Tag Archives: truth

A Blogger’s Manifesto

16 Aug

This morning, as I was contemplating writing a post about why I love blogging and what I strive to be as a blogger, I stumbled across the Blogger’s Manifesto website. They read my mind! So of course, I had to sign their honor roll and grab a badge for my site. If you’re in Reader, check it out.

The tenet of the Blogger’s Manifesto that I agree with the most is:

Be Authentic.

This has been the driving force behind my blog since Day One (which happened to be January 15, 2008). Do I understand that my religious beliefs might not appeal to (and may even repel) those who happen upon my blog for triathlon-related information? Yes. Do I realize that my crazy exercise habits might inspire some yawns or cringes from those who had been reading for my spiritual insights? Yep. Do I believe that there are other people out there, just like me, who are dedicated to both faith AND fitness? Definitely!

Instead of catering to the masses in an attempt to garner a bigger following (and believe me, this is definitely tempting!), I have resolved to remain true to myself and my beliefs by being honest and by sharing the truths about the gospel that not everyone wants to hear. I believe God is more honored by my not wavering from the truth than  by my chasing after subscribers for my own ego.* If I stopped blogging about God and my faith, I would no longer be authentic. Because God is my life.

This is also what I love most about reading other people’s blogs: authenticity. Getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. Connecting over common struggles and sharing in their victories. Offering advice and support. Being inspired to appreciate beauty and music. Having my horizons expanded. Gaining the courage to go after goals and challenges that once seemed impossible.

Travis thinks it’s weird that I read other people’s blogs, specifically people that I don’t know in real life and probably never will. He looks at it the same way as being obsessed with celebrities – that I must be so discontent with my own life that I have to live vicariously through reading about other people’s. Totally not true. In fact, I love my life. I feel very blessed by God to be where I am, doing what I’m doing. But I also love hearing about other people’s lives. I think this is a natural thing. Humans long for connection. We want to hear that other people are going through the same things we are. We want to have our voice heard. By blogging, we’re putting our thoughts out there, for all to read. I hope that others are inspired and encouraged by what I blog, as much as I am by what they write.

Another great thing about blogging is that it’s a great way to easily connect with other like-minded people. For instance, I love triathlons, but I only have 2 other friends that do them. So I read about the triathlon feats of Erin, Kelly, and SUAR, and the running feats of Brie, LisaKate, SkinnyRunner, ChicRunner, and Kier. Camaraderie at my fingertips!

Which brings me to:

Be Appreciative.

Link love! This is something I am trying to do more, because I do really enjoy these awesome blogs and I think other people would enjoy them too. I also try to comment on several posts a day because everyone likes to know that something they wrote resonated with their readers, or was at least enjoyable enough to elicit a response. And I read a lot of resonating, enjoyable posts! This kind of connection isn’t always possible in day-to-day life. I mean, how often do we get to sit down with friends and talk about what’s going on in our lives in detail (and with pictures)? In my opinion, not nearly often enough.

So I’d like to know: Why do you blog? Why do you read other people’s blogs (like this one)? What is the main principle behind your blogging style?

*I am most definitely not saying that every blogger who has a large following is doing this. Just that if I were to do it, that would be the motive.

Seeing through the lies

5 Nov

This week started off rough. I was still struggling with not liking my job and feeling too disinterested and exhausted to do anything besides eke out some work and then read or watch TV. Naturally, I felt guilty at this lack of productivity – “just one more way I suck,” I thought.

After women’s group on Wednesday, I drove home crying. I just couldn’t understand why I felt so tired and lethargic. Why I couldn’t even muster up the strength to hope in God or have faith that things would get better. I had hit rock bottom and couldn’t do anything but stay there, calling out to God for Him to rescue me.

Well, no surprise, He did. Yesterday morning, I read Philippians 3:12-14 where Paul talks about not being perfect but pressing on, forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead. I realized that I have been drowning in discouragement and despair because I have been focusing on my failures, resulting in either feelings of defeat or self-pity.

I have been believing lies in pretty much every area of my life:

When I see something I haven’t done, Satan takes that failure and says “See? You’ll never change. You just suck too much.”

He uses my stress to say “See? You can’t handle this. It’d be easier to just give up and watch TV all day instead.”

Satan takes my desire for rest and relaxation, turns it into feelings of laziness and says  “See? This is all you’re good at. Look at how much other people accomplish – you’re pathetic.”

Satan takes my spirit’s desire for Christ-likeness and says “Don’t even try. It’ll never happen. You’re incapable of living that way.”

Satan takes any glimmer of hope or joy and snuffs it out saying “That doesn’t make any difference – look at all the other areas in your life right now that suck. You have absolutely no reason to be happy or hopeful.”

And even after recognizing this yesterday morning, and feeling hopeful that I can finally combat these negative emotions because I know the root and cause of them, Satan says “You can’t fight this. You’re too weak, too tired, too pathetic. You disgust me.”

These lies are so subtle because they’re based in truth. I am incapable of changing and being like Christ in and of myself. I have failed to live the life I feel God has called me to. But I can’t stay there and focus on that. I have to move on, to focus on what I can now be in Christ, what He makes me capable of.

These are some of the truths I am using to combat these lies:

1. I am not hopeless or without hope – GOD is my hope.

2. I am indeed powerless to change myself but GOD IS NOT – He is for me and is working in me according to His perfect will.

3. My past failures have nothing to say about my present worth or future potential – only the CROSS of Christ does.

4. I am free to enjoy life and find joy in God and His blessings because I am freed from my sin and failures. “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

These truths have helped me see that when I snap at Travis, instead of beating myself up and lamenting that I’ll never be a good wife, I need to turn to God in prayer, acknowledge that I sinned and ask Him to give me grace to be a better wife.  I need to have faith in God to make me be who He says I can be in His Son, and not dwell on all the ways I don’t measure up. I can find motivation and energy to fight against sin and for joy in the victory that Christ has already won against sin and death. I am fighting a winning battle. There is guaranteed victory, and even guaranteed progress.

I am still working through the implications of these truths and I’m sure I won’t be completely free from the temptation to believe the lies for a while. They had pervaded practically every facet of my life. But Christ dwells in my heart through faith so I have confidence that He will give me the grace to believe His truths and to fight for joy.

Ugly unbelief

9 Sep

Unbelief is an ugly thing.

My blog post yesterday is some pretty convincing evidence of that statement. Just writing that post made me depressed and discouraged – I can’t imagine what it’s like reading it!!

But instead of deleting it as the insane rantings of an emotionally unhinged lunatic, I am leaving it. This is real evidence of the struggle with unbelief, a struggle which everyone has, to some extent, every day. I just show what happens when you let it spiral out of control.

I woke up today planning to run 15 miles but since our race this weekend has been cancelled due to the Fourmile Canyon fire (and I really didn’t feel like running that much today), I decided to do that run on Saturday, when I will be better rested and can take a nap afterwards. So instead of lacing up my running shoes at 6:30, I cracked open Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

This is what I read: “A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers… [Has] an obstacle come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ – not emotion or experience – nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.”

This is why I love reading Oswald Chambers. So often, his devotions are exactly what I needed to hear. I have been so focused on my problems that I’ve been saying “See how big my problems are?!?! How can God possibly help me with this?” When in reality, I was the one being the problem and God was the only answer.

After a little bit more rational pondering (and no doubt some inspiration from the Holy Spirit), I have realized that I am contributing to this problem of my job more than I was aware. There are 3 main issues:

1. Working from home has definite benefits – I love the flexibility. But it’s that very flexibility that has made me subconsciously feel like a slacker all the time and resulted in a huge burden of guilt. I don’t feel like I am giving a wholehearted effort in my job – I’m doing just enough to get by. That feeling, though subtle, has been wearing on me. And I think, in this instance, that guilt is a good indication that I am not glorifying God in my work ethic right now.

2. I also have been overwhelmed by feelings of not being able to do all the things that I would like to do – and I blame it on work. I think this feeling goes along with any commitment, since naturally, by doing one thing, you eliminate the possibility of doing another thing at the same time. So instead of letting this limitation breed discontentment, I am memorizing the verse, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God has commanded that I focus on the positive things (Philippians 4:8) and be content (Philippians 4:11).

3. Last but certainly not least, I have been very fearful in my job. The modern term is “stressed out” but I’m pretty sure that’s just a fancy way of saying I’m scared. I’m scared about failing (volunteer coordination) and scared about what other people think about me (getting new timing clients). Instead of looking to God and saying “This I know, that God is for me… what can man do to me?”, I have been saying “I can’t handle this!!” These realizations seems so obvious that I feel a little sheepish for my previous blog rant. But that is the effect of unbelief – you can’t think rationally, you believe sinful emotions instead of the truth, and rely on your own very limited understanding.

So in response to these 3 issues, I’m going to take some practical and spiritual action:

With God’s help, I am going to maintain a more intentional work schedule. Instead of working just whenever, I’m going to try to sit down around the same time every day and work for a particular duration – say 9 to 4. I am also going to start keeping track of the hours I work so I will know whether my guilt is sinful (letting my actions dictate how much I’m worth) or godly (I am not glorifying God by being a hearty worker).

I am going to prioritize my non-work time. The things I really want to make a priority are, in no particular order: running (the marathon is only 2 months away!), getting in the Word, praying, reading, cooking healthy food (not frozen pizzas!), and blogging. I need to be intentional about not getting sucked into mindless TV – though I do still hope to watch my favorite shows, like Bones and Desperate Housewives. But that will come second to my other, higher priorities.

And when I feel fearful about failure or human approval, I need to run to God. I need to remind myself of the revelant truth that He loves me and nothing I do or don’t do can change that. And because He loves me, I can trust Him. Just like with sanctification, I am responsible for the practical, everyday matters but He is in charge of the final product. I am called to be faithful in my job, but He is the one who makes me succeed. “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8). I can trust God with the outcome of my job.

Yet again, I am so incredibly thankful that God is who He is – faithful, enduring, patient, loving, gracious. I am ashamed of my unbelieving behavior over the past week and a half and yet, I can come into God’s presence through prayer as if nothing ever happened. That is amazing.

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him, for God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).