Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lay Them Down

You know those days where you just feel weighed down and exhausted?

I had one of those days yesterday. Heaviness settled on me like the thick frost that covers the November ground each morning.

It began during cross-country practice. We are tapering this week leading up to Regional's, so our mileage is much lower than normal. It should have been a fairly easy practice, but the cold made it notably difficult.

Winter has come in with a biting cold, and trying to do an interval work out in forty-degree weather is not easy. After we adjust to it, it will not be a problem. But coming off of sixty-degree weather, the cold was a thorough shock. My entire team expressed how out of shape they felt, and our breathing was shallow and sharp.

So I didn’t have a great practice. And I want to blame my poor performance on the cold, but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate claim. Everyone was running in the cold. And everyone else refused to let it slow them down.

I felt heavy though. Physically and mentally.

My mind was weighed down by so many things. By comparison. By doubt. By discouragement. By negativity. This season has not been what I wanted it to be, and I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself for this last race. A bad practice right before Regional's was the last thing I needed. 

And then, on top of all of that, I began to feel condemned for being so negative! There are so many more important things in the world to worry about. And I am so blessed… what right do I have to feel upset about my performance as a runner when people are starving and countries are war-torn and people don’t know about Jesus? How selfish could I be???

What a seriously depressing cycle of thoughts.

I know that I was being irrational. I know that how I perform as a runner is so unimportant compared to how many things are going on in the world. I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and that God loves me unconditionally and overwhelmingly.

But I just felt exhausted and discouraged. There was more going on in my mind than I could process. I even cried on the way home.

I am aware that this blog post has been incredibly depressing up until now, but I am sharing all of this with a purpose. I don’t want this to be a blog full of needless venting. Instead, I want it to be a documentation of how faithful God is in my life.

When I arrived home last night, I opened up to my mother about all of the negative thoughts I was experiencing. I knew they were not from God, but I didn’t know exactly how to combat them. I felt powerless.

My mother, who is incredibly wise and comforting, began to speak life over me and pray for me. She suggested that I go into my room and pray off the negative thoughts that were clouding over me.

So I prayed. And I woke up and prayed some more. 
I just spent time soaking in the love of God. 
And I felt peace settle over me.

Everything that seemed so complicated melted away in the warmth of His love and affection. And I felt SO much better.

And to top it off…
Right before I was about to get out of bed and get ready for the day, my sister came into my room and told me that my class was cancelled today!!! She had read it on facebook, and I wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t told me.

So this morning has been lovely. I made a nice breakfast, which is a luxury when I’m usually frantically shoving food into my mouth on the drive to school. I finished my statistics homework. And I am blogging now. I think I may even take a nap later. The only true responsibility I have all day is practice!

I am incredibly grateful at them moment. I still feel a little heavy, but I am going to continue to pray throughout this week. I am very intimidated by this weekend’s race, but I am aware how little it is in light of how good God is. My identity is not in my performance. I have to remind myself that every day.

This blog post has been slightly intense, I know, 
but I want to end it with promise.

Everything is so simple, really. God loves us and wants to fight our battles for us. In fact, He has already won all of our battles on the cross! 

We don’t need to feel overwhelmed, heavy, or weighted down – because we don’t need to do it on our own. Instead, we need to “strip off every weight that slows us down…” and “run with endurance the race God has set before us”. (Romans 21:1)

So this morning, and every morning, I want to lay down all of those weights and walk in the joy and light-heartedness and peace that has been promised to me. Today, with time to rest, this seems easy. But I want to do this every day. And I want to encourage anyone reading this to do it, too. 

Whatever it is that is holding you down – whatever mindset, worries, or doubts – 
Strip them off. Lay them down.

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