RECOVERY TIME

“For I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind”

2 Timothy 1:7

What are you training for?

photo of woman exercising with dumbbells on a pavement

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

The goal of physical training is to lessen the recovery time—the amount of time it takes for your heart rate to return to normal after exertion.

When training for longer runs, this is key. 

In life, facing difficulties, this is also key.

I have a friend who recently shared the terror she feels when thinking of going to Costco. This is a friend who has overcome tremendous difficulties in life, and is currently facing a deep valley. To hear that this current pandemic has incited fear at the thought of her being in close contact with the public to obtain goods, that breaks my heart.

Yet, I get it. When I was told I had to go back to work, my position was essential, it was a terrifying thought to me. I rested my thoughts on the reminder that: “Nothing could happen to me that was outside of God’s will.”—He’s gotten me through so much before this, and this is just my job.  Even so, walking to the doors of the employer I’ve served for the last 19 years, my heart raced as I opened those doors, greeted co-workers, sanitized my work stations and donned my PPE as I went to get my temperature checked. 

Shortly afterward, my heart rate returned to normal. 

Each week, it has gotten easier and easier. 

Yet, I remind myself, this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

I need to continually train, build my endurance and strength, because the Trouble (with a capital T) is coming. This part of COVID-19, is just the beginning of a marathon that is going to try even the most steadfast of us in the world.

This invisible virus has just begun to take us down. Right now the battle is physical. The illness is taking us out – custodians, artists, health care workers, infants, friends, parents, grandparents, sisters, best—friends are being lost.

There is also an invisible battle being waged against the terror; the fear and the imaginations we have to imagine the worst. This fear of losing what became so comfortable and things we see now that we took for granted.

As I’ve been checking in on friends, family, neighbors and the community, I have been so grateful to hear that most in my “circle” are doing OK. In fact, they want to know if there is anything they can do for me—it warms my heart.

More waves are coming. Just when we’re physically re-gaining strength, our finances will be impacted; jobs are being lost, companies are re-structuring, cities and states are in a panic; the world is crying out for Help. When our bodies and finances are worn out, what will be next?

I wonder, as time goes on, the coffers are emptied, will our spirits have the endurance?  Will we still be willing to cling to joy, to faith, to offering whatever we have to whoever is in need?

—-

Sixty seconds isn’t long. That’s all it takes in an interval (sprint) to increase the heart rate. Do that exertion for three times with 90 seconds of rest in between.

During my interval training, I pray. I’ve discovered that the Lord’s Prayer takes me about 60 seconds to recite in my mind. As I pray it, I am running as fast as I can, Then, my recovery is the 23rd Psalm. This takes about 90 seconds. Then repeat.

Not only is this my workout to build my endurance, it is my recovery.

As I pray the way Jesus told us to pray- for God’s provision, power and ultimately His will, I then rest and recover in the reminders of Where He leads me, how he protects me, and where I will dwell forever.

My heart is prepared for the waves that this Trouble can bring. I remind myself again, there is nothing that can happen to me that is outside of God’s will for me.

Repeat.

What are you training for?

The Lords Prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven, 

Hallowed be thy Name. 

Thy Kingdom come. 

Thy will be done in earth, 

As it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our trespasses, 

As we forgive them that trespass against us. 

And lead us not into temptation, 

But deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 

The power, and the glory, 

For ever and ever. 

Amen. 

23rd Psalm:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

You prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: you anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

REPEAT

sky sunset person silhouette

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

What is your "Magnum?"

What is your “Magnum?”

MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

Have you had these little packages of heaven? Magnum–A creamy vanilla bean ice cream covered in silky chocolate, dabbled with goodies like caramel, almonds or toffee. OMG. Absolute deliciousness. Such a treat when it’s110 degrees out (and the commercials are ridiculously funny.)
I bought four packages when I was expecting company (and they were on sale two-for-one)! I devoured one as soon as I got home and then totally forgot about them. Even forgot when my company came! (What can I say—I am over 40 now.)

It has been two months since I brought those Magnums home. In the freezer they sit, all intact, save the one I ate that day.

Now that summer is over and I failed once again to lose “those ten pounds;” I have decided to get serious about my swimsuit body for next summer.—Small changes over time will produce big results. Right?

So, I am giving up cheese and dairy.

Actually, this is a BIG HUGE CHANGE for me—I have pizza easily 3-7 times a week and have been known to eat a cheese and fruit plate for dinner many a night. And then there is the coffee creamer—Seriously??!! Do they put drugs in it?–It sometimes is the only reason I get out of bed! Especially the Cinnabon creamer. Mmmm…

I digress.

So, I have given up cheese and dairy during the week (Let’s be realistic). Ever since this decision, I swear to you those Magnum ice cream bars have been taunting me. Despite the fact those little gold minions of chocolate beauty sat in there for two months without my even giving them a second thought; post “no-dairy decision,” I cannot open the freezer door to get ice without their sparkly, beautiful gold wrapping blinding me. One even jumped out to me—like it wanted me to save it from its lonely existence next to the frozen peas and neglected pizza! I cannot watch TV without thinking about them. If the temperature’s over 100, they are on my mind.—So…EVERY DAY!

God knew we would struggle and has us pray: “Lead us not into temptation…” (Matthew 6:13)

Temptation taunts in many ways.

My subconscious even struggles. Last week I dreamed I was face deep in a lasagna and cheesy pasta buffet and gorging on the saucy deliciousness. I awoke from this dream with a smile spread across my face as I could taste the garlic cheese bread…THEN BAM!—my smile was instantly wiped clear when I remembered the decision; (Seinfeld’s soup-Nazi style):

NO CHEESE FOR YOU!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” (23rd Psalm)

This table of temptation is different for everyone.

Whether your table contains heftier tempters like alcohol and drugs, sex/lust, the greed for money; or more subtle ones such as pride, gossip, selfishness, cheese…

“…You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows” (23rd Psalm)

With Christ, there is a way out.

“He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

With Christ there is a power beyond your own that you can tap into:

“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:5)
And when you rely on Christ working in you, He will strengthen you in those areas.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So, as I close the freezer door (sans-Magnum,) and I sip my black coffee, I pray your day is filled with the power of Christ to overcome whatever “Magnum” is seated at your table.

ANOINTING

spreadthewordnotgossip.comThe scorched expanse of our life-weary existence is in need of something. Whether it be depression, discouragement, selfishness, gossip, envy or pride; what do you let in?
Something seemingly small can be deadly.

He was a young child, barely six when the family decided to gather and reunite with long lost cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. The farm house in Nebraska could handle all of them. The children were shepherded to the basement to their sleeping bags for the evening. After all the giggles and jokes subsided, the children fell deep into sleep. A tiny beetle made its way into the one child’s unsuspecting ear canal and immediately jolted him out of sleep. His screams awakened all the other children as he ran up the stairs to find his mother. Confusion, pain, the scampering and clawing of those tiny beetle feet in a place they should never be.
When he calmed down enough, through sobs he explained there had to be a bug in his ear. No one believed him, yet he knew it. It was driving him mad. The torture, the unbelief, the exasperation, exhaustion; he was banging his head as though it was just water in his ear from a long day of swimming, but it was much, much worse. Like claws across a blackboard, the beetle was scampering the soft tissue; frightened and near insanity, he gave in.–After the adults found a children’s cold medicine to soothe him and his mother lay by his side, wiping his forehead with a cool cloth, she whispered prayers to his tormented heart.
It was just minutes after the child lay down, temporarily calmed by the medicine and the willing of his mother that she became the sole witness to the departure of the tiny beetle; which she instantly killed.

“You prepare a table in front of me, in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)
To anoint usually means to set apart as special—like a gift to God. It also is a term often used in healing.

Back in the day, a shepherd was one of the lowliest of professions (not that it has gained much since!), but it was a dirty job. Working the night shift, tending those stupid animals, defending those silly sheep against thieves, robbers, predators; trying to herd them, protect them, and keep them safe. The tiniest of threats could actually kill a sheep. The nasal fly. That tiny pest could get inside the nostrils of the sheep, lay its eggs which developed into worms and eventually would drive the sheep to the point of banging its head against something to “get it out!” which most commonly lead to its (insanity!) and death.
I can’t even stand one bug buzzing about my ear, let alone it taking up camp in my nostrils and enlarging its family. Ugh.
A good shepherd would anoint the sheep’s head with oil (laced with some other healing ointments). These oils kept the flies from entering into the nostrils and ultimately protected the sheep from the tormentor that would make them “off” themselves.
The song “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns states it so eloquently—“people never crumble in a day.”

Innocence blurs the lines of what we allow into our hearts and minds through our eyes, ears and societal influence. Also, as parents, friends, leaders, servants and human beings all subjected to these things, we are setting examples, leaving legacies and always being scrutinized for our choices. Check out a few of the verses:

“Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow
Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see”
(some lyrics from Casting Crown’s “Slow Fade”)


Our Father looking down on us with love; forgiving for those “not-so-wise” choices we made.
And our Good Shepherd who anoints and protects our souls with the blood He shed on the cross. He has set us apart. When we are weary, rest is found in Him. When we weep, He comforts. When we are weak, He is our strength. When we thirst or hunger, He is our bubbling water of life and our manna for the day.

Today, I pray that no-thing is able to put a bug in your ear to distract you from seeking the Good Shepherd. I pray that no harm come near your home. I pray that nothing, no height nor depth, no demons or mean people, no distance, no depression, no death nor divorce shall ever separate you from the healing, anointing love that is found only in our Good Shepherd.