It is all about the journey….

Posts tagged ‘Gods Gym’

Learning From Moroni

I love how life works. I believe if, at our core, we are willing to be taught, there will be lessons in abundance. Most times, however, the lessons that will truly shape us are the ones that are not so obvious in the beginning (and sometimes middle and end). 

Most of the time my life lessons unfold for me when I am on the trail. It is my time away from the world and there is something cathartic about pushing myself physically. There is usually an opening within my heart and soul. Today was no different.

Let me back up a bit.

For the past few months I have been struggling spiritually, mentally and physically. It is as though there have been very specific attacks made on each level. Spiritually I have had more questions about where I stand before God, within my religion and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Mentally the struggles have been with clarity of mind (or the lack thereof), desires to move forward, and the strength to meet the challenges each day presents. Physically presented with sheer exhaustion and lack of strength to accomplish things that have been pretty doable.

The relentless attacks have definitely done a number on me.

Questions within my heart have surfaced. Questions like: what am I doing wrong? am I making so many bad choices that I am left unto myself? what is wrong with me? and am I really strong enough to do this?

Monday night our family was sharing some spiritual discussions, led by my 16 year-old son. He shared two verses of scriptures that he had been pondering and found an incredible tie between the two.

  1. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)
  2. “But behold, to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong, yea, even to exceed the strength of the city Ammonihah.” (Alma 49:14)

Moroni is a true hero in my eyes. This man was a spiritual giant, military genius and an overall warrior. His ability to see, prepare, strengthen, and fortify saved a nation.

As I was running on the trail today, my mind was pondering these two verses of scripture. I asked myself how od they relate to me right now? If I could have a sit down chat with Moroni, what would he teach me in this moment?

The answer came.

How did Moroni know that the city of Noah was a weak place? It had been attacked before. Just like this city, there are certain aspects of me that have taken some pretty brutal, specific attacks recently. The more I look at them, the more I want to shed them like a snake sheds its skin. These qualities are not strength, in fact they are weak and ugly, yet they are a part of me at this point in my life.

I needed to be acutely aware of these weaknesses, because, according to the Lord, they are opportunities to come to Him.

I have to be brutally honest here, this is not something that comes natural to the mortal part of me. Overcoming deep weaknesses is terrifying at a certain level. It is scary to give up fear when it feels like a crutch or let my heart open to love when I am not sure I want to. Yet, these weaknesses (and many more that I have discovered) are keeping me from becoming more.

Moroni taught me that in order to strengthen a weakness I have to be aware of it through attacks. He taught me that paying attention to this will allow me to develop strength within myself that I had never imagined I could have. He taught me that diligence and faith are far more powerful than any attack that is launched to bring me down.

Today, I am learning. I am repenting. I am overcoming.

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful Deception

Last week as I was running on the trail, I came around the corner for the first real descent. Every time I come around this corner and look up the canyon, it truly takes my breath away.

This time was no different.

The trees have begun to turn green at their own rate, creating a beautiful emerald canvas. It is truly God’s country.

As I looked on the expanse I noticed that the trees had camoflaged the next hill I run up. If I had not been so familiar with this area, I would have thought that it was one rise instead of a peak and valley. I giggled to myself as I know that this beautiful deception is actually a challenging portion of my run.

Running towards this deceptive place, I began to ponder the many beautiful deceptions in life. Things just like this little rise that are a challenge to overcome, yet incredibly beautiful at the same time.

I thought about the journey we have been on, one of discovery, setbacks, faith, hope, discouragement, love, sadness, loss, happiness and fulfillment. I thought about the countless times I have dropped to my knees pleading for direction when the path was truly obscure. I remembered the times that this darkened path was opened up, in ways that I never would have imagined.

It would be easy to focus on the hardship, pain and feelings of being lost. Yet, this focus would never yield the beauty that is the journey. These perceptions can be very deceiving in that they can blind our minds and lives to the beauty of growth and change. It is only through resistance that we can become strong. Yet, sometimes we fear the very thing that creates newness and power.

I then thought about pain. The pain I feel when I am running up the mountain. The pain I feel when my heart is about to break in response to hurt. The pain I feel when I don’t live up to my potential. The pain I feel when I am pushing through any physical, mental, or spiritual barrier.

Pain is beautifully deceptive, because it teaches us at such a visceral level. It teaches us that there is more after we push through the barriers it establishes. Pain shows us what is truly important to us. It is the great teacher of wisdom, character and power. The beauty comes when we see past the discomfort and inconvenience to witness the greatness that is within.

Heavenly Father is kind, because He allows us to experience these beautiful deceptions. He knows they will bring us closer to Him and develop those God-like attributes that will enable us to do so. He is kind in the ways that He strengthens us to conquer, because each time I do, I know He is there.

 

What Are You Feeding Your Soul?

My mountain. Some days it takes a little bit more determination to get there, yet every time I step foot in that sanctuary I am blessed with inspiration, healing and renewal.

Today I fought within myself to get there. I completed my lifting and thought, “I’m good. It’s a little chilly outside. I should stay home and get stuff done.” On and on the discussion went in my mind.

Finally I realized that I ALWAYS feel better when I go, even if it hurts when I am there.

Today did not disappoint at all.

I have been doing a lot of research on living a fulfilling life. A life with passion. A life with purpose. There are more times than I like to admit when I struggle with feeling life my life has purpose. These feelings are pervasive and strike frequently when I am feeling a little blue. The aftermath of these strikes leave me feeling less than. Not a place I enjoy.

As I was on the trail today, I was pondering my studies, the moments when I struggle, and the inner reflections I have been participating in.

I have found that when I am outside, in the wide expanse of the mountain, my mind is able to wander to many different places, allowing pieces to fall into place that normally struggle to find a spot.

Two questions came into my mind:

What are you feeding your soul? Are you feeding it passivity or passion?

As I thought about these questions I began to draw a connection between our soul and our bodies. What we feed our bodies largely determines how we feel, how we move, how much energy we have, and how we heal. We are a reflection of what we eat.

Our souls are not any different than our bodies. 

Passivity is like junk food. When we are passive, we are not discovering, creating, building or strengthening. Passivity gives us momentary relief from the grind of daily life or the stresses we are encountering, yet too much of it leaves our minds clouded, our bodies lethargic and are souls empty. There is little to no healing or renewal in passivity.

I have spent a lot of time in that state. I have felt like I didn’t have anything to give. I didn’t feel like I had the energy to move, let alone move forward. My mind could not think clearly. It got to the point that I didn’t know what to do if I had a free moment.

Passion, on the other hand, is manna for the soul. It is full of the nutrients we need to grow, progress, move forward and discover. It is a renewable form of nutrients that give us creativity, energy and strength. We are able to push through the discomfort of stepping out of our safe zones. We are able to problem solve and think outside of the box. Our minds and spirits are clean.

The challenge at times is finding passion within life.

It is not something that can be found by passively. Passion is discovered through movement and searching. It is a deeply personal nutrition, because my passions are mine and yours are yours. It is contagious. Sharing passions allows others to find their own and live.

So today, what are you feeding your soul?

 

Forward Is Moving

There are days on the trail that are more educational than others. Today happened to be one of those days. Due to a series of events, I got off to a really late start to my run. Thankfully, because I waited, the sun decided to emerge and warm everything up. It is not every November 14th that I get to run in a t-shirt. I will take these days as long as I have them, because I know they are short-lived.

There is a place in the run that, no matter how many times I run it, the incline is almost too much. By the time I reach the top of the Clay Pit, my lungs are on fire and my legs feel like lead. Every day I push myself 5 to 10 steps further than the day before. Sometimes I make it. Sometimes I don’t.

For a long time it would frustrate me that I didn’t seem to be making gains in my strength and endurance on this particular portion of the trail. I would think to myself so many negative thoughts that would definitely increase the incline and difficulty of the next hill to conquer.

I realized that all of this focus on gains, strength and negativity was ultimately drawing much-needed energy and enjoyment. It is this way in life too… the more I focus on gains, power and allow negative thoughts to rule my mind and spirit, the less energy and desire I have to reach outward and lift others. I have learned that where I focus my energy will determine if it is renewed or stolen.

Living in a world that has a great tendency to look for weakness and exploit it makes it easy to give space to the negative energy-sapping sources. Stepping out of this world and allowing Jesus Christ to create within us the person He knows we are meant to be is challenging, yet very rewarding. His ultimate goal is to give us the strength, path and means necessary to change and become.

On one particular place I found myself struggling to keep moving forward. It is truly a mental battle that strengthens me each time I step foot in the mountain. All of the sudden, the sound I have given to my son’s texts chimed on my phone. Normally I don’t stop to check them, but this time I did.

“Love you too!!!”

The mere fact that my beautiful 16 year-old boy would take time out of his day to tell me he loves me melted my heart. He does this often. He is a gift. Those three words boosted my energy, giving me the strength to finish the climb I was undertaking.

Another climb was daunting and challenging me…my daughter’s text chime rang through.

“Hi!!”

My sweet girl randomly will text me during the day to say Hi. She too is a gift from Heavenly Father. Our conversations are generally short (except when she doesn’t feel good), but very sweet. Once again I was given what I needed to climb.

I realized that Heavenly Father has given us so many people to give us the energy we need to make it through a rough moment in life. There can be plenty of them and these moments seem to come in bundles. Having and being the kind of person that can lift is such a gift. I do not have a lot of close friends, that is not in my nature. Yet, the ones that I am blessed with are exactly who I need. I pray daily that I am who they need.

Coming out of the canyon, it was a lesson to me that forward is moving in the right direction. Some days we have all of the energy and capacity we need to conquer the hills life throws at us. Other days it is not there. How blessed I feel to know that on those days Heaven is just a prayer away and the answers come through so many beautiful people.

His Gym

One Sunday morning this past March I awoke with a start. It was as if a force was pulling me out of my toasty bed and pushing me out the door to go for a walk. I still cannot explain what happened that morning, however I am forever grateful it did.

That day started me walking 1 and 2 miles a day down the street and back. Our street is located in the foothills of the beautiful mountains in Northern Utah. It is one of the most beautiful places to walk, jog or ride a bike. The changing seasons bring different colors, temperature, smells and creatures. I love this gym.

What began as walking has turned into running again after 18 years and retraining my running style.

mymountains

What begain as walking down the street has turned into exploring the mountains behind our home. I have a wonderful friend who has introduced me to our mountains and the beauty they offer. I love our time in the mountains.

Yet, the first time I hiked the trails on my own, I found a profound sense of peace and freedom. I began to see that I am strong enough to make that journey on my own. It has become a sacred place of meditation and communion with my Heavenly Father.

Last week I took a run through the mountains. The colors took my breath away, inspiring me to stop frequently and take pictures (which subsequently made my run take a lot longer). The beauty of God’s gym is awe-inspiring, so I wanted to share what I found.

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The beginning of the trail. I love how the leaves are scattered all over the trail!

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I looked up to the side of the trail and this tree brought a smile to my face

(which is a little energy boost when running).

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As the trail curves, it climbes into this beautiful little canyon.

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Coming around the corner out of the little canyon, this red tree was waiting for my camera.

hike6The colors on the side of this mountain stopped me in my tracks (again).

thebridge

This little bridge over a creek has taught me so much about life (more on that another time).

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The final ascent out of the canyon.

God’s gym is my favorite place to workout. In it I get to see my weaknesses, find strength I never knew I had, breathe in life and freedom, and commune with the Creator of all. This gym has been one of the greatest blessings in my life as I have seen Him daily in my life.

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