The things that cause the whirlwind life of Janel to slow down for a brief second: deaths, others needing help, a hot date with ice cream, and anything involving my family, co-workers, or The Darbster. That's really about it. The things that cause Janel to refocus as proven by history: deaths, motivational stories, break-ups, and heart-wrenching situations. Yeah, I know it. I've got problems. Just writing that out makes me sound super selfish. Why does it always take something life-changing to get my attention? Two words: routine freak. Running used to be the one thing I would do every single day aside from prayer. Would not even consider missing a day. I would get up at 4 am to fit one in or skip lunch to grab a quick session pounding the pavement. Running is not a bad thing. I will say this again for all of you who do not believe me or have said post-fibular-and-tibia-break "This is why I don't run" (Yes, you. Those snarky individuals...you know who I'm talking about... :))- RUNNING IS NOT A BAD THING. BUT when running can become a bad thing is when running takes the precedence over everything else in my life and becomes an obsession. Before this incident, I would have told you the following, "Running is my de-stress time. It's my time where I can get away, zone out to music, and pray. It sets the precedence for my day. It helps me focus and get my mind right." And while all of these things are true, here are the things that I would not have said, "Yes, I will skip my run to help you with something you need. Yes, I can easily not run today and be okay with it. Yes, running every day regardless of the circumstances or my health is fine. Yes, running is an idol. Yes, running sometimes does take precedence over God or other things that it shouldn't." OKAY. I get it, God. I get it. This was for sure a necessary incident. And do you know my first feeling when this break happened (welllll minus the initial pain, howamigonnagettothehospital, howamigonnastillwork, whydidinotwearmyyaktracks, whatintheworldiswrongwithme, whendiditgetsoicy, whyamianidiot, thankyoudearGodforsendingtheseladies, Ishouldhavebeenrunningwithmyphone, I'vegottaletthedarbsterout, ijustwantmydadormom), okay after I was hopped up on morphine laying in the hospital bed? Relief. Yup. I said it. 100% relief. The stress of fitting in a run each and every day just to say that I ran that day was something that had gone undetected on my radar until this incident. But there can be beauty in the breakdown and that is something that I have learned pretty quickly this time around. That and I'm an idiot. But mostly that God always has a lesson to teach me. Each and every day. And when I'm too busy trying to fit a workout in or obsessing over a run to serve others or share my apple with a homeless guy or see the beauty in the world around me or try to brighten someone else's day or to focus on seeing God's fingerprint in the details or to sit back and just LISTEN for once in my life (my family and friends will attest to the fact that sometimes this is not my strong point...I'm a serial skimmer when it comes to reading directions and listening to them) then I'm missing out on the point of life itself- BRINGING GLORY TO GOD. Yes, I am yelling this so the all caps were necessary.
So, I'm not saying running was an idol...okay, yes that is what I'm saying. And what I'm also saying is when you realize that you have an idol (doesn't have to be a golden statue or trophy although those are kind of neat) and you still refuse to give it up, God WILL break you. This is not a joke. It may not be a literal break like mine, but His will shall be done. Forever and always. Wow, that sounded super ominous, and it is. And you will be a better, more-rounded individual by letting Him take that from you while helping you to choose to put Him back at numero uno. In other news: there are things you can start doing today to make sure that He is priority number one...PRAY. Kind of a big deal. But an even bigger deal is step two: LISTEN. I know these sound simple, but do you know how many sermons I heard on idols and how many times I prayed for God to release me of these idols and allow me to solely follow Him? 78772374893207432974782478435923489013489023 times probably. Do you know how many times I didn't listen? 78772374893207432974782478435923489013489022. Yes, listening is key. It took a painful break and 7 weeks of inactivity for me to shut my mouth and let God do His thing. Why? Because I am stubborn and often bad at prioritizing and living in the here and now (yes, this was one of my resolutions...well, goals. I don't actually believe in resolutions).
Also- before you get to your breaking point there will be clues and hints along the way so, PAY ATTENTION. Yup, that means you. Open your eyes and be aware of your surroundings. They will start out as gentle nudges...a sermon here, a comment from a wise mentor there. Then they will become a little less gentle...Achilles tendonitis, a crazy busy day where it almost kills you to fit in a run but you're going to do it regardless. Then when you're still living with ear plugs in your ears and blinders on your face, God will completely throw gentle out the window and rock your world. I am not joking. This is real life. And sometimes that's exactly what it takes. That's what it took in my position because I am s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n to the max sometimes. Yes, I know this, parentalunitswhohaveputupwithmefor23yearsandcounting. And I've learned my lesson this time around, but here's the deal. There will always be lessons to learn. This will not be the last one. Because I am not dead. Nope, not even a little bit. BUT here's the positive thing: I get a chance to respond to the gentle nudges next time. I get a chance to learn a lesson before it escalates to WWIII inside my head. I get a chance to give it all up to God, raising my hands in surrender and learning exactly what He wants to teach me on the road map that He's fashioned while living in His will and enjoying His blessings. Just. For. Me.
I know this has been kind of long, but everyone who I've talked to since Christmas should know how much I'm in love with this devotional I've been reading each day: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. If you haven't seen it I AM TELLING YOU TO GET ON IT RIGHT NOW. This book has been so perfect for me. Each day has literally resonated with exactly how I'm feeling. I know. God's pretty awesome and pretty much in every detail ever. I just want to share a part of each of these passages with you:
- The day of the break, "Come to me and rest. I am all about you, to bless and restore. Breathe Me in with each breath. The way just ahead of you is very steep. Slow down and cling tightly to My hand (probably to avoid slipping on ice is what He meant ;)). I am teaching you a difficult lesson, learned only by hardship." Yup, should have listened on this day probably.
- Day 1 after the break, "Come to me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are BONE-WEARY (yeah, a break in the fibula and tibia? A tad bit bone weary). Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion (this is a big one for me. I tend to think I'm invincible and will keep going like the energizer bunny until I'm completely worn out.). Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life (Carrie Underwood said it best..."Jesus take the wheel!")". Seriously. How fitting.
- Day 2 after the break, "I am above all things: your problems, your pain, and the swirling events in this ever-changing world. When you behold My face, you rise above circumstances and rest with Me in heavenly realms, This is the way of Peace, living in the Light of My Presence. I guarantee you will always have problems in this life, but they must not become your focus." Along with this passage, I was reminded of the verses in Matthew 14: 28-32 "Peter suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come ahead." Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me." JESUS DID NOT HESITATE." Nor will He ever. Whether that's a broken bone that's going to heal, a broken heart that may take longer, or a broken life that feels like it will take an eternity. He'll be there through thick and thin and will get you to listen regardless of the circumstance or lesson He has in mind.