A Light in the Darkness

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

1 John 1:5

 

Yoga is very trendy right now, and while I do believe you can separate the exercise from the religion, I don’t want to write about whether Christians should do yoga or not because that conversation can go in complete circles.  However, I do feel burdened to share the hope that I have found in Jesus Christ because people are searching.  Searching. 1 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age [the devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Everyone is searching for hope, and searching for a light, and there is no light in the darkness besides God.  “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 4:6

The devil mimics the light as best he can to convince as many people as he can that a light and a hope for life can be found in ourselves or in someone or something else besides God.  He is biding his time and relishing in every soul who gets distracted by his false light.  However, we were made to worship and glorify God, the one who made us, and we are to credit Him with every good thing in our lives.  We are to be in awe with how wonderful it is to view the beauty of the world that He made, and love Him for it.  When we credit ourselves or anyone or anything else with our peace, our hope, or admire it as glorious (including ourselves, our lifestyle, a workout, another person, or a denomination), we are at the risk of putting it on a pedestal and making it an idol.  Yoga is like any other thing in our life, and we have to look at our heart’s intention.  Are we looking to it for our hope? If so, it is a misguided and misplaced hope, just as we can mistakenly put our trust in many different things.

Our peace is shaken by the grief of this world.  When our hearts are resting on unstable hope, they are shaken and destroyed by the inevitable changes of the world.  However, when we look to the true light, and put our hope in the true Prince of Peace, we can be at ease knowing He does not change.  He doesn’t follow trends or convince you to do the same.  Everything else will change–our lives, our bodies, our journeys, feelings, friendships, financial situation, ideas–and if we are basing our hope and peace in anything that can will change, we will be disappointed, let down, and left depressed.

If you are searching for a light, instead of looking to a lifestyle, workout, club, group of people, or hoping to find it in yourself, look to the Lord.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He is the True Light, and our only hope for complete peace in this life.

3.5 Hard Miles

 

We spent last weekend going on a mini family vacation that was a whirlwind of long car ride, bad sleep, a little too much junk food, lots of stroller pushing, and another long car ride to finish it off.  My husband was running his first 50k race, and the kids and I were excited to go along and cheer him on.  I managed a little 2.5 mile run on Saturday afternoon after the big race, but I was motivated by the race atmosphere, and planned to go on a longer run as soon as we got home.

By the time we got home, though, that was the last thing I wanted to do.  I told myself if I got on my running gear THEN I’d feel like going, but I didn’t.  So, I told myself once I got to the park I’d feel like it then, but I didn’t.  Every step of the run was like pounding through sludge.  It was slow and frustrating, and eventually I just finished walking.  I felt like I was forcing the entire thing, but convinced myself it was so good for me.  It was good because I didn’t want to go running, but I had planned on going, so if I skipped it would feel like I was giving up.  It was good because I didn’t want to go running and really if I skipped every time I didn’t want to workout or run, I wouldn’t exercise half as often as I do.  It was good because I thought it would give me a good start to the new week.  It took all the junk food and sitting and bad sleep of the weekend and reminded me that those weren’t my normal habits, and those habits weren’t going to go into the week with me.

Unfortunately what did go into the week with me was the flu.  By Monday evening I was burning with fever, and suddenly I understood why my weekend run was just SO hard.  I should have guessed that the slow, heavy feeling I was having on my run Sunday was something more than just a few too many sugary granola bars.  Running didn’t cause my sickness, the sickness just made those 3.5 miles extremely hard.

So, how do you know when you should push through and when you should just let yourself take a break?  Obviously, I can’t claim to be an expert, but I don’t think anyone would!  Only you can be the judge of how you feel.  I don’t always workout when I don’t want to: since I have little kids, my biggest reason for skipping is lack of sleep.  Because I feel this way often, I had trouble distinguishing between sickness fatigue and regular fatigue.  Some days getting my workout clothes on is motivation enough to do a workout; other days I wear my workout clothes all day and never get around to working out.  There are a lot of days I have to force myself to workout or go on a run, and most of the time I end up enjoying it by the end.  You don’t want to push your body too much if you aren’t feeling well, but going out and getting started is often the only push you need to enjoy a little exercise.

 

Race Weekend Family Style

 

My husband loves running: he loves trails and going long distances.  I love it that he has a hobby he enjoys that is good for him (if running 30+ miles is good for you, but that’s another topic for another day.)  He has been enjoying racing for about a year and a half, now, and because we both love doing things as a family, we always make a big production of going with him to support him and cheer him on.  This was the first race that was far enough away to justify staying overnight away from home where we didn’t have any family or friends near enough to stay with, so we decided to make a weekend out of it, and loaded up Friday evening to drive a little over 3 hours in the dark across the Arkansas hills to the Take It Easy Resort in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Races are run: there’s a lot of excitement, often live music, and people are happy, but we’re almost always the only ones with little kids and we have four.  At his first race one of our kids proudly brought me a bouquet of little flags, which were actually the flags marking out the end of the race up to the finish line (so embarrassing!) Since then I’ve learned to pay VERY close attention to them, and it’s always more fun when I find other people with kids and make friends so I don’t feel alone!

At the 50k this weekend, we woke up in our cabin at the resort and loaded the sleeping kids into the car at 6:30am to drive 15 minutes down the windy road to the starting line where I dropped off my husband.  We wished him luck, and drove back to our cabin to eat breakfast and watch cartoons.  We made our beds and got dressed for the day and then loaded up the stroller to walk the quarter of a mile to the closest aid station.  We planned on meeting him an an aid station near our cabin both times he was going to be passing by us.  We waited at the aid station about 20 minutes, only trekking back up the hill to our cabin once to use the bathroom and put on warmer clothes because we underestimated the chilly morning.  At that point he had only been running 13 miles (only, ha!), so he said hello quickly and kept on going.  We hiked back to the cabin again, ate snacks, searched over 30 minutes for our lost cabin key, and played in the yard.  I got a text from my husband saying he was at the halfway point and was headed back, so I judged by the 45 minutes it took him to get there we would have about the same amount of time until we could catch him at the aid station again.

We loaded into the van this time and drove as close to the aid station as we could before we got the stroller out and walked down the muddy road.  The younger two were asleep at this point, so they rode and kept sleeping, and I laid out a blanket for the older two to sit on and look at books.  We were there for less than 5 minutes when my husband came running through.  We had brought him a dry shirt and foam roller just in case he needed them, but he was feeling good and said hi, gave kisses, and kept going.  We went back to the van, loaded up, and drove to the starting/finish location to be there when he finished.  We waited about an hour, chatting with other race goers and families while the baby fought to eat hand fulls of pebbles the entire time.

By the time we saw him coming from a distance we were so exited to be done (I’m sure he felt the same way!).  I tried to get pictures, like I always do, and wasn’t able to get any (like always) and my husband lost about a minute off his time trying to convince the kids to cross the finish line with him, and only one was willing to play along!  We were all ready to tuck back into our little cabin for the night, so we headed back, ordered pizza and pasta and spent some time with another race family in the cabin next door.  The next morning we loaded our things into the van, said good bye to our cozy little cabin, and headed back home to get ready for another week.  Races are my husband’s thing, but really we all benefit: it’s an excuse to spend some time as a family and this time even take a little vacation.