September 26, 2015

Going The Distance

Last week I did something I never thought I could do...I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville to Rock Harbor Marina. Now, I've never done any kind of runners' marathon before, nor have I ever had the desire to do so, but my love for stand up paddleboarding outweighed the lack of interest in a long distance effort.

Even though this event was not a race, it was a personal challenge since I have only ever paddled seven to eight miles at the most. In the days leading up to this long-distance paddle, I prepared physically with mileage building paddles, strengthening exercises, and muscle stretches. But I knew I also had to prepare spiritually and mentally for it. I had my small group praying for my safety and for strength. And I personally prayed for God's strength and for good conditions.

Despite the fact that our group had a head wind and little to no current to help carry us downstream faster, we did it in a lot shorter time than we expected. I figured it would take five to six hours, but I finished in four hours and 15 minutes! The weather was perfect. Temperatures were comfortable, yet there were sunny skies even though the forecast was for mostly clouds (I had prayed for sunshine!).

Not only was I surprised at how fast I completed the 16.4 miles, I was also surprised that I didn't start feeling tired until about mile 11. When the fatigue tried to set in, I just kept repeating to myself, "with Christ anything is possible," and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

With two miles left to go, I got my second wind. My muscles were hurting immediately after I finished. I thought for sure I would be sore the next day and would sleep like a rock that night. But, I tossed and turned from the adrenaline rush I was still on, and the next day I had only a little soreness in my triceps and my abs. I felt great!

In reflecting on the experience, I was trying to think what I would write for this post. Then I received from one of my clients a devotional that described just what I was feeling all that time out there on my board:

How Strong Are You?

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  (Philippians 4:13)

The small squirrel, scurrying like crazy to get out of our way on the walkway, was holding onto a good-sized pinecone.  He wasn’t about to lose his treasure! Amazing that he could grasp and drag something almost as large as he was. And how many times have you seen an ant picking up a crumb larger than itself?

We can work out, have great biceps and abs. We can exercise our brains and have great info and knowledge. But supernatural strength comes from the Lord, above and beyond our own abilities.

You are stronger than you think with God’s help and power behind you. It is good to know where our inner strength comes from and who gives us that gift.

So how strong are you? Very strong, in Christ. And that is good news!

You have the mind of Christ: 
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Phil 2:15) 
"'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." ( 1 Cor 2:16)

The Lord gives you wisdom: 
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  (James 1:5)

The Lord gives you strength: 
"It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."  (Psalm 18:32)    
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you." (Isaiah 41:10)
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." .(Isaiah 40:29)

The Lord gives you direction: 
"In all your ways acknowlege Him, and He will direct your paths."  (Proverbs 3:6)
"The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps."  (Proverbs 16:9)

In fact, 'greater things you will do’: 
"Very, verily I say unto you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."  (John 14:12)
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being."  (Ephesians 3:16)
"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." (1 Chronicles 16:11)

Inspirational Messages
Sally I. Kennedy ©2014