Wednesday, October 15, 2008

He chose the nails

Last month, I did something that I have never, ever, in all of my 38 years done (by choice.) I went to the track at the high school up the street to RUN! Yah, no kidding.

You see, for all of my life I have been adverse to exercise and athletics—just not my thing. Actually, I think I've always wanted to, but never quite knew how. Sounds ridiculous now that I write that. :-) Ah, hindsight.

Anyhow, God has been doing some amazing work in me lately. He's been putting desires in my heart that are new and incredibly exciting.

For those of you who read my "6 things" when I got tagged "it," I shared that I want to be a long-distance runner. Wow; that's totally new to me. Now that I've laid down so many of my emotional burdens, I'm ready to let go of all of the physical burdens I have been carrying for far too long. :-)

So, that's how I ended up at the track on Saturday morning. I realized that in order for my dreams to come true, I needed to begin to actively pursue them. Wouldn't you know, God used that hour to minister to my heart while I ran? The time went by so fast and His words and insights just kept flowing.

Over the summer, the high school put in a new football field in the center of the track. On the day I ran, the left-overs from the job were scattered all over the track lanes.

At first I ran or jumped over the various pieces of turf, tools and whatnot. As I did, however, I felt God speaking to my spirit about my life and how there are roadblocks in the way of places I want to "go." Rather than run around or jump over them, I felt led to actually pick them up and move them.

It was symbolic, of course, but as I did I could feel more burdens being lifted and removed. God was showing me that if I really desired to get healthy (mind, heart, body and soul), then I needed to stop avoiding the issues and face them head on. Wow.

While I ran, I was listening to my favorite Pocket Full of Rocks CD. "This is the Life" was one song that really spoke to me:

"If I could I'd sing a million songs to worship You
If I could I'd bow a million times to honor You
Given an eternity, I might But here and now,
I'll try with all my might
This is the life You give me
and it's the life I give back to You
Now and forever I live it just for You
My lips will declare Your glory,
and my dance will be of Your love
The work of my hands will ever honor You
If I could I'd sing a million songs to worship You
And if I could I'd bow a million times to honor You
Given all eternity, I might But here and now,
I'll try with all my might"

The entire CD is really powerful. Love the lyrics. The group's name, incidentally, is taken from the story of David and Goliath. The CD cover shows a little boy with a sling shot. How cool is that? :-)

While I was running, I noticed a 3-inch nail and picked it up. It reminded me of a Good Friday church service I had attended years ago. We were given similar nails to hold and ponder what Jesus might have gone through on the night He was crucified. As I ran, I pressed my thumb against the sharp tip and did just that. I imagined how much the nails must have hurt.


The title of Max Lucado's book, He Chose the Nails came to mind. He chose to suffer. He chose death. And He did it just for me (and YOU.) I am eternally grateful for what Christ did on my behalf, and yet, I still struggle to fully grasp what all of it means.

I thought about getting my body healthy and in shape and the struggle that it's been to do so. I thought about how easily I have given up in the past and all of the yuck that followed after. I felt spurred on by what my Savior did so many years ago. He chose the hard way and I was ready to do the same.

No, my choice would not nearly have the same ramifications as His did. Nor would my discomfort compare in the slightest to the pain and torture He endured. And yet, I felt inspired and compelled to follow His example and choose the nails. To finally put to death all of the shame, sadness, bitterness, wounding and denial I had been living in for so long. As I thought and prayed, I pressed my thumb firmly against the tip of the nail.

And then, as I rounded the track one more time, I saw it. Lying underneath another piece of discarded turf in lane one was a nine-inch spike. I started to cry as soon as I saw it.

It was probably closer to what nailed my Savior to the cross. God had been whispering to my spirit, spurring me on both physically and emotionally. I can't even begin to articulate all that the two of us "conversed" about, but it went deep into my soul.

It was as if He were checking my motives and raising the stakes. I could almost hear Him say, "Child, would you choose THIS nail?"

"YES." I answered emphatically. "Yes, Lord. I choose hard. I choose You. I choose Your way. I choose to go all the way. THIS time I am not giving up or turning back. THIS time I'm committed 100%. I can't do it without you, God, but I CAN do it with you. I'm ready."

So, I picked up the spike and RAN. I ran from my past. I ran from my mistakes. I ran from my sins. I ran from death.

I ran to my Creator.
I ran to my future.
I ran to freedom.
I ran to joy.
I ran to victory.
I ran to LIFE.

Instead of the nail and spike in my hands, I felt my King grab my hand and run with me.

And wouldn't you know, for the first time EVER, I have experienced amazing breakthrough???

I'm now waking up most days at 5 am to spend time with the Lord.
Six days a week I'm working out and absolutely LOVING it.
I'm choosing healthy foods to fuel my body rather than numb my pain.
My body is stronger and the aches and pains are disappearing.

I'm also 29 pounds lighter and that much closer to my goal—complete physical, emotional and spiritual health! It feels so incredibly good.

God is SO good. He's helping me to stop living by my emotions and what I "feel" like doing (or not doing.) He's teaching me that the harder way is by far the more enjoyable and exciting way.

For the first time in my life I feel connected to who I am. I'm no longer afraid to face the demons and fears that used to keep me in bondage.

I'm able to enjoy who I am today—knowing that God's not done with me yet. I'm able to live in the present, rather than be stuck in the mire of the past. God is helping me to accept His divine love for me, which then inspires me to take better care of myself and those I love.

What a spectacular adventure this is! I pray that whatever roadblocks are in your way today, that God will give you the courage to face them head on and move them with His power and grace.

The solution is always so simple—surrender—and yet our fears and worries make it seem like the worst possible choice. Trust Him. He knows you. He loves you. He died for you.

You have to make the choice and choose to move, but, He will meet you there and do it WITH you. What a glorious place to be.

May you fully embrace LIVING A BLESSED LIFE today!!!

With hope & joy,

17 comments:

Beth said...

With tears in my eyes! What a solemn reminder of what my Saviour did for me. My sin nailed Him to that cross. His grace and mercy gave me a way out of the muck to a glorious life with Him.

Kudos to you and the commitment to a healthy you-body, mind, and spirit.

Love from TX to OR

Tonya said...

This was my favorite post so far. You are amazing, and YOU MUST WRITE!! I love your style, and I love your honesty.

I'm sooooo proud of you for running and for losing 29 pds. That is a tremendous achievement.

I'm so blessed and thankful that God put us together!!

Tonya

Denise said...

Whew...what a beautiful, thought provoking post. "The solution is always so simple—surrender—and yet our fears and worries make it seem like the worst possible choice." ---how true! We always make it more difficult than it truly has to be. Because of an injury, I had a hiatus in my running routine that has continued on well past recovery! Thank you for the encouragement to get out there again! Blessings to you!

Kimberly said...

Oh, my! What a tremendously powerful post! He has been speaking to my heart as well recently about doing the hard things...the things I avoid out of fear and a myriad of excuses. But am I willing to choose the nail? Oh, this will stick with me!

I am so glad you came by my place!
I leave here blessed! Thank you!
And way to go on your weight loss! I know you are giving God all of the glory...and that makes it even better!
Blessings,
K

Dawn said...

Amy,
Your words spoke worlds to me!!! What a post I needed to read... fills me with complete emotion and how I need to leave everything to my precious Lord and He will get me through anything, and NO it will not always be easy!!! But with God on my side, anything is possible...
AND, you go girl!!! I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished. I am blessed by you today and always!
Love you
DD

Amie@HeartSmiles said...

WOW!!! What a POWERFUL post! I had tears in my eyes! Definitly spoke to my heart. Thanks for sharing yours!

:)
Amie
www.heart-smiles.blogspot.com

new every morning said...

Wow. How profound!!!
You have an amazing gift of writing.

Blessings to you!

Sandy Toes said...

What a great post! When I read things like this...it is just so convicting..my blog is just fluff...but this can make a difference in a life!!

Your blog is so cute...love it!
-Sandy Toes

Jill said...

Great words and a wonderful example. Thanks for your words on my post as well. I pray you continue to embrace the blessed life he has to offer. On the journey with you, Jill

Jenny said...

Way to go! I loved your post and seeing how God is able to talk to us in so many different ways!

Jen

Tasha Via said...

Wow, that is beautiful!! Great reminder...great MOTIVATOR=) Thank you.

And thank you for your encouraging words today!

Janet Roller said...

Amy-
Thanks for visiting my blog! I've never been to your site...but I'll be back. Can I just tell you - girl, this post has flown all over my spirit today. I RAN this morning for the first time in years. Then I read this. Whoo! God is so big but so personal.

He is really impressing on my heart that obedience is one step of the journey at a time. Every trip around the track is a great accomplishment but you could have stopped moving at any time. Every step was a step saying, "Yes, I Choose YOU!"

Way to go! Thanks for the inspiration.
-Janet

Amy Jo said...

I am so very blessed by all of your comments. Sometimes it's a bit scary to put myself out there like that. :-) A very humble thank you. God is SO good!!!

Kelly said...

Hi Amy I've been meaning to stop by and say thanks for visiting my blog but only around to it today. Wow, this post is such a blessing. Thanks so much for sharing!

katemcdonald said...

what a beautiful blog - thanks for sharing. I am an old runner who is getting back into the swing of things myself..so this spoke to me on more than one level!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello.

(Side note: your children are beautiful)

Tiffany Stuart said...

This was an amazing freedom post! I found it so refreshing.

And I am excited to know God is on the move in your heart. Good things are in store for you, I have no doubt.

Toknowhim said...

Thanks for visiting my blog recently... I enjoyed reading your post, and it was so cool that you had that experience with God on your run... Blessings..