when your focus shifts

i love it when i feel something change in me. especially when it's a mental change. a shift in my thought process that makes me feel like i've changed for the better....and it's been happening more and more lately.

this causes two thoughts:
1.) praise God that He is stretching me to grow more and learn to show Jesus to more and more people
2.) man i feel dumb when i learn some stuff. like when i learn something i feel like i should've learned years ago. has that ever happened to you?

i just finished reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge which was recommended by a friend. it was a really great read. lately i've been becoming obsessed with the idea of pushing away all of  the "religious" junk the world loves to rave about and focusing on loving Jesus, showing Jesus, and trying to be more like Jesus. books like Beautiful Outlaw have been helping me move towards these goals.

as you may or may not know, my first triathlon is just NINE days out. luckily, i've been able to finally get in some open water swim sessions and feel a little more comfortable with the swim start. i haven't been able to get in the mileage i'd like to be getting on the bike, but i still feel comfortable with the 24 mile distance i'll need to cover. although i'm pretty worry-free about the run i'm still a little anxious to be doing the 5k after the swim and bike.

...and that's where my latest mental change comes in: the idea of allowing God to be a part of 100% of my life. literally....100%. not just a part of my job, my Church, my friends and family, my bad days and what i read. this is a big struggle i have been facing. it's easy for me to give God control of certain things in my life, but when it comes to things i feel like i may have better control over....or just don't trust anyone else's mine and i'm in control. i keep reserving God's involvement for more "religious" moments, days when i'm in need, or when i need to help someone. the problem with that way of thinking is i'm leaving God out of big areas of my day to day life; such as training or my fitness in general. i'm leaving God out and it's just setting me up to fail. the irony here is that i don't like to fail. in fact...i despise failing. i don't even like to watch others fail! so why would i go about doing things that are just setting me up to fail!?!

one of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13 which says this, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." i feel like Paul was a runner. the endurance he possessed as he lived his life for God in EVERY way is inspiring. mainly because of the turnaround he had in his life (from saul to paul) and the fact he was just a regular dude living as much like Jesus as possible. what i learned/realized recently is that verse does not say "I can do 'a lot of things' through Him who gives me strength." it says 'EVERYTHING' and that to me is motivating and encouraging! that verse takes on a whole new meaning to me now that i am reading/comprehending it correctly. with that kind of strength available to me why would i chose to leave God out of any area of life?

here's an excerpt from Beautiful Outlaw:
    "By the way, this is the point of encountering those things in your life you cannot handle -- you are forced to turn to Christ. Did you really think you could be kind for the rest of your life without the inner help of Jesus? One day of kindness is a miracle. What about forgiving? Generous? Honest? Did you really think you could overcome your lifelong strongholds without some sort of Lazarus-like breakthrough? It simply isn't going to happen -- not without the life of Jesus in you.
    This realization was an epiphany for me.
    I have spent most of my adult years trying to find those keys that would enable people to become whole. Like an archaeologist raking for buried treasure, I've combed through the province of counseling, spiritual discipline, inner healing, deliverance, addiction recovery -- anything that would help me get others get better. Like Schliemann when his shovel struck the buried ruins of Troy, the epiphany I have come to is this:
    Jesus has no intention of letting you become whole apart from his moment-to-moment presence and life within you.
    Your brokenness and your sin are not something you overcome so that you can walk with God. They are the occasions for you to cry out for the life of God in you to rescue you. Not God outside you, up in the sky somewhere. Christ in you, your only hope of glory."