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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meditating to focus

One of my promises to myself this year was to start drawing closer to God through my prayers, listening, praise and worship and meditations. 

In January, I spent most of the month seeking first God's kingdom and His righteousness.  (Matthew 6:33) I've made some decisions on what I can do throughout this year to work on my relationship with God.
Yesterday, I came up with something that got me all excited.  As I continued my activity earlier this morning, I decided it was blog worthy.

One of our promises for the year is to run a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon.  As much as I enjoy exercising (sort of), the results of exercising...I have a hard time getting started.  Running is especially hard for me.  I feel like while I run, all I do is focus on reasons why I should stop.

I started "training" this past week, along with my P90X workout.  It has been a hard week starting back...but I digress.  The first day I was able to complete my run.  Yes, I was tired.  Yes, it hurt.  Yes, I wanted to quit; but I kept going.  Day 2 (yesterday) of my run, I got about .4 miles out and stopped.  I was winded and my body was all achy and didn't want to cooperate.  I stood there thinking to myself, "Man...I don't think I can do this.  I don't even think I want to do this..."  I probably stood there for a minute debating whether I should just walk to my destination or continue running.

Finally, a thought occurred to me.  I've never really liked running.  I started doing it more regularly when I joined a boot camp a few years ago.  After that, it just became a habit for me to incorporate it into my workouts.  When we moved to LA, something that really helped me was Slacker Radio and Pandora on my phone.  I could put in my headphones and listen to worship music while I ran.  Running became my time with God.  Doing this, I found myself wanting to run more and more just to spend more time with God.

I now have no functioning headphones, so I am not able to do that right now.  I thought about this yesterday as I stood on the bridge trying to decide if I wanted to complete my run.  Then I realized, I had something better, scripture.  So I said to myself, "Self, why don't you meditate on God's word while you run?!  That way, you'll start focusing on Him and stop focusing on the pain and discomfort of running."

So that's what I did.  I meditated on Psalm 23 and Isaiah 40:31

Psalm 23 "The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest 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 forever."

Isaiah 40:31 was especially helpful since I was running. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

So I incorporated this activity into my run and I felt so good.  Not only was I working out my body, but I was also working out my spirit.  It felt so great, that I just wanted to keep on running.  Of course, I reached my destination, so I was able to stop running.  But that's when the idea came to me.

I realized that it would be a good idea for me to start using my running time to memorize scriptures and meditate on them.  I got so excited about it, I almost started screaming and jumping for joy.  I held it, though.  What a great way to keep my promises to myself!
growing more in my relationship with God.  

This idea is a fantastic idea for a few reasons:

1) As I said earlier, I will keep my 2011 promises by growing in my relationship with God

2)  AND, in running the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon.  I figure if I incorporate this activity into my running, I'll be encouraged to run more.

3) It will help me to memorize more scripture.

4) It will help me to learn how to meditate on God's word better.

5) It will take my focus off the pain and discomfort I feel when I run; and help me stay focused on God.

Reason 5 speaks volumes to me.  Running is not the only area in my life that has pain and discomfort.  If I use my running time to meditate on God's word and learn how to better take my focus off the pain and discomfort in that situation, I figure I'll be well practiced to apply this to the other areas and situations in my life where and when I experience all that pain and discomfort.  Coming to this conclusion was like a HUGE revelation ( or AHA! moment) for me.  I think that's why I got so excited that I wanted to jump up and down and yell.

Today, I ran for about 2 miles.  I was able to meditate on Phil 4:6-7 "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  and put Phil 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." into a song while running.  It was another successful run.  And now I've got those new scriptures memorized.  PTL!

We'll see how this goes.  I'm hoping it'll all work out.  I'm believing it will.  Mas luego!


Friday, February 4, 2011


Have you ever been told that you're not allowed to talk about something? 

Yesterday I had an interview with an agency.  It went alright, I suppose.  In answer to some of my questions during one of the interviews, I referred to God.  I actually referred to God twice during the interview, so the person said to me, "Since you've mentioned God twice, I want to ask if you have a problem not talking about Him at work?"

The explanation: not because it was a religious thing, but a legal thing.

I was silent for what felt like a minute as I processed what he asked of me.  I could have just said, "Sure not a problem."  But for some reason I just sat there trying to process what he'd said.  I actually chuckled when he asked me that question.  He was like, "I'm a spiritual person myself.   If that works for you, that's great.  And the reason that I mention it isn't about a religious thing, it's a legal issue...."

My thoughts?  "How can I not talk about God?  He's become such a huge part of who I am..."  "You're telling me I can't talk about God in this agency?  I worked for a mail order company that sold 'all natural male enhancement products', and I still talked about God to customers whenever I saw opportunities...."  "I can't talk about God here?  That's really stupid."  "I don't know how I feel about that, I'd probably have to pray about it and see what God wants me to do." (Haha)

My words?  Although I had several thoughts, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, "That's fine."  At my response, he looked at me and said, "You don't look too happy about that."  I said, "Not really, but unfortunately it's the world we live in."  Ugh!  I could not believe I said that.  I mean, I may be in this world, but I'm not of this world (John 17:16).  How could I sell out like that? 

I was told that if I worked there and it came up that I'd been "prosthelytizing" kids or staff, they'd be dealing with a legal issue.  I was told that if God was how I dealt with things, that was fine, but that I'd have to keep the process internalized and not vocalize

My only thoughts on that were, "I'm sure if I were talking to the kids there about Jesus, they wouldn't use the word, 'prosthelytizing' to explain what I'm doing..." 

I mean, I'm not saying all I do now is go up to people and say, "Hello.  My name is Patricia.  Do you know Jesus? I know Him and you should know Him too!"  But if the opportunity presents itself, why am I not allowed to bring God up?

Later sharing this occurrence with Marcus, he reminded me that God is God and He can be glorified in any way.  We don't just have to talk about Him for God to be glorified.  Man, why didn't I just say that rather than get rattled and say what I said?  It's so true.  God is God.  His word says to "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10. 

I guess I just felt like I sold out because this week in church we went through Acts 3 and 4.  In Acts 3, Peter and John heal a crippled man.  This man had been crippled for about 40 years and he sat at the temple door begging for money. When Peter and John came along, he asked them for money.  Peter told him that he didn't have any money, but what he had was worth more than silver and gold.  Then something amazing happened, "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Acts 3:6.  They healed the man and found an opportunity to share the gospel.

In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John are arrested for this act and for sharing the gospel.  Finally when they were confronted by the religious leaders responsible for their arrest, they spoke to them boldly in response to them.  Stumped about what to do, the leaders realized they couldn't hold Peter and John in jail, but upon release ordered them not to talk about Jesus anymore. 

"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all [men] glorified God for that which was done." Acts 4:18-21.

They ordered them not to talk about Jesus.  Peter and John said no.  They still had to let them go, because they couldn't deny the miracle of the man's healing.  They couldn't deny what all the people had seen.  These people tried stopping God with their laws, but they didn't win.  They lost and in the end God was glorified and they were left there (men of intelligence) looking like fools. 

People can try to stop God, in all sorts of ways.  They can try hard...very hard.  But they won't win.  God always wins.  So I won't open my mouth about God if I get that job.  If God wants to do something through me there, His WILL will be done!  My prayer is that God would give me the boldness to go into His world and not be afraid to continue speaking about Him.  My prayer is that I'd be as bold as Peter and John were in Acts 3 and 4 when the time comes. 

I mean, if God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)  I have no reason to fear...