Bible, Christian Life, Doing Things Differently, God

Rest

Today’s devotion from the Girlfriends in God website was all about rest, and today I feel like God is telling me I should rest. The only problem is that this is usually me:

Well, I don’t mean a rest day from exercise, because I don’t exercise all that much.

And also this:

Arrgh! Why am I not reaching my goals?

But, I have been in those modes so long that my brain just won’t work anymore, it’s just running around in circles and I’m not actually accomplishing anything. I have two businesses and also my transcription work and the responsibilities of taking care of a husband and household, so there all those things to do daily. Add to that the other important things I would like to do (Bible study! Visit Mom and Dad! Serve at church! Hike! Lose weight! Read a book! WRITE a book! Declutter the house! Do the taxes!! Etc., etc.!) and my head is spinning with all of it. I’ve already scaled back my Mary Kay business because it just hasn’t been profitable for awhile, and I think for it to be profitable it would be a full-time job for me. I’d rather concentrate on my transcription work because it is profitable and a guaranteed income for the work that I do, whereas in sales you can put in a lot of work with little reward, it just depends on the day. And I have decided that I am just not that into meeting people and trying to sell them something. The Etsy store is easier because people come to me instead of me going out to people, but I’m also considering putting my Etsy store on hiatus. It really doesn’t need a lot of work though, so I’m waffling about that. I need to take about three days to list everything I have so I can just sit back and not think about it much.

I enjoy my transcription work and it is restful for me (not the subject matter necessarily, I type mostly criminal trial stuff, but I really enjoy the typing itself). It is very interesting and I hope to be able to continue it for many years to come.

On Day 7 of the week of Creation, God rested. If God rested, who are we to say we should just keep going no matter what? So today I am going to be still, and know that He is God (and I am not).

Image from GreatGraceUnited on Etsy – click image to go to site.
Bible, Christian Life, Memories

Words

I showed this lovely watercolor print from Etsy on my last post, and decided to go ahead and purchase the digital files. It printed out perfectly on white cardstock paper and I put it in this frame I already had on the wall that originally had a different verse in it. The colors match my office decor and the 4:5 print size fit just right in the frame. Now I have two things at my desk to remind me of my word of the year. You can never have too many reminders!

The girls in the pictures are me when I was young. They are there to remind me of many things.

I also have this verse excerpt up on the wall across from my computer so I can see it every day. It was a digital download from Etsy as well. There was this pink one and also a more masculine version in blue and brown. You can really find just about anything you want on Etsy and the prices are so reasonable for the digital downloads, and you usually get a variety of sizes for printing, I have just a regular printer (not photo-specific) and the designs come out looking great.

You may have seen this picture of my desk in one of my recent posts, I am a “word person” so I have a lot of words on my desk to bring things to my remembrance. Mom bought the little verse “box” at the left of the photo for many of us for Christmas, it contains a number of cards with scripture verses on them that you can change from day to day. The hand-lettered “chalkboard” verse is Isaiah 43:18-19a from The Message paraphrase Bible, and says “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” I actually found this at a thrift store right at a time that I needed to know that God was going to do something new in my life 😊 Words are important to God, and I am glad He gave us so many of them!

Bible, Christian Life, Health, Life

Reflection

Since our PCT thru-hike attempt and our subsequent Oregon section attempt, I’ve been reflecting on the purpose of it and what I should do now. I spent most of my non-work time for seven years planning for our thru-hike and thinking about it every day, and now I sort of feel like I’m in limbo. I haven’t thought of another BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, as my parents’ pastor puts it) to plan for and right now I’m just not doing much at all.

We weren’t able to conquer last time. But shouldn’t I be doing this? And better still, SHOULDN’T I BE DOING IT IN CAPITAL LETTERS?

I like to be productive, and while I get my eight or nine hours of sleep a night (early to bed, early to rise!) when I’m awake I prefer to be accomplishing something. So I keep asking God, “What are you calling me to do? What’s the next thing? What thing should I be planning for now?”

Seriously, I completely, totally do.

Something I’ve noticed recently is that I’m just tired. I’m not a super high-energy person generally, but I seem to feel more regularly tired than I did before our hiking attempts. After our four-mile beach walk on Saturday I came home much more weary than I should have been. I couldn’t get going on any other projects even though we got home early in the day.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what God wants me to do next, and what I’m sensing is that I should rest, take a sabbatical (a break or change from normal routine) from planning. I really enjoy planning, so I’m constantly running over things in my mind. I’m the one who starts packing a month before the trip, ha. Rest is defined as “peace, ease or refreshment.” My brain has been on one track for so long, I think it really needs that refreshment. I will plan for small things like holidays, and will rest from planning big things like thru-hikes. I will be able to put more energy into serving at church, studying God’s Word, dealing with some health-related issues, and reading more books. I will still do my transcription work, but will more available to others. I will endeavor to learn how to trust and hope in God completely. I will be able to put my heart into all these things more than I did when I had a big event constantly on my mind. I look forward to wisdom gained and strength renewed!

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Bible, Christian Life, God, hiking, Life, Things I've Learned

Running

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14

These passages have been hard for me to get through my head, and I’ll tell you why. I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. The Sis and The Sis-In-Law and the rest of our friends were on the track team, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Because I wasn’t fast enough to run sprints and couldn’t run for long enough to do the longer races, I ran the 400 meter race. (I am told now it’s one of the hardest races to run. Thanks for letting me know then, track coach (not).) Turns out I am just a very slow runner, and I lost every single race. I mean, I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race. I went to every practice and every meet, but since I wasn’t one of the winning team members the coaches pretty much ignored me and didn’t give me any pointers. When it was time to give out awards, I really hoped that I could get a letter just because I tried as hard as I could and ran every race regardless of my lack of talent and subsequent embarrassment, but you only got a letter if you received a certain number of points and that meant you had to win events. (Our school didn’t offer letters in choir. If they had, I totally would have gotten all the letters.)

Hebrews 12:1 talks about running with endurance, and Philippians 3:14 talks about winning the prize. Well, I ran but I didn’t have much endurance (hence my not being able to run the longer races), and I never won a prize. The only competition I’ve ever won on my own was a spelling competition in middle school, and then when it came to the bigger contest I didn’t come close to winning that one. Not being a competitive person by nature, I don’t enter contests if I know I will be competing directly against others. I don’t like competition. I mean, I enjoy winning but really don’t have confidence that I will.

So I have always been rather flummoxed when reading these Bible passages about running and winning, since now I can’t even run at all (Well, I can run half a block. Then I have to stop because I can’t breathe. Ow. Running hurts.) and I have never been good enough at anything to win any important competitions. And I am not that great at pressing on toward goals I set for myself, so there’s also that.

I have decided, however, to replace “run” with “hike” in my thinking. I can hike with perseverance and reach the hiking goal, so that speaks to me better then the idea of running. I have reached many summits (though not any 14ers, but then I haven’t tried) and have only had to turn around a couple of times, mostly because of sketchy snow on the trail. This gives me hope that although I will never be like Jesus completely, I can move forward and become more like Him as I hike through life. I’m a slow hiker, but I get places.

Me on a summit

Obviously there is so much more to these scriptures, but that is for another post!

Backpacking, Bible, Christian Life

Psalm 91

Did you know there is a psalm in the Bible specifically written for hiking? Well…not exactly, but it is a great comfort to me as we go on our backpacking trips. 😁 (I added the words in parentheses.)

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
(being trapped)
    and from the deadly pestilence (ticks, norovirus, etc.)
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield
(protection) and rampart (a protective barrier).
You will not fear the terror of night (bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes),
    nor the arrow that flies by day (humans),
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone
.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra ;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent
(mountain lion, rattlesnake).

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The psalmist probably didn’t have in mind those things I put in parentheses (or who knows? Maybe at some point he did!) My parentheses are a bit whimsical, but protection from bears, mountain lions, snakes, disaster near my tent, humans who wish to do me harm, striking my foot against a stone? Awesome!! But we don’t want to miss that the whole of Psalm 91 concentrates on the power of God and His willingness to care for those who love Him. Note these paragraphs from Debbie McDaniel:

“This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness and power of God. Great reminders that He faithfully works on behalf of those who love Him.  And at the end of it all, God gives 8 reasons of why we do not have to fear.

He promises: ‘Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’ Psalm 91:14-16

Psalm 91‘s Promises from God

  • “I will rescue him…” (deliver, cause to escape)
  • “I will protect him…” (set him on a high place)
  • “I will answer him…” (respond to, speak)
  • “I will be with him in trouble…” (in afflictions, in distress)
  • “I will deliver him…” (rescue, to bring into safety)
  • “and honor him…” (to make rich, strong, heavy with honor)
  • “With long life will I satisfy him…” (to have abundance in the journey)
  • “and show him my salvation.” (let him see my deliverance & victory)”

We see from this psalm that God is always there with those who love Him. We can take these promises to heart. It doesn’t mean that Christians will never have anything bad happen to them, but that God will be there through it all, and we can be assured that He is completely in control!