Braids of Friendship

Today completes the first week in Peak313 Fitness’s Living & Active Challenge and I completed it in full! That includes 4 workouts of at least 25 minutes (running on Tuesday, gym on Thursday, 30 Day Shred on Saturday, and running/walking today) and memorizing Ecclesiastes 4:12:

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Yep, got that too 🙂

What was most fun about it was that I only did one workout by myself. The others were with friends (and dear Sisters), who motivated me much more than had I been on my own. We have good accountability going and I really want to keep this up for longer than the 5 weeks the challenge goes for.

And while it was great to have such support from some of my closest girlfriends in regards to health & fitness; even greater is the fellowship (koinonia, if you will) that we share in Christ. The verse was really a perfect fit and not just for establishing the accountability of this challenge, but also for realizing the blessing of it’s meaning.

It started on Monday (as many working weeks do). I read the challenge and devotional. I well knew that I am much stronger with help from the people God has blessed me with in this life. I was even having a “down day” and thought to myself, “Kellie, you’ve just read how much better it is to rely on others, to pull from their strength when you are weak by yourself. You are about to make a rather unhealthy choice (aka junk food for dinner). Perhaps you should call up a Sister, talk it through, and make a better choice.” Did I?

Nope.

We all have instances when we ignore the very good & solid advice given to us by the Holy Spirit. And then we have to suffer the consequences. Man did I feel horrible the following morning.

And that was something seemingly little. I do (and am happy to admit) reach out to others when things seem crazy & out of control. When I seem crazy & out of control. With a fellow believer in Christ, I am able to reason things out, talk things through, and really focus on how God would have me respond in certain situations. And that is exactly the point.

We were not made to live this life alone.

Did you get that?

We were not made to live this life alone.

Imagine if you had to navigate this life as a new believer with no mentor or fellow believer by your side. While it would not be impossible (for you would have the Living God inside you), it might get lonely. And let’s be honest, how often do you turn to a fellow believer who then guides you to God’s Word, instead of just going there in the first place? I’ve done it more times than I could count. And there’s something to be said for that human relationship. God gets that, because get this – He created us. Not only that but He spent 33 years living as one of us.

As we share parts of ourselves with fellow believers, and they with us, our lives become intertwined. This is where the koinonia comes in. That is the Greek word that is most often translated into the word fellowship in the Bible; being with those who are like-minded, sharing with them, being accountable to them, and loving them with the love of Christ.

When we do these things we form bonds that are not easily severed. With Christ as our center, the one thing we all have in common, the strands of our lives wrap around each other. One strand can be quickly broken, overpowered. Two strands might take a bit longer. Three or more stands and you have yourself the beginning of a rope that is strong when tugged upon and won’t fray quickly.

I experienced that a lot, but the verse this week really put it into perspective. Whether I am struggling with healthy choices of food, frustration at work, hopelessness in relationships (or lack thereof), or trying to figure out just exactly what God is doing (though we are never quite sure with that one), I know God has blessed me with numerous friends I can turn to. They never fail to share with me His wisdom, help me find what is says in His Word, or pray for me to be in His will for my life.

Could I do it without them? It sure would be hard. Would I want to? Most definitely not. I thank God for them often, though probably not as often as I should. I cannot count the times they have talked me down from ledges (figuratively, of course), helped pick me up out of pits, and walked beside me on this narrow road. Thank you to you all – I have no doubt you know who you are.

Do you have more than two friends who are believers? More than 10? Image how strong that rope is! Think of that the next time you feel stuck and don’t know where to turn. God has placed these people in your life to help you through the hard times so you will not be overpowered. A thick rope can bear so much more weight than a skinny one. And with it evenly distributed, not much weight is felt at all.

Here is to the blessing of friendships from God! May you be able to call upon them when you need them, and be there when one is in need. And, of course, Week 2 of the Living & Active Challenge!

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Much Needed Motivation

As a lot of you know, I plan to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2016. I’m at the point now where I really need to start training right and see how my body reacts to the craziness that much running will put it through. I was excited when I saw this post from Peak 313 Fitness. Clare is hosting a 5 week “Living and Active” challenge that focuses on just that, living & being active 🙂 Starting next Monday, September 29, the challenge goals for each week are to work out 4 times (for at least 25 minutes) and memorize a key Bible verse. The community it offers is great for accountability, but I’m going to ask some friends to help me out on this one too. If you want to join, follow the link above and let me know! I plan to post something about it every week.

I go in late for work tomorrow, so I’m starting my prep week with a run – hoping to get at least 3 in to build up to the 4 the following week. I am ready and the time to do this is now!

I hope you’ll join me!

Love & Blessings,

KJ

All Things New

A year has come and gone and I’ve done what most of us have; reflected on what was accomplished in those 365 days and found areas that could still use some improvement.

One big goal I have accomplished this past year is losing weight & actually keeping it off. Every year for at least the past 10 I have said I would do this when it’s time for making resolutions, but the resolve was just never there. In 2013 I started running, and I have a spectacular running buddy (though we are on a kind of hiatus for these really cold winter months), and, by the grace of God, we are getting fit and feeling good. Which does beat out losing weight (though it is nice to start buying smaller sizes). In this year, my goal in the fitness department is to keep going. It’s actually kicking off tomorrow with a trip to the gym before work in the morning. I’m going to keep running, getting fit, losing weight, and ultimately train for a half marathon that will take place in 2016. My friend, Johanna, had this crazy idea for us to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon when she gets out of the Peace Corps. I ran two 5ks last year; surely, by 2016, I can work my way up to 13 miles…And what better way to do it than to have Disney cast members cheering you on? It’s hard to see it actually happening, but if you would have told me a year ago that I would be able to run a 5k, it would have been just as unbelievable. 

Another area that I have grown greatly is in my faith. This is, by far, the most awesome thing. Words cannot describe it accurately except to say that I feel so much more secure in who I am in Christ. A new creation. A joint heir. God’s workmanship. It is truly amazing to think about & one thing I am going to do better this year is make the time to think about this, to talk with and praise God for this, and not get so caught up in the day to day junk that I completely dismiss the One who gets me through each day whether I acknowledge Him or not.

The message in church this morning spoke, so loudly, to this rekindled faith of mine that I cannot help but share it. Pastor just showed the title of it on the screen and I knew I was in for it. I made up my mind that I didn’t want to hear it and it would be too hard. Maybe someone else in the room would hear what he was saying and think of deep desires I had shared and think of how pathetic it all sounds. His title, you ask? A Love Worth Longing For.

If you know me, or have read my blog from the start, you know there is one thing I struggle with above everything else in this life; the fact that I am still “on my own” in a world where my sisters, friends, cousins, coworkers; everyone else but me, it seems; has gotten married and are happily starting their families. While this is not a thought in my mind every second of every day, it is something that I think about and is definitely a button of mine the Devil likes to push as he roams this world. I would be lying if I said I have never looked on these relationships of my friends & family with envy. It is something I long for, a kind of love I long for, and so when Pastor began his sermon asking about the kinds of relationship people might envy, I did not really want to hear anything that was coming next.

But I’m glad I did.

The message focused on John 17:20-26, the end of Jesus’ high priestly prayer right before He was arrested. I’m sure I have read through this section before, but new things were brought to my attention this time around. the first being in verse 20:

“My prayer is not for them [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Do you see that? “Those who will believe in me.” Jesus prayed for all of us who come to believe in Him through the message of the Gospel. How amazing is that to know that the Lord of all creation has prayed for you!

Jesus goes on to pray that the disciples, and indeed all believers, would be unified as one, so they/we might show the world the love of God, knowing that God’s love for us is the same as His love for Jesus.

Through this walk of faith of mine, I have not much doubted God’s love. It’s what first drew me in, finding out there was One who loved me so completely. And while I think of it time to time, especially when I think of the great ways He has blessed me and how much He must love me to do so; or how about the fact that He sent His Son to die for me? Yes, I know God loves me, but what was said today about it all makes me see it differently.

So while I have been fighting with being envious of my friends and family who have these amazing relationships; who have found their “perfect match,” that perspective was turned on its head a little today – I realized that a relationship I have, am a part of, is worthy of longing for as well. I actually have something others look longingly for, usually not knowing what it is. I possess something that good – the love of Christ and my relationship with Him. I’m not sure I will ever look at this the same again, or ever be so quick to be envious of a relationship that I don’t have – I have something amazingly better. It’s hard to keep in the forefront of my mind because there is no physical person always by my side, who shares my home, my life, my bed; but this relationship will never fade away. No matter how I might want to run from it or decide I’m unworthy of it – because I am – He finds me, His grace finds me and He delights in me. I am His and He is mine, and nothing can change that. Ever.

And I feel made new all over again. I have a Love worth longing for. I pray you do as well.

Love & Blessings,

KJ