"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"These Things I Remember ..."

I've long realized that I am wired in such a way that looking back serves to motivate me as much as, or more than, looking ahead. Whether it's with spiritual, physical, relational, or in any other 'al' area, I tend to reflect on past experiences in order to achieve future results. I don't dwell on the past, but I definitely don't forget the past.

That said, from this perspective it's no wonder that one of our recent small group studies, Psalms 42 & 43, really resonated with me. With a theme of spiritual despair, the psalmist offers his laments before God, then follows each with a message of hope. But what especially struck me was Psalm 42:4, which reads, "These things I remember, as I pour out my soul." In other words, when going through a difficult life situation, a time of spiritual depression, there is great benefit to recording the details, the emotions, the responses, the thoughts--pouring out the soul.  

One of the best ways to "pour out the soul" in way that can be remembered, is the discipline of journaling. Yes, I said journaling, please don't stop reading now (especially the men reading this), there's a good running lesson to follow!

Journaling can provide us with several blessings:

1) Journaling can stretch us and make us think more deeply on a situation. When we write out our thoughts--the good, the bad, and the ugly--we have more of an opportunity to come to grips with what life has thrown our way.

2) If you have ever kept a running log, then you know that journaling allows us to look back and learn. Sometimes I'll pull out logs from 10 or 15 years ago and I'm reminded of what worked, and what didn't work. I read one from 2002 the other day ... Felt tired, but finished 1 mile without stopping, feel better now. Goal of 1.5 tomorrow ... That one journal entry will motivate me more than any inspirational running video I could ever pull off the Runner's World website. When I'm tired, I know that I have run through it before. When I think of progress, I am grateful from where I have been. You get the idea. The same is true, and is much more important, with our spiritual journey. Remembering the good and the bad (and the ugly) will help us persevere down the road.

3) Just as journaling can help us to remember certain moments in time, it can also be used to help others overcome. In Psalm 51:13, David prays that his sinful ways might be used to teach others. In other words, what we are going through today might just be the journal entry that someone else will need to hear at some point in the future. Our trials, our blessings, our life lessons, can be shared if only we can remember them.

So, whether it's old school pen and paper, new school electronic document, or even starting your own blog site, I would highly encourage you to find ways to journal. You'll thank yourself later.

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