Monday, March 29, 2010


I can't stand treadmills. I've never had a liking for them, even since my healthy obsession with working out has developed, the treadmill is not my thing. When Neal and I were out of town for the weekend a few weeks ago I broke down and used the treadmill at our hotel out of desperation, but even as a fan of working out, I did not care for the treadmill.

I will admit that the companies that manufacture treadmills have done their best to increase the treadmill appeal, they've added TVs and iPod docs, but for me the bottom line remains the same, it's a lot of hard work and effort, but you never get anywhere. You run and you run, and you never move an inch... I hate it.

So here's the thing, I've been feeling like I am chained to a treadmill in life lately. I feel like I run and I run, and I never seem to move an inch.

I feel stuck. Oh what an ugly thing feelings can be. They can be so strong and powerful and they don't even have to be based in any reality at all. And right now, mine are raising their ugly heads, and I feel like I am shackled to a treadmill.

A little over a week ago I felt like I had this epiphany. "Seek Me." I heard the Lord say it. I know it was Him, and then the problem arose. I don't really know what He meant by that, or how I'm actually supposed to do it. I just don't know.

I think about the Lord all the time. Everything I do is immediately filtered into that relationship above all else. I wonder if I am pleasing Him or grieving His heart. When I know I have failed Him, I worry about His anger, I wonder if He'll forgive me. In my head, in the knowledge on Him and His word, I know the answers, but in the moments of the day, I wonder. He's on my mind all the time. So obviously, that's not what He meant when He said, "Seek Me," because when I heard Him speak, I knew He was calling me to a next step, or a new step... I knew it was more than the status quo.

In the moment that I heard it, it brought peace, excitement and anticipation, it brought hope. It was as though for a moment, I was off the treadmill and actually running. For an instant, I actually felt like I was going somewhere. Now I just feel like I'm on the treadmill, and it's not even running anymore, but I still don't know how to get off of it.

Unlike my disdain for the treadmill, I adore a good long walk. A couple weeks ago I took a really nice long walk. I set off without any predetermined destination, without any timetable, and I just walked. It ended up being a walk down memory lane. I walked past the field where I graduated high school, and I walked past the house where I had my first off the block sleepover. I ended up text messaging with a friend from my childhood and just enjoying the memories on the journey. It was a great walk, because I knew however far a I walked from home, I was only half way there. No matter how far I might decide to walk, I still had the journey home ahead. I loved it. And 2 hours and 5 miles later, I was really proud, and had really enjoyed the journey.

Last week I took another walk. It wasn't round trip, it was one way. Unlike the first walk I knew exactly where I was headed, I was walking to church for our midweek evening service. It was a great walk, I had a goal and a purpose, and I was doing my best to make it the best walk I could, watching my time, striving to meet my goals, and when I had, I had a great sense of accomplishment, and I was proud.

I like those feelings, pride, purpose, accomplishment. I like them not only on my walks, but in my life. But the truth is, it's been a while since I have felt them in my life beyond my walks and my new found passion for exercise. And I feel like I am getting to the point where just little moments of those feelings aren't enough for me.

...for me... Maybe that's my problem, it isn't really all about me. And yet I know my motivations are not completely corrupt. It's hard to be stuck on the treadmill when you know you have been called to greater things. When you've had those moments, those experiences of accomplishment, the sense of fulfilling your purpose. They can become addictive. But is it a bad thing to want to be used in your gifts? Is it wrong to want to fulfill your purpose? I honestly don't know, I think the line is fine between it being about me and my purpose, or my purpose and God.

As I sit here rambling on (very treadmill like) taking inventory of my life, my job, my ministry, or lack there of, my mind keeps wandering back to the purpose of the treadmill... strength and endurance are built there.

This weekend my hubby and I were ambling. It was my 40th birthday, and what I decided I wanted to do on the actual day was just hang out with the people I love. So we took the kids and went to the dollar movies and then wandered all the way around the mall. When we found ourselves alongside a blood pressure station where you could take your own blood pressure, and my hubby recommended I do. I was super excited when I did too. Not so long ago my blood pressure and pulse had been getting pretty high. And I was blown away when I took it there in the mall and discovered both had improved significantly.

Today I was sharing with a friend a little of my frustrations and she brought up the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert. She said something to the effect of the purpose of that time was for God to make them "something better" but they missed the opportunity by focusing only on their circumstances and grumbling their way through the process.

They are words I need to heed, because as unhappy as I am to feel stuck on the treadmill, or to be wandering in the desert if you will, I certainly don't want to miss the promised land altogether by complaining rather than growing. I'd much rather press on, and then suddenly discover one day that somehow along the way I have become better, a better believer, a better person, a better steward of the very gifts I find myself frustrated in.

So though the treadmill may not hold the exhilaration or accomplishment of a good purposed walk, or even the sense of adventure of an open-ended journey, I must trust that the Lord will bring forth fruit in persistence, and somehow accomplish His purpose in my life, if I can keep my eyes on Him, and let him plot the steps, even when they seem to be on the treadmill.

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