to accept me, they did not give me the approval I so desperately wanted from them, at least they didn’t give me acceptance and approval in a way that I understood, maybe they did and I just didn’t recognize it. But I have looked back at that period of my life and all I see is that persons disapproval.  I remember that period as being very hurtful and full of rejection and I totally forget the people that did love and accept and approve of me. I was surrounded by people that were so kind to me and loving and allowed me into their life and I didn’t appreciate it. Bottom line, just like the children of Israel, I have looked back at the past and allowed it to affect my future. I have allowed my ungratefulness, my unbelief and my altered view of the past to keep me in a holding pattern that has stopped me from completely stepping into the future God has for me.
In the story of Moses and the children of Israel, the Bible says that they ended up waiting to enter the promised land until all the complainers died out. I’m not willing to wait that long! I’m just going to go ahead and kill them off right now! The Bible calls us to a life of sacrifice, Paul refers to it in 1 Corinthians when he makes the statement, “I die daily”. So that’s what I am going to do, I will put to death my ungratefulness, put to death my fear and doubt, and learn to look back over my past with a thankful heart for all that God has done for me and then I will make every effort to step into the wonderful future that he has planned.  And I will probably have to do it daily! 
I think tomorrow morning is going to be great!!