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!

CrossFit: October 28, 2013

Datgumit. I dislocated my ribs (again) during warm-up. Didn’t even make it to the good stuff. Felt my shoulder go while doing some slam balls. The rest of crossfit was spent stretching, trying not to cry, and rowing. It was a good exercise in proper rowing form and I even managed to shave 25 seconds off my 500m split time over the course of 11 minutes at the rower but it was not how I wanted to spend my morning.

Everyone else worked on clean and jerks, push press, ring dips, and kettle bell swings. Maybe next week.

I can’t turn my head to the left or reach down to pick something up off the floor without excruciating pain in my neck and left shoulder. I should be making an appointment with my chiropractor but I’m waiting for jury duty. Nothing like sitting in a chair in a crowded room in pain.

But this is for a purpose.

It has to be.

God uses everything to His benefit. Including suffering. Jesus promises us a better life – not one with pain and suffering for He suffered the ultimate load so that I (we) do not have to as believers – but He does not promise us this life on earth at this very instant. He promises us this when we join the heavenly chorus. I have to remember this during the burning sensation I feel every time I absent-mindedly flick my head to move my hair out of my face and lose feeling in my left hand.

Insanity

God is so incredible!

There is nothing else I can do but praise Him! I am so stupidly excited about Him answering my prayers again (and again and again)!! Insert definition of insane – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – thanks Albert Einstein. I pray and pray and pray and when God answers, I am amazed (and insane)!

God is sovereign which means He does His Will in His Time (aka not mine). I am blessed today to see God’s work thru my life. He answered my prayer from my quiet time this morning with a phone call from a dear friend this evening. My only reaction is one of worship and praise! I don’t know what else to do – I’ve even harassed my roommate whom is exhausted from traveling all week with how incredible God is. The best part? She just smiled and said that I was providing her with the same experience my friend was providing to me 🙂

Lord, please help me to continue to point people to the cross. Please help my relationships (with everyone in my life) to be glorifying to you. Thank you for doing work. Thank you for doing work thru me. Thank you for letting me receive the praise that you deserve.

In His incredibleness, God has also provided me a glimpse of the pain He must feel every time I sin and choose the darkness over His light. Another friend is struggling with the Lord (which is a familiar place for me) but is not finding hope and answers from Jesus. I want so desperately to pull her into the Light and I am so inadequate to do that. Only Jesus can. Only God can change her heart. Lord, please comfort her. Please help her heart to change to you. Please help me to be a tool for you to show how powerful and all consuming you are. And thank you for giving me shining moments of clarity about you. I know that I can never understand you completely and that you have a perfect plan for me which includes patiences and waiting. Please help me to remember your son Jesus in all that I do.

Pirates

Several friends and I went to see the Pirates exhibit at Union Station yesterday – it was good. It’s a National Geographic presentation on what piracy was like from a historic perspective found from the remains of the Whydoh ship that was wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. You can see more information here.

The most amazing part of the exhibit was how present God was. There were no mentions of God in the actual exhibit materials but the people that I went with pushed me in my relationship with Him so incredibly that I have to write about it. Once again, I find myself amazed by my heavenly Father actually talking to me (maybe one day I will get it thru my head that He loves me enough to want to talk to me all the time if I would just listen).

Some back story: I’ve been struggling with being single. Most of the time I am totally content with where God has put me but recently I’ve had more and more mounting moments of dissatisfaction. God hasn’t given me whom He would have me marry. It’s HIS timing but I want it to MINE.

These moments are fueled by my attraction to a particular boy at church. This boy has not responded or reacted to any situation or conversation we’ve had the way that I thought he would. In fact, every time we talk I end up seeking God to be able to process or understand our conversations. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he’s so attractive. I’ve never been around someone like that before. These conversations have also revealed how broken he and I really are – we need the love and grace of Jesus Christ to make it and we’re both reaching for that with arms and hands wide open. I know that God is calling me to be his friend. NOT his girlfriend. his friend. I pray that my action would reflect God’s desires and not my heart’s.

So yesterday him, I, one of my best friends, another good friend, and one of his good friends went to see the real pirates exhibit. It was on my Kansas City Bucket List. The day was so normal and that was amazing. It’s funny – Christians are not “normal” when it comes to spending time with the opposite sex, especially if there is some attraction there. Women are trying to be patient and wait for whom God would put as the head of their household. Men are trying to be respectful of physical boundaries and learn how to treat women like the bride of Christ. Both are noble desires. Both lead to moments of awkwardness and distance. We over analyze and place too much faith in what we are saying or doing and how the other person will respond. Yesterday was blissful because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing or worried about the response I would get. I was enjoying spending time with people.

And God was there. The reason I like spending time with this man is because he manages to interject God into the heart of every conversation we have. We were walking around reading about slavery and I made a statement that I was struggling to wrap my mind all the way around a society that trades in humans, that placed a monetary amount on a human being. And how did God let this activity continue to His people, to people made in His image. His comment was wanting to read and study the term “slavery” and how it is used in the Bible, what the derivative of it was, and if God intended for it to be used with so many social connotations that we’ve given it today. Wow – turn me right back around to God’s word when I was struggling.

After the museum we were going to get sushi for lunch but both sushi places ended up being closed (weird, it was 1:30pm on a Saturday but anyway) so we ended up eating at Chipotle. Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants so I wasn’t complaining but I’m still craving sushi. 🙂

The excellent conversation continued. In normal flow of conversation, he asked me if I would be content with God if I knew He was never going to give me a husband? My response was “yes, I try to live my life each day as if that was my hope but that there were some days that I was going to be bitter or upset about it.” Thinking over this the last few hours, I think I was being truthful in my response but I do have some hope that God will answer my desire to be married and be submissive to my husband. I pray that God would guide my heart to be hopeful only in Him and His Son. I haven’t made an decisions about career or location or anything that revolved around marital status and I want to continue that trend. I am also incredibly thankful to God that He didn’t allow me to marry my ex-fiance. I would either be divorced or trapped in a un-godly marriage. To be so thankful to not be married helps me understand how thankful I should be with whatever God has in store for me.

Now, I’ve over analyzed every comment, look, text, and question that was brought up yesterday and come to several conclusions:

1. God has shown me an example of one quality that I want in my future marriage – the ability to have wonderful conversations with whomever I’m with that push me to grow in faith with God. This is my new deal breaker. This is also what God wants me to understand about seeking Him so that whomever I’m with will also seek Him.

2. When I give up control of a situation and just enjoy it, God is there and is working and is perfect. I need to remember this one more often. His faithfulness is flawless.

3. I need God’s help to be able to be friends with this man. I need God’s help to squash my heart’s desires so that I can let the Holy Spirit shine through me. That is truly what I want – for this man to get to experience the love of God through a positive friend relationship with a woman.

4. God is always guiding me, even when I’m not listening. I’ve been praying for weeks now about not understanding how to go from meeting someone to being married to them. God has answered my prayer by showing me how to spend time with people that fosters deep relationships and conversations and seeds of pursuit that are still focused on God. I’ve sinned in the past by loosing sight of God when I’m in relationships with men and they are not seeking God.

5. I am blessed. I am so incredibly blessed by the Grace of God and the death of His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. The war is remembering Jesus.

Meander

Jesus shows us a straight path directly to a heavenly seat with God. The path is clearly defined thru the Bible. Jesus doesn’t falter, waiver, or change direction. He simply walks and leads us to God.

My journey to the Father is more like a meandering path thru a field. I see the path Jesus lays down in front of me and sometimes I manage to get one (or both) feet on that path but more often I find myself vering in one direction, correcting my trajectory, overshooting the path as I try to correct myself, and then vering in the other direction again.

I am the kid that has one foot on the curb and one on the road and is hopping back and forth. Unlike my grandfather telling me that I’m being cute, or my mom telling me to take the high road, Jesus just continues to show me how to walk where He would have me walk. When I don’t follow, Jesus is still there showing me.

Let this set you free. Let this change the way you live your life. Let the understanding that Jesus will never forsake you, never stop showing you the way to the Father, never stop loving you, give you a path to walk in your life. Understand that all your meandering does not dissuade the Father from seeing you as perfect because Jesus is carrying all your sin. Believe that God uses all your steps for His glory and power.

so that I am perfect.

It’s like the first day of school. but worse. the entire church was filled with women. lots of women. lots of pregnant women. all dressed so cute. all chatting with someone they know.

i want to run. i want to bolt for the door. i don’t understand myself. why did i decide to come to this? to spend $45 for this? to spend 15 hours of my precious weekend? to attend a women’s conference at church?!?

i’ve been hurt by “christian” women in the past. high school was particularly brutal. it’s funny now how the details are fuzzy and i’m sure i’m not remembering my own culpability in the whole situation but i was so pained by the cliques and “cool” group of girls that didn’t like me a church that i ran from church for years. i let that be my excuse. i know view their lives thru facebook, blogs, and instagram. they seem to have found happiness and i am working on forgiving them and focusing myself on God. it’s funny how certain situations bring you right back around to stare your buried memories in the face.

that was last weekend.

i walked into the conference confident i didn’t want to be there but that God wanted me to be there. i was nervous. and i was over analyzing. and God was holding out a bucket of water to wash me with if i would just sit back and listen.

Elyse FItzpatrick was the speaker. i had never heard of her before. there was no magical allure that the other women had about how wonderful she was going to be. i sat on the back row with some women i know and prayed that the suffering would be quick and started planning what i was going to do on saturday when i skipped out.

God truly spoke through Elyse’s lips to me. straight to me. straight to my heart. and told me to shut up and listen. she started by erasing every fear and excuse i had about the event – there were no steps to success, no how-to-be-a-better-christian-woman-by-folding-napkins, no easy conversations – no. just reality. like being angry the person in front of you at the grocery store has 16 items in the express lane designed for 10 or less.

she spoke The Truth. The Gospel. The Good News. It was the first time I really heard it. the first time. i’ve been to church more sundays than not in my life and this was the first time.

The only law I have been given to follow is to love God with my whole heart and to love my neighbor. To be perfect like my father in heaven. it’s impossible. and that’s the whole point. Jesus came to be the good news of the Gospel. He died so that God can see His perfection when he looks at me.

with God’s help and Jesus’ blood, I am just as if I’ve never sinned and always obeyed.

can you imagine living your life like that? perfect? sinless? guilt free? i pray that God will guide my heart in that direction in all that I do. the Lord knows I am fall short and He forgives me and then sees me as perfect in his sight. He looks and says “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well-pleased.” -Romans 8:1.

Holy Communion

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The sermon tonight was about Holy Communion. My roommate and I attended church at Redeemer Fellowship (www.redeemerkansascity.org) with a couple of mutual friends. It was one of those friends’ first time in a church (not on Christmas or Easter) in almost 10 years! I was nervous when we first got there but thankfully God calmed my heart so I could focus on what Kevin was preaching.

Kevin talked about how the different denominations within Christianity act out these passages from the Catholics who think the bread and wine are literally Jesus’ body to the Lutherans who think Jesus is the presence around the sacraments, to us, who know this is just bread and wine from the grocery store but that we are symbolically acting out Jesus’ love and commitment to us. Communion links the one unique sacrifice of Jesus on the cross with God’s promise to come again as often as we celebrate communion (which is every week at Redeemer).

Kevin also discussed the juice vs. wine debate. I had never really thought about this discussion too much before but apparently this is an American and recent struggle. A Methodist minister named Thomas Welch started making juice to offer his congregation during the prohibition era. Thomas later left the faith to become the well known juice maker of Welch’s juice and a dentist (moral judgement to you – he sold sugary drinks for kids and then side-lined fixing those same teeth). Redeemer has used juice in the past because they did not want to be a stumbling block for those struggling with alcoholism but tonight announced that we will have wine (and juice) sine that is what Jesus chose to bless – two of the most common elements available at that time.

Jesus taught us about communion during the passover meal. A meal that was full of ceremony and important steps to ensure that your family was passed over by the spirit during the plagues of Egypt (the last of these killing the first born sons of the family). Instead of progressing the meal as usual, Jesus took the bread and cup and told the disciples that it was actual him that they were celebrating – not the slaughtering of a four-legged lamb. Imagine celebrating Christmas each year and then one year when you’re in your mid-20s, having a family friend tell you that the holiday is actually all about them. This is basically what Jesus was doing when he taught the disciples communion for the first time.

I am sure glad that they got it right. There are lots of aspects of the Christian faith that require belief and actions of us to demonstrate God’s love to the rest of the world but communion is one action that God gave to us to tangibly act out our faith. Every time we eat the bread and drink from the cup we are renewing our faith in the promise that Jesus will come again and that his death more than covered up our sins before God.

The four of us went out to dinner after the service and discussed different aspects of the message and our upbringings. It was nice to have an open conversation about differences within denominations. The food at Aladdin’s is always worth the trip too!

I also stopped by Starbucks and had a quick cup of coffee with a lady from the church. I have decided to join the Scripture Reading ministry team. She gave me some basic training and got to know me before taking down my schedule for the next couple months. Hopefully I’ll be able to start impacting the worship experience at Redeemer pretty soon!