When difficulties buffet, I fight to focus on truth.
"Finally, brethern, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
I have recently been saddened by concerns for some of our children, financial stresses, the added workload of getting our large family ready for a vacation, a new school year looming and me not feeling prepared. In addition, we have been counseling older children as they prepare for college and careers, and I have spent what feels like an inordinate amount of time encouraging good attitudes as the children relate to each other here.
On other fronts, my beloved bike needed a new chain and, as it turns out, new rear cassette as well. Now I actually like math, but even after reading and studying the math involved in determining what cassette would be best for me as I prepare for my half-IM race in Branson this September, I felt like a complete idiot. This particular bike course is known to be the most difficult one on the 70.3 circuit, so I wanted to be sure to make a good choice 'cause I'll need all the help I can get climbing those Ozark mountain "hills" in Southern Missouri.
Jacob is currently working part time in a local bike store, so I took my bike in there to see if they could explain to me what would be my best option. Now there is the possibility that I was simply having a bad day, but the explanation given to me made me feel, if possible, even more stupid than I did when I went in. sigh. It is at times like that that I feel like anyone who is watching me train for this triathlon is shouting "Poser!" and snickering at me for even wanting to try to accomplish this goal. I mean, seriously, an almost 50-year-old mother of a dozen children training for a half-Ironman triathlon?!! What on earth could I possibly be thinking?
I have realized though, that I can't not do any of these things. The homeschooling, caring for children, triathlon training, etc are not things that I do, they are who I am. I can no more turn my back on those things than I can forego eating or breathing. The day will come when I will be "finished" home educating our children, or when I will no longer be able to swim, bike or run, but that day has not yet arrived. For now I am compelled to do these things~ to God's glory.
Eric Liddle, who won the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 1924 Paris Olympics said, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure." (If you are reading this in an email, or reader, click through to my blog to see the following clip from the 1981 movie "Chariots of Fire")
To be quite clear, I am not fast, but I am persistant and I am committed to doing, with excellence, all that God calls me to do.
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the price? run in such a way that you may win."
I Cor. 9:24
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
I Cor. 10:31
I battle discouragement, just like everyone else, and I too must consciously choose to focus on truth. Some of my favorite tried and true weapons in the discouragement scrimmage:
- listening to God's Word (Daily Audio Bible)
- listing the many ways that I am blessed (adding to my thankfulness journal)
- taking camera in hand in search of beauty
- playing with the children
- wearing myself out with a nice long bike ride (or run or swim!)
- singing to the (at times loud) music in our kitchen as we cook
- working in my garden
- taking a nap!
- adding photos to our Project Life album~ visible proof of God's faithfulness and goodness in our family's life
How about you? What do you do to battle discouragement and stay persistently faithful to what you are called to do?