SPF Jesus

I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot how to log into my own blog site–it’s been THAT LONG since I’ve written! It’s funny…I was thinking just a few days ago that I needed to post something here, but that I wanted to wait until I felt led to by the Holy Spirit before doing so. Not that I think that ALL of my blog posts should be all inspirational and stuff, but on some level I do feel a need to share encouragement almost always.  After all, there’s so much bad in the world…in the media, and in social media. A good word can be hard to find sometimes.  If God can use me to reveal even the tiniest of glimpses of Him, I am more than up for the task!

Today I was pretty much smacked upside the head with the idea for this particular post. I was talking to my dear friend and trainer, Jen, about a particular life experience I had years ago, and about what God had shown me as a result of going through it. One of the many reasons I love her so much is because, not only does she work my tail off, and not only is she the easiest person on the planet to talk to,  and not only is she hysterically funny, she genuinely loves Jesus and has a heart for people. Every once in a while you meet a person who instantly makes you feel like you’re “home,” so to speak. That is Jen. I feel like I can tell her anything, and unless I’m huffing and puffing or crying in pain, I do.  She has made my day more often than she even knows because of her sweet heart and her genuine interest in things other than herself.  She inspires me beyond fitness, that’s for sure.

When I showed up for my session today, I immediately apologized to her for my sunburnt, scaly face. Over this past weekend I was out on the boat without a stitch of makeup or sunscreen for the first time in years. I got the worst sunburn I’d gotten since high school, I think. My face is peeling and red now, but it was downright blistered over the weekend. It hurt to touch my face or even move it. I’m not sure what I was thinking…I’m 41 years old and should know that I’m long past the point of getting sun without negative consequences–i.e wrinkles. Jen could easily see the damage and tried to tell me it didn’t look that bad….but it does! That’s just her typical sweet self.

As I was sharing my story with her today, I told her that one thing I had learned (and still learning!) is how important it is to cling to God’s Word and look to it as a source of protection, not as a book of rules. I told her that I believed I could have been spared some heartache had I just stayed closer to Him instead of going the way I thought was best or easiest–or in some cases, by accident. I told her that as we age (she’s not even 30 yet, so I feel like I can say certain things) life can get so busy that we can be distracted from the most important people and things, and not even purposefully make a bad decision. That we have to willfully, deliberately stay under the umbrella of God’s Word, or else our flesh can take over, and we will make unwise choices and then later get hurt by them. She said, “You know, we could write a book on this. Like, even with your sunburned face as an example: if you don’t keep it covered, it’ll get blistered.” I looked at her and paused, and then said, “You know, I think you just inspired my next blog post. That’s totally what I’m going to write about!” And so here I am–doing just that.

I’m a very busy mom with a very busy husband, and five very active kids. If there’s anybody vulnerable to distraction, it is me. I can be so distracted, in fact, that I sometimes even forget to pray until I’m in the bed and nearly asleep. If you don’t think the enemy can prey on someone like me, you are mistaken. I’m a prime candidate. He has and does. Often I’m not even aware of it until I find myself in deep emotional pain or conflict. It’s then that I realize I have drifted away from God, way out from under His protective hand. Misery is a surefire consequence of that. I don’t know about you, but I like to avoid misery as much as humanly possible. Without the wisdom of God’s Word and the power of prayer, it can be hard to recognize the voice of the enemy when he speaks to us. Tempts us. Condemns us.  Deceives us. We become sitting ducks for his evil. Even worse, we miss all of the joy and blessings God has for us when we drift away from Him. I can honestly say that my happiest, most fulfilling days are days when my relationship with the Lord is the most intimate, and when my stubborn will is the most yielded to His. It’s only then that I personally experience glimpses of Him and of all the glory that goes with it. There’s nothing like it.

When we’re unhappy, it’s human nature to want to point the finger of blame at others. We want to make it somebody else’s fault that we’re in such a sad state. Certainly, the mistakes of other people can hurt us. There’s no doubt about it. Sometimes tragedy happens and we’re thrown into a hurricane of despair. It’s NOT always our fault. But no matter the circumstance, the more filled we are with Him, and the less full we are of ourselves, the more joy we can find in all things–even when we’re being forced to do 50 million pushups by a no-nonsense trainer! The closer we stay to Him, the better we can navigate through the most difficult, busiest, most stressful times in our lives. He loves us so much. He loves YOU so much. And when we are intentional about resting in His love, our lives are better for it, and the ones we love are more blessed as well.

“Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4