In Hebrews 12:1 &2, the author urges his readers to "lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
In my reading this month, I have come across the following blogs that are challenging me in running my race well.
How do we run well?
1. Lay Aside the Weight of Accumulated Grief, Loss and Stress
When I was in Central Asia, I often didn't take time to grieve. I felt like I didn't have the energy. It seemed easier to just put one foot in front of the other. Then something new would happen, and my response was more emotional than it needed to be. I would be in tears for something that was not tear worthy. Because I didn't grieve the first loss, I was actually grieving them both in this new loss. Sometimes we haven't experienced loss but the stress we have everyday or the injustice we see daily around us begin to weigh heavy on us. These two ladies in their posts helped me understand more about accumulated grief, stress, injustice, and loss.
This last spring and summer, I am thankful that I had friends and time to process much of the loss, grief, and stress that had accumulated. But like anything it is an ongoing process to not let it build up again as I continue to live life overseas in Africa with its own challenges. Truthfully life anywhere is full of grief, loss, and stress.
2. Lay Aside the Weight of Too Many Words
My words often get me in trouble. Sometimes they are either hasty or not thought out. As I teacher, I need to be extra careful with my words. Six students hear every word I say and especially remember the ones I would rather they forget. I need to listen more and speak less. This is an ongoing battle for me, but one I need to keep fighting.
Jon Bloom speaks about this in his blog post: Listen More;Speak Less.
3. Lay Aside My Fear and Focus on Jesus
There are a lot of what if's in our world today. Along with that there is much fear of the future. Two years ago I remember feeling hope for the country where we served. The economy was doing better. The people turned out to vote for a promising candidate. In less than a year, that hope was gone. Attacks were up. People were still without jobs. As we prayed for Jesus to bring the people hope, we were reminded that true hope comes from him and him alone.
Now we as Americans are faced with an uncertain future. There is a lot of fear. In this post Carey gives 5 Predictions About the US Presidential Election. Some great reminders as we focus on Jesus in the days ahead.
4. Lay Aside our Agenda and Expectations as We Focus on Jesus.
One thing that has been difficult for me living overseas is the expectations I put on myself-what I think I should be doing or not doing. Daily, I need to refocus on what Jesus has for me and not be distracted by what others are doing. As the body of Christ, we each have our part.
This is more challenging during times of transition. I enjoyed this post about My Super Cross Cultural Cape. It wasn't like I loved wearing a headscarf, but somehow I felt lost for a few months after moving from Central Asia without my headscarf on my head. It was my identity, part of who I was in that place.
Lastly, I want my will to be aligned with God's. I would like to say I have this down pat. I am good to go. Sadly,my agenda too often seeps into what God has for me. Jon Bloom has some good thoughts on this in his post Align My Heart With Yours.
Do you relate to any of these weights? What weights are you needing to throw to the side as you run with endurance?