Now for the Big Kahuna. The one that tipped the scales.
In October 2015, I completed my first 70.3 mile half-iron distance triathlon. For those of you who don’t know, this is a 3 part endurance event where you swim, bike, and run one after the other. Covering a total of 70.3 miles. 1.2 mile swim in open water, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run (half-marathon). I went into training having just completed a marathon, so in post-marathon shape. And trained specifically for 8 months for this event. I thought if I could only get to the end of it I would be golden. For 8 months I trained very hard. So hard that I knew it would be less difficult than I expected. So my expectations for myself went from finishing, to having a time goal. It was very doable according to how I had trained.
I’m not a big believer in New Years’ Resolutions, but I do write out goals every year for my business and my personal life. Along with that, I ask the Lord for one word for the year. It’s been interesting how He uses that word in my life all year long. My word for this year is
We all have been invited to potlucks organized by local churches where food and much laughter can be punctuated with some awkward moments. Going to a potluck gathering can be challenging simply because you just never know what you are going to bite into. Everything looks different than what we are used to. For instance: what we are accustomed to when we think of an apple pie can look completely different from what someone else brought. It might have the same ingredients but it sure does not have the familiar look that we are so at ease with. It takes risk to dig into something so strange looking, making us feel like we are now venturing into an uncharted culinary territory, just as when Indiana Jones was staring down into the pit of snakes. But we have heard that building relationship takes risk, and so it is with potlucks.
Many attempts have been made to explain faith. Some more successful than others, but every single time I am left with a tragic sense of religious jargon mingled with some esoteric principles. I understand that describing something invisible isn’t something for the faint of heart. After all, faith isn’t tangible. It is not something you can put in a box with a label. Faith is more than a concept; it is more than a simple religious attitude toward a God we cannot see.
We all need friends.
"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Prov 18:24
Most of us have a circle of friends. Often times, our friends will have the same passions, be from the same socioeconomic backgrounds, and share our same interests. Some things may be slightly different, but for the most part our friends would think along the same lines as we do. After all, if our upbringing was from a conservative Christian environment, we probably wouldn't be close friends with an atheist, for example, for the simple reason of avoiding offenses against our beliefs.
All of us have experienced rejection, this evil emotion, to some degree. Some of us more than others. We hear of the "spirit of rejection." So think of rejection almost as an entity.
Rejection comes when we expect it the least, when our heart is not guarded. It sneaks up on us out of nowhere. Unfortunately, rejection often comes from the people we like or trust the most. Or does it? If only we were more like Jesus, we would be immune to it. Surely Jesus doesn't have issues with rejection, right?!
As it was the custom at the time, the political powers would present the crowd two prisoners to chose from. One would be set free of all charges against him. The other one would be condemned. This time one of them was falsely accused with fabricated arguments, while his counterpart was guilty on all counts.
The first known association with a baker’s dozen was in the thirteenth century when a law was instituted by King Henry III that produced severe penalties for bakers that would cheat their customers by selling under-weight bread (The Assize of Bread and Ale). The punishment for selling under-weight bread could be as severe as losing a hand to the executioner’s axe!
I love the way that a deep revelation of the truth can completely disarm irrational fears. God has a way of showing up with His truth and turning on the light, which leaves no place for darkness to reside.
“Yet I still dare to hope when I REMEMBER this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:21-24