14.5 You Win

I was really excited about 14.5. See my post about it.

…and then it happened….

I was about halfway through the workout, in the set of 15 thrusters, when my left shoulder popped. So I set the bar down, shook it out, took a deep breath, picked it up, and tried again. Another pop. I set the bar down and walked away.

It feels like giving up.

It feels like defeat.

It feels like I’m not good enough.

I actually wanted to cry. I was the only one in the gym that wasn’t going to finish the workout. Everyone else who wasn’t going to finish the workout had intelligently decided not to attempt it.

I spent the afternoon icing my shoulder, went to be early, stretched really well on Sunday, and still felt funny going to CrossFit on Monday. Thankfully the workout wasn’t too bad and ended up stretching my shoulder more than working it.

My disgusted feelings about myself gave me permission to eat trashy all weekend. I’m not going to list out the nonsense of food I consumed but it did include an entire box of gluten-free oreos, cookies, wine, and popcorn. Eating trashy makes me sleepy and grumpy so I slept through a friend’s birthday party and made excuses for secluding myself all weekend. This only further exaggerates the issues. By Tuesday I was just angry at myself.

Thankfully on Tuesday I was meeting someone from church to review a volunteer role I’m assuming. After our conversation at Starbucks, I decided to continue reading a book I’m reading for my small group. A few chapters of “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller made me reach for my Bible and my Bible made me reach for prayer time with God. I need help from God to have a good attitude and to have my heart following His plans for me and not my own. The CrossFit Open gave me a really good attitude adjustment (after first showing me how self centered and physically-minded I am).

I still need God to help me with what I am eating (which sounds dumb but it’s the truth) as well as where my heart is focused, but He has answered prayers. I want to compete in the Open for years to come and see marked improvements. I don’t want to go to Regionals, just compete to the best of my ability. I need to push myself in the gym on a regular basis – more than I was in the past – but I don’t need it to define me. God defines me. Jesus defines how God sees me and for that, I am immensely thankful!

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Lines.

Lines.

I grew up in Texas, mostly. My family is from Georgia and Alabama with a little Mississippi thrown in. I’ve lived in 9 states. I understand state lines. I understand borders. The Alabama part means I understand football rivalries. I went to Texas A&M. I get pride. I get yelling and thinking you’re better than someone else. I get it.

There is a cast system in the southeast part of the United States that is alive and well. Just ask the frat brothers at Ole Miss. Go to any of the small towns in Georgia and look at the neighborhoods on either side of the railroad tracks. There’s the wealthy, the social elite, the upper middle class, then the working class, and then the poor. Everyone beats on the poor. Racism is alive and well. Progress has be minimal since the 1960’s.

When I moved to Kansas City two and half years ago, I was initially impressed with the “forward progress” the city seemed to have in regards to treating people equally. The last 30 months have slowly whittled away this progress. Kansas City is great at the appearance of progress but it is divided at every turn. Kansas vs Missouri. Black vs White. Downtown vs Suburb. Rich vs Poor. Christian vs Non Christian. White Collar vs Blue Collar. The list goes on and on. The tricky part about dividing lines within Kansas City is they are passive aggressive. At least in Georgia, or Mississippi, they put in on their flag and not try to hide it.

I am not condoning treating any one differently based on appearance, skin color, gender, etc. I am condoning being honest and forward thinking.

Tuesday, Redeemer Fellowship, the church I am a member of in KC, hosted an event that promoted, and delivered, honest conversations and opinions about race issues in town. This (hopefully initial) meeting wasn’t about solving The problem. It wasn’t about simplifying issues. It was about being honest about the angst on both sides, where some of these issues come from, and what baby steps we can all take towards a unified Kansas City. It was about hope that God will continue to redeem His people, His people who call Kansas City and the surrounding areas home.

The biggest take away for me was about living in community with others, spending money in your own backyard, and voting for people who have unity as a core belief.

I live west of the plaza. Right now I can’t change that. But I can continue to be in community with people from other parts of Kansas City. Redeemer Fellowship makes that pretty easy. Different people come to services each week and I love playing boardgames on Monday nights with our neighbors living at 39ths and Baltimore. (Come out the 1st and 3rd Monday’s of the month to experience these amazing people and get beat at spades!). Being a minority in my high school in Austin Texas means I love different backgrounds and food. I aim to treat everyone compassionately regardless of background.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

So what can I change? I can buy gas at the QT gas station on Westport road close to my house even though it costs $0.15-0.35 more per gallon than the QT by my office so that the money and buying market stays in my neighborhood and not down in the suburbs. I can continue to buy food at the local farmer’s markets (already one of my personal soap boxes). I can continue to be active in service projects in my community. I can also take a look at who is running for public office and make sure I’m voting for people based on their committment to unifying Kansas City.

What can you do?

Pray. Pray for the people of Kansas City to love each other and to seek out relationships with each other. Buy local. Help your neighbor.

One of those days…

Yesterday was one of those days where I was behind by about 5 minutes all day long. I was 5 minutes early to crossfit and that was enough to distract my natural body movements from on-time mode to late mode.

Now if you know me, you know that I despise being late (this is a produce of my upbringing, thanks Dad!). Which means I also despise continually being late throughout an entire day. Thankfully I was able to turn it around at bedtime. The truth? I actually went to bed at 8:50pm because I was done with the day.

This morning I woke up early and was able to get to work early. I was thankful for this until I was ambushed at my desk by a procurement manager prior to my first meeting at 8:30am. I lost it. I didn’t even know I was that frusterated about the contract I have that’s floundering (ok, honestly, I knew I was frusterated and the contract is more than floundering but I thought I had better control of my mouth and tone). I wasn’t in the mood to roll over and take another person trying to tell me how to fix something that I inherited from another engineer.

Then I got on the phone for my conference call and had no patience with my vendor being late and not wanting to get down to business. The A&M football conversation didn’t even distract me. Then my phone started ringing off the hook with one question after stupid question. Then I had to go a training I was giving. By this point, I know I have a bad attitude but I haven’t taken a breath that didn’t have words coming out of it so I’m just trying to be diliberate and focused on what I’m saying. By the time I’m out of the 1.5 hour training, I’ve got 6 more voicemails and 47 more emails and a plane ticket to fly to St. Louis next Thursday to try to fix some things face-to-face with flounder.

Redeemer Fellowship has preached on Job in the past month and I’ve gone to a class that talked about Job a few weeks ago. Job was blameless and God still allowed Satan to test him. Job responded without changing his faith. I had three bad conversations this morning and had lost my faith. Lord please forgive me.

It’s lunch time now (thankful to be halfway thru the day) so I’m eating and surfing facebook. I’m blown away sitting at my desk by the obvious truths God is placing in my line of vision because I’ve been ignoring Him all day long.

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How true is this picture? I was drowning this morning because I was refusing to take the hand of the man walking on the water towards me. I am such a sinner. I thought I could handle everything myself. I was in control and it wasn’t working. Lord please forgive me for not remembering that You are my Savior and my Strength.

Then there’s this one:

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O yea. I skipped my devotional this morning because I didn’t want to be late. (Was my boss even in the office when I got here? Nope. Did he show up on time? Nope. Glad I rushed this morning to make it in before 8am). Lord please help my heart to turn towards you when I struggle. Help my heart to turn towards you for everything. Thank you for your Son because without Him, I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. I am not worthy.

And for good measure, since it takes about three times before something really sinks in for me, my friend posted the following:

I was reading 2 Corinthians 3 this morning and wow, just wow.  3:16-18 was just what I needed this morning.  Maybe it’s what you need too.

“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
-2 Corinthians 3:16-18, ESV-

This is just too amazing.  There is freedom that comes with salvation in Christ and with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Those who live in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit are truly free!  Free from condemnation, guilt, sin, death, the old covenant and blindness to the gospel.  Christians also have free access to the loving presence of God!  As a result of seeing the Lord through the ministry of the Spirit, the believer is being transformed, over time, into the same image of God!  The same image!  No matter how many times I read this it still strikes me as amazing!  God is so good.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.  Praise Jesus!  May we all walk in a manner worthy of His calling.  Have a blessed day.

Yep. I’m listening Lord. You win. and He wins in a magnificant way. A saving way. He asks that I lean on Him. that I love Him and only Him. He asks for quiet to be able to speak to me. Here’s my daily devotion for today (which I’ve now read and prayed over):

“Demonstrate your trust in Me by sitting quietly in My Presence.  Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything.  This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring.  By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence.  This act of faith – waiting before working – is noted in teh spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness. The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near Me.  When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word.  The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction.  Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy.  When you spend time with Me, I restore your sense of direction.  As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more.” “J…esus Calling” by Sarah Young
Proverbs 16:3
The Voice (VOICE)

“Whatever you do, do it as service to Him,
and He will guarantee your success.”

My afternoon will be better. Not because I am doing anything more right but because God is at the center of my focus (where He should be) once again.

Money.

I wrote a post awhile back about going to Haiti again. I want to go. God has started growing a love in my heart for the children of that country that can only be explained thru His existence and control. I signed up to go on the trip and didn’t have a way to pay. I figured that if God wants me to go, he’ll give me the means to pay for it so I opened up a credit card and charged my plane tickets. (Nothing like a little pressure and timeline for God to respond).

God is the ultimate provider. I went on a float trip two weekends ago and admittedly didn’t want to go when I got in the car Friday afternoon to drive the three hours there. It was a mixed group of people from work and church so I was nervous about everyone having a good time and getting along. I prayed that God would bless my time at the river for His glory because I was having a really bad attitude about it.

The crazy part? God not only blessed my time there, provided everyone with a great time, but He also paved my way to Haiti and strengthened my faith in Him!! O how I question and God answers. I wonder if Jesus ever rolled his eyes at his disciples because God had every reason to roll His eyes at my doubts and questions from that weekend!

One of the girls (I say girls because ladies or women sound too old for all of us 23-35 year olds) from church was talking to me while floating down the river. We started talking about Haiti, which I don’t remember how we even got on that topic in the first place but God interjects that topic in my life on a regular basis, and she volunteered to pay for $500 worth of my trip. I literally sat there and couldn’t even respond. I remember thinking “say thank you!!” But I had no words. When my brain started processing, I stammered thank you and asked her if she really wanted to do that since that was a lot of money. (Why was I questioning this? She was going to pay for close to half of my trip and I was giving her an out?!?). She told me she was going to do it if she could get a tax write off. Thanks be to God!

I cried on Monday evening when she text me a copy of her donation confirmation. There were no words but gratefullness! Praise be to God for people like Ashleigh!! She also told me that her company was going to do a partial match for another $250. Again, I sat in complete disbelief at how generous people I know are and how much God provides, even when I doubt, maybe even especially when I doubt.

My total cost to go to Haiti is $1386 for plane tickets and my trip fees. Right now, I’ve received $760 which means I still need some help ($616 worth). If you need a tax deduction, please donate thru the Haiti orphan project website – make sure you out my name in the description line. I have to pay my credit card so I would prefer (at this point) for you to send me a check. You can mail them to me at my work (9400 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64114) or let me know when we can meet up.

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Jesus Loves Me (in Creole)

If you would prefer to change a child’s life instead of sponsoring me, please read my tuition for transformation post and my how-to help Haiti post and go to this website to donate. $20 per month is such a small amount to make such a huge difference!

How To Help Haiti

I’ve been a little overwhelmed today by the stats on this blog! I’m used to writing to about 20 or so “faithful” readers that put up with my crossfit progress, re-blogs of articles, sermon responses, and general ramblings. Today – 500+ views. I can only pray that God has moved the hearts of people reading my tuition for transformation post to help because 500+ views has moved my heart.

Several questions and emails have come up that I’d like to address real quick:

If you want to financially help send me to Haiti in October, please donate here. You need to put my name (Stacey Gibson) in the description/comment line and all amounts are more than appreciated! You’ll have to use the single donation option (unless you want to contribute monthly).

If my trip costs get fully funded (because God is that good to provide!) than I will be able to transfer the extra donations to someone else who is trying to go on the trip. I know of a couple people who will not be able to go on the trip if they do not receive enough sponsorships. If you would rather donate to a general cause, please put “Redeemer October 2013 Trip” in the description line so the funds get applied to our trip.

The Haiti Orphan Project is a tax deductible group – please see their donations FAQ page for more information.

If you would rather donate airplane miles – we are flying American Airlines and my AAdvantage number is 63LKB80 and you can transfer miles on the American Airlines website. If I receive too many miles, I’ll transfer them to cover travel costs within the group traveling in October.

If you’re more of a physical gift person, I’m collecting toys, arts and crafts supplies, balls of all varieties, legos, bubbles, dress up outfits, etc. to take to Haiti. There is another group from Redeemer leaving at the end of July that will also be taking toys. You can message me for an address to mail them to or contact me to figure out a time and place I can pick them up from you (in the Kansas City Missouri area).

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I ask that you pray for me, Haiti, and God’s will in this world regardless of your ability or desire to help out financially.

 

It’s been humbling today to feel the outpouring of help, God’s working hand, and eyeballs reading all my thoughts on here but I thank you (and God) for the opportunity. You always hear about 6 degrees of separation and spheres of influence but I never dreamed that mine reached any kind of this far. Thank you for spreading the word of Haiti. Thank you for your support, even if that is simply reading these two blog posts. Thank you for praying for Haiti.

I’m going to continue posting about my daily life, my blessings, my workouts, favorite quotes, and of course – Haiti. I pray that I can use my new-found knowledge of how many people I impact in my daily life to be a positive influence. Please let me know if you have other questions or comments.

God Bless.