A Midsummer’s Day Dream (Soul Weariness)

 

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Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:1-2

I’m sitting here at this keyboard today, facing sunshine streaming in my windows. Facing the end of Summer days…which are this year a bit bittersweet. I’m tapping out words, and feeling the weight of the unknown press in like the end of Summer, and I struggle to describe how I feel. What I am thinking. Is it the perfect storm coming?

I will turn 5o. Finally. Well…on August 24.

My family  has been hearing me say I’m “almost 50“,  for the last 5 years.

This year has been a blur of pain, joy, survival mode, betrayal, frustration and ultimately a letting go. A letting go of dreams, expectations, desires. This year has been like living with death every day.

Death of hopes and plans shared. Death of friendships that reveal themselves to be over. Death of both secular and spiritual community expectations, death, death and death…  More

Finding Time For Fitness – and other lazy tales

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life
and the life to come.
~ 1 Timothy 4:8

       Today was a back to reality day. I knew this day had to come. It started with the doodling in the journal. Having designed exercise programs for close to 30 years, it’s something I just do. Actually it’s something I love to do. But after, my job loss in June, I have been feeling a bit soured toward the field of fitness and even towards exercise in general. I have been on a Summer Sabbatical. However, today I may have turned a corner back to my former reality. Tweaking and fine tuning programs for a variety of exercise enthusiasts, athletes and non-exercisers, is something that I have enjoyed as a career, by the hand and pleasure of my Maker. As a carpenter visualizes the building to come by taking down information and jotting down stats needed for construction, my pen began to script the routine, as my mind wrapped around the possibilities as well as the potential obstacles. Nothing elaborate. One must consider the client. Hmmm, yes, close to 50. Post injury. When was the last check up? Oh, no – not going there. If I took me on as a client, I would require a full work up. After all – over 45. Current level of fitness? Lazy. OK, that might be a bit harsh. Relaxed, after suffering serious physical injury. Attitude? Physical Therapist described me as “burnt out” of the exercise field. I don’t fully agree, I am just awaiting further instructions from my King on where He wants me to direct my energies. Meantime, I have really allowed myself a full break. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I have been immersed in this field for a good portion of my adult life. It has been quite a journey. It is where I met my Faith: from one bodybuilding competitor to another. It is where I enjoyed success, freedom, growth, expression, creativity. It is where I have lived out some stories which have yet to be told. Maybe that’s where the story needs to end. Or not…people make so many assumptions about one another. Sometimes I resent this. I have been a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Coach for a good portion of my life but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle now and again with motivation. And, even laziness. Well the fact is that working in the gym, or thinking about working out doesn’t make one fit, anymore than going to church or reading about Christianity makes one a Christian. Fact is we all have to put in our time. I am not one who has ever fancied one dimensional living. The fact was and is now, I do not define myself by my career, or any of the roles I live out here on this side of eternity. I have embraced the new life and long to live out fully the ultimate role of serving my King, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. I have seen such idolatry in our culture with regard to fitness, exercise and health. I sometimes joke and tell people, “I don’t bow down to that god, anymore”. It’s not a joke, really. Sometimes I have been so disgusted by the magnification (deification?) of what is essential, simple and good (healthy living- defined by moderate living and being active) to something that becomes unbalanced, unhealthy (I have observed to the psyche, especially) and idolatrous. As I blog about it my passion returns and I am fueled with a desire to be heard for the sake of balance, simplicity and PERSPECTIVE. Maybe I am fueled enough to get my behind down into the basement for the 2nd workout of the week. Maybe, I will return to taking on clients again in the future and birth the Fitness Blog “baby” I have been carrying within me, …or maybe God has a new role for me to take on. Either way, I will meet Him beneath the surface and trust in Him for a fresh breath of faith for the next step.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
~Acts 28:17

A New Israel ?

   
This is what the Lord says- Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
~ Isaiah 44:6

  I have a lovely friend who comes from another country. Recently we had the opportunity to discuss differences between our native countries and how the Lord Jesus found each of us on our distant continents, embraced us in love and turned our lives around. What she had to say got me thinking about this great country I am grateful to live in, which is perceived by most outside nations to be a “Christian Nation”.
     When she first came to the USA she was surprised to find the country she believed to be founded as a nation under God’s authority and Lordship was not unlike God’s own original chosen people, Israel, who were chosen to be a light to all other nations and yet failed, repeatedly in following the God who had chosen, founded and ordained them to be identified in Him. She expressed to me how difficult it was to see this “Christian Nation” with so much head knowledge but no heart for the ever present, invisible, God. As an outsider coming from a country which is comparatively poor with limited freedoms she anticipated coming to a land of opportunities, promise and Christian hope. Coming from a culture which worships many gods she had heard about the country which had one God- The One True, Living God. The hope and truth of this One, Holy God and freedom to worship Him with access to His Word inspired her faith to grow stronger. She shared how the Lord Jesus was able to meet her personally and reveal himself to her and how exciting, real and wonderful it was. This was all prior to her coming to America. Still, as she came to live in a once dreamed of and promised land something began to stir for her beneath the surface. These stirrings came as she began to seek God in this foreign, faraway place and realized that amidst the many church buildings that dotted the countrysides, and despite the spiritual heritage of a rich Christian nation all was not as it would appear. She finds herself challenged not by the reality of crime in our country or the lack of love for God, disregard for truth or even rejection of moral absolutes by the general population. She knows better. She is most challenged by the apathy and complacency of those who supposedly know the same Jesus that she knows, yet seem to be desensitized and even disconnected from His heart. Wow. That is one big, giant Selah, and wake up call to the church. Sometimes it takes an outsider to come and speak to us...to remind us of the Jesus that longs for us to shake off religion and follow him with total dependency and mold-able, available, receptive hearts! No wonder God used prophets. Still does, my friends- the question is, are we listening for His voice? Are we willing to hear and repent? We need to guard ourselves from the idols of today. They are subtle and appear good as we know the enemy of our souls comes as a beautiful angel of light, not the abhorrent being he truly is- Remember, there is no truth in him. We must guard against that which appears to be good and that is idolatry in God’s eyes. One of my favorite verses in the Bible says that the man who fears the Lord will avoid all extremes. (Ecclesiastes 7:18, NIV) Look around friend, our culture longs for simplicity but is driven to extremes in almost every pursuit. Who do you think is fueling that? I have found that God is in the balance as I continually walk by faith. He leads me away from idolatry and into the beauty and wonderful knowledge of His grace. Let’s examine ourselves before God and stop comparing ourselves to others. Let’s remember who we represent and that He himself IS Love.

Lord, I pray  I am never guilty of being apathetic or complacent in my faith. Give me ears to hear when you want to direct me in love. Let me not speak unless, I myself am led by love. Lord, may I never be desensitized to your heart. But may my faith burn and glow brighter, hotter and stronger with each passing day. Keep me from the extremes that lead to the unperceived idols of the day. Let me not be driven by or to extremes but drawn by You alone into that which is good. I pray this for each who reads these words, as well. In Jesus name.

Further reflection: 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, 1 Peter 2:9-12, John 15:19, Ephesians 3:6, Mark 12:29, Isaiah 44:6, 49:6, 9:2, Matthew 5:13-16, John 3:19-21, 1 John 1:5-7

                                         
  But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
       He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it’s roots by the stream.
It does not fear when rain comes; it’s leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8
Until next time, I continue In His Grace, with thanksgiving,
Dawn

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