#WednesdayWorkoutBlog |Peace|

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It’s such a strange concept to me, but isn’t it interesting how sometimes when you’re in the middle of your run (or probably whenever during your run that you are finally in your groove and when you have finally found your pace and not fighting against your mind so much…), you can suddenly feel a peace. Running allows you to escape from things for a while. It gives you an opportunity to think about what has been going on and, if you can, let it go.

Those are the good runs. The runs where you beat your distance and/or time. The runs when your mind shuts up and you run not only with your body, but with your heart and soul. The runs that you actually enjoy. The weather isn’t unbearable…it’s just you, the pavement, music, and God.

Then there are the ‘bad’ runs. Unfortunately, I know about those all too well right now. Yesterday I ended up running about 4.8 miles (even though my goal was 4 for that day…I misjudged how far away from home I was getting lol), but it was not a good run. I hated it. I fought against myself the whole time. I was dreading it when I started it, so of course it didn’t turn out well! I ended up walking a lot of it…a lot more than I should be by now. I’ve been running for a good long while now, so it was frustrating for me to feel like that. I got a blister on my heel from that “run”. I felt terrible about myself when I returned because I didn’t feel like I had given my best to that run. My mind wouldn’t shut up, and I let it hold me back and stop me from giving my all. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling very peaceful.

But I also know the feeling of a great run. Everything just ‘runs’ (haha) smoothly and I’m able to enjoy it and feel peace. And know that I am really working my butt off for something that I really think is worth it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever gotten into and there are days when I simply have to push through and get to the end and hope for a better run and workout tomorrow.

My encouragement to you today, is to find certain places and situations where you can really allow God to flow peace into your life. Feel peace about your life. God in control. He’s working behind the scenes and, if you just hold on a little bit longer, He will make those things known to you, as well as others, most likely. God wants you to feel peace. He wants you to trust Him with everything you have. He wants you to feel joy. Keep pushing through those days that seem impossible. Keep pushing through those days where you think there is no way you can ever feel peace about this. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep going. Keep pushing through.

What are you not feeling peace about?

What are some things that you can do that gives you a connection with God and allows you to feel His peace washing over you?

Is running one of those things? If so, what kind of things can you be thinking about as you head out for your run? What ways of thinking allows you to feel the most peace? Joy? Contentment?

Just a few thoughts for you (and me!) today. Happy Wednesday 🙂

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#MessyMonday |Failure|

failure

Last semester, I thought a lot about failure. Actually, I thought a lot about a lot of different things, but unfortunately, they all came from a negative perspective. But that’s for a different post. Failure. Are you afraid to fail at something? I know I have been, and I will be in the future. I think it’s totally normal and sometimes, it just happens. Having said that, though, I think that we need to reroute our thinking when it comes to failure.

You see, we always see failure as a bad thing. And it can be. But it really doesn’t have to be. We come at it from a negative perspective, seeing failure as something to run away from at all cost. What will other people think, after all? We ask ourselves. Failure isn’t the worst thing to happen to you. Do you know what is worse than failure? I think it’s worse to not even try. To look at a situation that looks scary and talk yourself out of it, instead of giving yourself the grace to try something and risk ‘failing’ at it! That’s the easy thing to do. To walk away. To walk towards something that looks so much more safe. Some place that is inside of your comfort zone. You know that you will do well at it, because you have done it before…many, many times.

Where is your sense of adventure? Where is the fun in that?!

I know, failure is a scary thing. It sucks. But failure also has the ability for a positive outcome. Failure as the ability to propel you to stand up again, start fighting harder for what you want, so that eventually you can actually get to that place that you thought was impossible! Failure looks bad, and I think that a lot of times our fears aren’t fully realized in the fear of failure itself. More often than not, we’re also terrified of what other people will think if we don’t get that job, don’t get on that team, don’t make it, come close to or actually do fail a class. Maybe the people who would speak negatively to you when that happens, doesn’t deserve to be in your life. Throw out the negativity. Because, at least you tried! If you gave everything you had to that project, and still ‘failed’, get back up and try again…or redirect your energy somewhere else…but anyone who laughs at your for failing at something that you put yourself out on and tried your best, definitely shouldn’t still be in your life. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people.

And remember. Failure isn’t a tattoo. It’s not permanent. You always have the opportunity to bounce back, stand back up, and keep fighting for what you believe in and what you love. It’s not the end. Switch your view of failure from a negative viewpoint, to a positive way of redirecting you to something better. You got this! You are not a failure when you ‘fail’ at something.

What are a couple things that you have felt like a failure in recently?

What happened in those situations? Did you get back up and try at it again and are you making progress in that same area now? Or, did that experience redirect you to something better, more fulfilling, etc.?

Failure is just a bruise. Not a tattoo.

|A Place of Rest|

Are you tired? I mean…really, just…exhausted? When you stop to sit down and think, are you tired?

Maybe you’ve been feeling like you have been running on empty for so, so long now. Your Soul has been searching for rest, for peace, for a moment to be able to slow down.

I know the feeling.

I remember feeling like I can’t slow down…not with where I’m at right now! I’m in college. Slowing down means I won’t get something done, which means I’ll fail out of college! Spending a ton of time with Jesus, finding rest for my Soul, will mean that I won’t get somewhere in time, or something important won’t get done.

That was me, last semester. I felt like finding rest for my soul just didn’t fit into my schedule. I was afraid of falling behind (more than I already was). So I didn’t have very many truly restful moments for my Soul.

But what if we really could “fit it in” to our schedules? What would that really look like? First, I think it’s important to realize why you are so exhausted in the first place.

Are you trying to be involved in too many things; stretching yourself too thin? Are you not sleeping at night because you can’t shake these feelings of fear, anxiety, depression? Are you your worst enemy? Are you fighting a battle inside your head every day that is leaving you exhausted, worn out, and crying for help?

I would encourage you to really think about what is making you worn out. Write it down. Admit it. Talk to a trusted, beautiful friend about it.

Last semester, I wasn’t sleeping too well. I slept through the night, but I always woke up feeling super tired. I never woke up feeling refreshed. I never woke up excited for a new day, filled with energy to have fun and enjoy this new day. That never happened. As much as I wanted it to. I never really had any energy. I rarely felt excited for anything. I wasn’t really taking care of myself. The battle inside my head was real. It was scary. And it zapped all of my energy. Do you know how draining it is to be fighting battles by yourself in your head…against yourself? You feel like you’re tearing yourself apart, and nobody can help because nobody else can see it, and it’s too hard to explain.

I’ve been feeling a lot about health and beauty recently. What does living a healthy lifestyle mean to you? I used to think that health simply had to do with eating right (which I wasn’t really doing) and exercising (which I also wasn’t really doing, other than volleyball). But this summer, my view has changed. Sure, health still includes nutrition and exercise, but I believe that it is so much more than that now! Healthy living includes the way you view God, yourself, and others. Living a healthy life involves the way that you talk to yourself. It involves caring what you look like and how you present yourself, not so you can overthink about your looks or worry about what other people think about your looks, but so that you feel truly ready for the day. More than that, it’s an inner confidence and beauty. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned this summer, it’s that you really don’t have to wear makeup to feel and look beautiful. But you do have to care. You smile, and be yourself. I believe that you can’t live a healthy lifestyle when you are busy tearing yourself apart. When you are constantly comparing yourself to the beauty of others, instead of focusing on the beauty that God has placed in you, that is refusing to have a healthy mind. Although running and working out is definitely a difficult thing to start, once you get into it, trust me, it’s worth it. I’m still not at that place where I want to be…where I’m looking forward to running and working out so much so that I make it happen every day. I still take too many days off. I still have my lazy days. I still listen to my excuses far too often. But it has opened my eyes on so many levels.

Now, what does having a healthy lifestyle have to do with weariness and rest? Sometimes living a complete healthy lifestyle is a lot of work. It takes work and planning to make sure you’re working out (in a way/time that is best for you), it takes work and planning to make sure that you are eating enough and well (something that I am soooo far away from at this point), and it takes a lot of work, and probably planning as well, to begin thinking the right things about yourself. About your body. About who you are. About what you look like. Learning to love yourself is a journey. But when you don’t, you won’t be healthy. And you will be fighting a downhill battle every single day that you will always lose. That’s exhausting.

Maybe finding rest for your Soul is different than you imagined. Maybe it means finding a church where you really feel the presence of God. Where you feel like you can bring your burdens into church and release them to God, even if that means crying right there in church as you do it. Maybe finding rest for you Soul, strangely enough, means learning how to wake up early to go running to enjoy God’s beautiful nature before most people are even awake. Maybe finding rest for your Soul means, as often as you can, getting away by yourself, to go take a hike, to go somewhere beautiful outside to connect with and worship God. Maybe it means getting what you have to get done done as quickly as you can, so that you can go do something that you love doing so much, in which you feel like you have a connection with God.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to find your happy place. Find a way of life that you feel that you can connect with and worship God. Find some things that you enjoy doing that, even if some people think it is work, you can sense the feelings of rest, peace, and connection that God gives to you. He restores your Soul. Among the pain. Among the busy days. Among the days when you just want to give up and cry all day. Among the lazy days. The confusing days. You can lift up your hands in surrender, and truly find rest for your aching Soul. It’s there. He’s waiting for you.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” {Matthew 11:28}

#MessyMondays |NeverEasy|

Never easy

Never Easy.

I know it’s not Monday (again). Haha. But I’m sitting here at work and I yet again didn’t get a Messy Monday post written this Monday and I have nothing better to do, so I thought I would attempt to write down some words that will hopefully come off as an encouragement to somebody out there.

I don’t know about you, but often I tend to look for what is easy. Maybe what I want will just happen to literally drop in my lap, and then I can just run with it and life will be easy and awesome and just great!

Yeah, THAT doesn’t happen!

I have been realizing even more lately than before that what is worth having and doing, doesn’t come easily.

Take running, for example. I know this isn’t one of my Workout blogs (on Wednesdays), but running has made me realize so many things about life. One that relates to this post, is that it is definitely NOT easy! It’s a choice everyday to run, or to kind of take it easy and be lazy. Let me tell you, that is NOT an easy choice to make! I often make the wrong choice. Then I feel terrible about myself. And the cycle continues….bla bla bla. But you can read more about that on my Wednesday Workout Blogs, if you’re interested in how I connect running with life and God.

Anyway.

Life isn’t easy. You kind of tend to realize this more and more as you get older. Life gets busy. Things and responsibilities pile up and make you feel like you’re drowning.

The point is, life is hard.

Sorry if that isn’t very encouraging, but stick with me!

What are your dreams and passions about life?

Seriously, think about that question. If you have time and you are the kind of person who loves to journal and write stuff out, write out your thoughts. Your struggles with this. Write whatever comes to your mind.

Has it been an easy road trying to get there?

What have you done to, each day, get a little closer to your dreams? Are you going to college, even if that means you have to go through a bunch of classes and hard things that you don’t think is necessary? Have you worked at whatever job you could find for a while so you could just earn enough money on the side, along with trying to pursue your dreams?

Don’t lose your dreams. Don’t give up.

Please, DON’T GIVE UP! This world is filled with too many people who just give up because it’s hard. They have no competitiveness or determination in them! Don’t let yourself be that person!

Spend some time evaluating what you’re doing to make your dreams a reality in your life. Write your thoughts down. Talk to a trusted friend. Do Something. But Please don’t ever give up. It’s okay to feel defeated, inadequate, like it will never happen, discouraged. It’s okay to cry! It’s okay to fall down and even fail at something on your way to a life that you have always wanted for yourself. But don’t give up, just because it’s hard. Find out what inspires you, what motivates you. And get back up again and keep pursuing your heart’s desires.

And it won’t come easy. But that’s okay.

#WednesdayWorkoutBlog |LoveYourself|

fall in love with you

I don’t know what you’re motivations for running are. I don’t know what makes you lace up your shoes every day (or every day that you refuse to listen to your mind tell you thousands or excuses). But I know what my motivations are. Maybe they’re similar. Maybe some of them are even the same.

Do you ever struggle with your identity? Maybe you struggle with hating yourself. Hating who you are. Hating what your body looks like. Struggling with feelings like “I’m fat”, “I’m ugly”, “I will never have the body that I want”.

Maybe, though, we should learn to love ourselves first.

I think that it would be much more freeing to run, when we start at a different place, mentally. Instead of forcing yourself to go on a run (however long you choose) because you hate your body and you just want to see a change…maybe you can try starting from a position of loving yourself. Going on a run with a grateful attitude, telling yourself that you love your body and you love who you are at this moment, even though you’re not at your destination yet. Perhaps you will feel free and come from a place of “getting to” run, instead of “having to” go on this run.

Just a thought.

I know what it’s like to struggle with self-worth and lack of confidence in yourself, and I don’t really feel like I have any words of wisdom to speak towards that right now. I’m not through it. I’m not on the other side looking back and telling you that you’ll get over it…like it’ll go away. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. And I don’t think we’re ever truly going to reach our destination until we reach Heaven, so I guess we gotta learn to be happy with what we have and who we are right now, right?

Anyway, let this encourage your heart today. You are allowed to love yourself. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest callings of a Christian. God said that the greatest commandment is to love God, then to love others. Well, I think that if you can’t love yourself, you sure as heck aren’t going to be able to love others fully. Maybe that’s just me. But I think it’s okay to look in the mirror and think “I look hot today!” or smile at your reflection and then leave your house with confidence in how you look. Then I think that you are better equipped to love other people.

So, go on that run. Think about your top motivations for running/working out. And I hope at least one of those reasons is because you love yourself! ❤

What do you need to forgive yourself for?

What is holding you back from loving yourself?

How can you start loving yourself (and then others) starting today?

#WednesdayWorkoutBlog |MovingForward|

Woman running up stairs
Woman running up stairs

I realize it’s no longer Wednesday :p But yesterday/last night, I was crazy tired, so I didn’t get a motivational Wednesday blog done. So, it gets done today in the few moments of time I have before heading off to the next thing to be done here in Texas!

Are you getting frustrated at yourself? For not seeing any results…still…and it feels like you’ve been at this running thing forever now?! Maybe you really have been at it for quite a long time now and you have seen results in the past, but the results just don’t seem to be happening nearly as fast as you want them to. You know that what you’re doing is healthy and in time will yield results…but your patience is running out.

I know. I get it. I’ve been there. I’m still there. I have negative thoughts toward myself because I still don’t like how I look or how out of shape I seem sometimes. I feel like the results I want will neverappear…and I feel like I will never be as consistent as I should be.

But maybe we shouldn’t be fearing the slow process. That is just life…this process of actually seeing the results of your running and work out is going to be slow and not happen exactly when you want it to if you’re doing it right, most likely. But that means you’re in it for the long run, instead of losing the weight quickly only to gain it all back in a short amount of time as well. The time will pass anyway. What will you do with this time that God has given to you?!

Instead, fear standing still. Doing nothing. Not working towards your goals. Not overcoming the challenges and obstacles in front of you. Standing there. There will definitely be no change that way!

In life, it’s the same way. So often we tend to get frustrated with ourselves because we desire to change…but it’s not happening when we want it to. We wonder if it’s even worth it. Because we can’t see it happening. We can’t feel the change right away, so we wonder if what we’re doing is even doing anything at all! But that process is slow. But, in the end, it is so worth it! Everything will all be worth it in the end, if you’re just patient and you’re willing to work through it all!

Make sure you aren’t just standing still, though! That is the danger. It’s easy to get lazy. Tired. Sad because we can’t see the change in us happening, or it seems to be happening painfully slow.

But just be patient. It’s happening, trust me. And others can see it. God sees it! Moving forward slowly is still moving forward. You’re headed in the right direction 🙂 You can do this!

#MessyMondays |Comfort|

Yes, I am again aware that it is Tuesday instead of Monday for this #MessyMonday blog series. I’m a day late. Again. But the inspiration and desire to write comes when it comes, right?! I’m laying here in my hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee and I have some time and some thoughts, so why not write a little, right?

Today’s Topic: Comfort.

Do you relate to needing to be comforted in some way or another? Maybe when you were little, you scraped your knee and you ran to your Mom for comfort. Maybe as you got older, you started looking for comfort in other places as life got tougher and you grew up. Boyfriends. Close friends. Parents. Siblings. People you looked up to. We all feel the need to be comforted here and there. Maybe you feel the need to be comforted by God when you cry out to him. When you tell him that you just don’t understand why he’s taking you through all of this or how all of this will be a good thing in the end. When you try to praise him, because that’s what you feel like you should do, but you end up just broken and crying anyway.

I love a quote in the book “Do you know who I am?” by Angela Thomas:

“We must not think of comfort in terms of ‘sympathy,’ because sympathy can weaken us instead of strengthen us. God does not pat us on the head and give us a piece of candy or a toy to distract our attention from our troubles. No, He puts strength into our hearts so we can face our trials and triumph over them.” (p. 48)

I loved that, because it helped me put some of my thoughts into perspective. Sometimes we tend to think that God owes us, in a way, to “give us a treat” (so to speak) when we have been going through a rough time. We somehow think we deserve more than this? We think we deserve a treat of our choice because we got through something hard….right?!

Wrong.

God gives us strength. He gives us peace. He gives us hope. To get through the rough times. Even to get through the times that we think there is no possible way we can get through. We see walls. Dead ends. God sees the big picture. He sees the progress we’re making. He sees our struggling hearts. He sees the possibilities and opportunities that he has placed right in front of us!

God is a God of comfort. That is in His character. Reading the quote above helped me understand more of what that means. To me. To you. It’s so personal. You see, He loves you way more than if he just handed you a treat or a toy to distract you from your trials. He knows that you will learn so much through it and He is ready and willing to equip you with everything that you need to get through it!

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He is higher. He is stronger. He is our comfort. ❤