Transforming By Degrees

This morning I ran.  Again.  It was cold when I started (28 degrees with heavy frost on the ground) and warm when I finished (43 degrees with warm sun).  At the beginning of my run, I was tucking my freezing fingers into the sleeves of my jacket to keep warm, and by the end of the run I was struggling to keep my tied jacket around my waist.  It’s amazing to me how just a couple of degrees of the sun rising on the horizon makes SUCH a huge difference in how warm or cold we feel!

God led me to a place this morning where I have never run before.  It’s a long, paved path with rolling hills.  I know it well because I cycle on it often.  But I have never run here.  I am learning to trust God’s nudging about these things and just “go with it.”

It was a good run.  A quiet run, surprisingly.  After Wednesday, I was anticipating dialog and more of God telling me what I need to hear.  This morning, there was only quiet nudging.

It was a lesson in Zen.

I’ve noticed that when my mind drifts to what my legs are doing, or how much it hurts, God nudges me to “come back up here” into my head again.  I refocus myself in my mind — almost physically taking my mind off of my legs (or my chest, or whatever else might be aching or uncomfortable) and moving my conscious state back into my head once more.  By NOT thinking about these distracting things, I am free to enjoy my run and to tap into whatever mental energy I may need in the moment to get up a hill or not get hit by a car.  God reminds me that my legs and lungs and everything else are still learning how to run, and they will come along in their own time — for now I must learn to focus my mind.

And so I repeatedly kept moving my mind back up into my head when it would drift away.  It became easier to do, and I had to do it less and less as the run went on.

And then I felt a whisper in my heart…

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Romans 12:2

I rob myself of my own time in this life.  This morning God showed me that I have been calling it “multitasking”, but it is really a lie.  My time and energy scatter like fall leaves in the wind and I feel frazzled most of the time.  I can barely finish a thought sometimes because I am distracted by another thought that crosses my brain.  I have to stop talking mid-sentence to write things down so that I “don’t forget them.”  Well, maybe they’re not really worth remembering!

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to having peace.  Because I have lived this way for SO long, I have actually trained my mind to NOT be peaceful…but to be a place of “organized chaos”.

This morning as I was brushing my teeth, I went to leave the bathroom to go and stage my running clothes.  I thought I was “multitasking” when God stopped me in my tracks and asked me just how good a job of brushing my teeth am I really doing, if I am going to be gathering my clothes and shoes in the midst of it?

Slam!  Yes, Friends — convicted on the spot.  I stopped and turned back into the bathroom to finish brushing my teeth.  And I’ve been making a conscious effort since that moment to finish what I start before moving on.

I am also trying to turn my thoughts back into the task at hand.  The other day I shared that I worry about everything — that’s exactly what this all is — living beyond the moment I’m in because I’m “planning”, “staging”, “multitasking” or whatever else you want to call it.

And so, this grasshopper must now go on to the rest of her day.  I cannot put into words how grateful I am that God is getting right into the heart of my moments and helping me straighten this crazy, crooked path inside of me!  These small degrees of change (just like the sun rising during my run this morning) are making SUCH a difference in how I feel, Friends!  The quality of the moments of my life is dramatically improving with every tiny adjustment.  🙂  But isn’t that just like God?

Lord, I am thankful and overflowing with gratitude for the gift You are bestowing upon me right now!  Thank you for taking the time and care to help me exactly where I need it, Lord.  I am eternally thankful that I do not need to rely on my own strength or understanding to grow, but that You will teach me what I need, in the time when I am ready for it…and You even provide the strength to do it.  There is nothing like You in this world, Lord, and while I love my life, I am thankful that I don’t have to call this place my eternal home.  There’s a better way to live than what this world has to offer — thank you for continually showing me this truth!  And I pray that You will nudge my friends today, in just the way they need to be nudged, to know You more.  In Jesus’ name…Amen.

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