Discouragement

Sometimes I get crazy-discouraged.

Sometimes I get so frustrated at the world (or myself) that sit in my squalor and I let the negativity wash over me: “You aren’t good enough.  You’ll never have friends.  You will never find love.  You are such a loser.  No one likes spending time with you.”

And I attempt to shut it out, to evade reality and slip into the presence of the Lord.  It is there that I am unbridled by fear and sin and pride.  It is there that I am refreshed and renewed.

See, I wanted to write a post today about discouragement.  So here I am.  And it’s not sounding at all like I thought it would.  As a Christian, it is so incredibly easy to belittle the feeling of discouragement.  I mean, people around the world are sick and dying and being murdered. Here? “Well, I’m pretty safe and secure, but I do feel pretty bummed out.”  See how that sounds? It’s safe to say that a lot of us bottle up those feelings and give up on achieving godly confidence.

But I want to share something with you that the Lord showed me today: Having peace is not the same as giving up.  It’s radically different, and radically better! The Bible tells us to surrender to Christ, but never to the pressures of this world. That means drawing near to the Prince of Peace who is greater than any pressure or pain of the world around us.

It’s easier said than done, but you can begin to have peace over your situation with small steps. When you feel the sadness crashing over you, rebuke it in the name of God. Speak scripture to yourself. Remind yourself (out loud!) that you have peace in Christ, and because He is Lord over your life, you don’t need to worry about the outcome of your situation. He is for you!

The Creator and God of the universe deeply loves you.  And as wise old David said: He is our helper (Psalm 12:10) and our deliverer (Psalm 18:2). Let that knowledge drive you toward the cross and away from discouragement. 

In every area of my life, I’ve seen that the Lord is faithful. But that doesn’t mean I remember it all the time. Reading scripture; praying with other believers and singing songs of praise, are all great reminders. The Lord your God is for you, my friend. So do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged (Joshua 1:9). He brings joy and renewal to the weary, and He will lead you through whatever discouragement you may be going through right now.

Love,

Hannah

22 things I learned in 2016, my 21st year of life

I’m not sure how to preface a post such as this.  Let’s face it: The more time we spend on earth, the more we realize we don’t really know.  Enjoy this sporadic list of things I didn’t know/know very well until this past year.  I’m turning 22 in a few weeks, so I kept the list to 22 things.  Enjoy! And comment below if you can relate or have wisdom to share.

  1. You can’t put foil in the microwave.
  2. You can choose to have joy even when life isn’t pure bliss.  That doesn’t mean you are are okay with it.
  3. It is possible to truly love a body that isn’t what society (or the running world) deems perfect.
  4. When you “grow up,” your siblings become an incredible nuisance, your best friends or both 🙂
  5. If you shut friends out when you are hurting, it denies you both one of the most beautiful aspects of friendship: Bonding through adversity.
  6. You will rarely regret spending a few hours to read a book.  You will, on the other hand, regret spending a few hours, watching mindless television on Netflix.
  7. To be twenty-one and never have been kissed is not something to be embarrassed about.  It is something my future husband will highly value.
  8. Going off #7: I don’t need to find that dude!  Seriously, I obsessed over that for so long.  It was so distracting and anxiety provoking.  Instead, I can make the decision to redirect my heart.  I can cling to the Lord and enjoy this season of my life!
  9. Going off #8: The aforementioned statement is not always easy.  Actually, it can be really hard.  And that’s okay.  That’s human.
  10. When running is stripped away: I do not crumble.  This was such a difficult year for me with injuries, but each one drew me nearer to the Lord, further breaking the tie between running and my worth.  With every injury, I found greater peace and contentment.
  11.  I am slightly allergic to cats.
  12. I actually don’t hate cats.  But I’ll never get one.
  13. (I learned) How to change spark-plugs in a car.
  14. Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock are not the same person.  That sounds incredibly stupid to say, but I had no clue.
  15. I learned that an orange is called an orange because it’s orange.  It makes sense now, but I never connected the two.
  16. Being a semi-adult is stressful and expensive.  But Jesus always provides.
  17. Tracking the prophetical words/pictures the Lord gives, is a fantastic way to see His faithfulness over time.  I started a Prophetical Journal this year! Woo!
  18. You can always find a gift on Amazon.com. You might waste three hours looking for the perfect one, but it’s there.
  19. (I learned) How to make my mom’s amazing vegetable soup!  Now I’m kinda-sorta a cook.
  20. Brokenness is not to be despised, but cherished.  Jesus was broken for us, and through His brokenness came the redemption of humanity.
  21. Going out to eat with friends is fun.  After years of anorexia, it is still a bit scary, but it gets easier and more enjoyable every time.  And it’s absolutely worth it.
  22. The Lord has me right where I need to be.

 

Love,

Hannah

 

 

A Courageous 2017

Everyone goes somewhere when they are afraid.  When I was little, it was the depths of my walk in closet.  Outfitted with pillows, blankets and candy; it felt more like today’s tiny houses on HGTV.  And in that tiny house, I could shut out everything that brought tears to my eyes.  At least, that’s what I thought.  But even my rope-pulley candy system wasn’t enough to hold back the floodgates of divorce and death in my family.  So the doors of my closet, and my heart, became increasingly closed.

I started this blog back in 2013 with the goal of documenting all blessings the Lord has given me.  However, it has grown into a project of spiritual growth like I’d never expected.  Amidst the articles about running and travel, I weaved in yearly-themes that the Lord highlighted for me.  After a Grateful 2013, I was led to pursue a Presence Filled 2014.  I wanted more of God and less of me.  With His presence giving me strength, I endured through the most difficult and rewarding year of my life.  So when 2015 rolled around, I felt a resounding urge to declare it the year of Freedom. In all honesty, when I reflect back on that initial proclamation, I laugh at my own naivety.  Did I really think the freedom would come without cost?  Without pain?  Without sacrifice?

I learned that year that freedom requires all those things, and I wasn’t always willing to give them.  As the year rolled on- and I rolled out excuses- I began to hate my chains more and more.  And freedom came in blissful shards of brokenness, as my facade dripped away.  So much so, that I was awestruck by the faithfulness of the Lord- which then became my driving theme for 2016.  I saw it as my chance to draw nearer to Him and break from the last of the chains that had held me.

So why then, am I not completely free?  Why do tendrils of the control and perfectionism still choke the very breath I long to give the Lord?  I chalked it up to laziness, not wanting to put forth the effort.  But as I prayed this past week, I came to the realization that laziness has nothing to do with it.  It’s fear.  Just like a six year-old hiding in the corner, I am closing my own doors because I am so afraid.

I was deliberating between a handful of words for this year, but God kept bringing me back to this one.  “But Lord,” I said, “I really feel like this is the year of pursuing you, of throwing off everything else and search of greater intimacy with you.”  He responded: “And what do you need to throw off?”

Fear.

Fear of losing control.  Fear of what people think.  Fear of dying along.  Fear of not being beautiful.  Fear of being too much, and yet: Not enough.

It has entrenched itself into every facet of my life, and I’m just not cool with that anymore.  What’s more: Neither is the King.  So this is my year of throwing off fear and grabbing ahold of courage.  A year of running whole-heartedly towards Christ.  I invite you to join me as we dare to live out a year of courage and conviction, for the cause of Christ.

image-1Love,

Hannah

 

 

Hope for the Mediocre Ones

Ninety-nine percent of the world lives in a state of, to be blunt: mediocrity.  We are in the bad-but-not-worst and good-but-not-best kind of land.  Because, let’s face it: There is always someone faster, smarter, taller and wealthier.  There is always someone more muscular, more accomplished and more advanced. And while little Joey once thought he was the best soccer player in the world, somewhere along the way, he was informed that his chances of playing in the World Cup were slim to none.

For the Ronaldos and Beckhams, crushing inadequacy is suspended for the short term and dreams come true. But where does that leave the rest of us?  We, the teachers and accountants and writers and salespeople.  How do we deal with the feeling of being “not enough?” Oh, we train and we try. We cheat and we lie. Sometimes we settle and sometimes we give up. All in all: We adjust our goals and carry on. I’d argue that, done in a healthy way, there’s nothing wrong with that. But the tendency is either to go all in to achieve what we think we “should” or check out and coast through life on money, good grades, good looks and our own control and satisfaction.

Here’s a refreshing thought: There’s one area where you and I aren’t inadequate. One area where we are on equal playing ground with Stephen Hawking, Michael Phelps and Kate Middleton.

Here it is: We are maximumly loved by God!

The Bible says that God showed His love for us by sending His son to die for sinful humanity  (Romans 5:8).  Because of that love, we are no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6), and that means that nothing we do or don’t do can change the way the Lord so deeply treasures us.  See, it’s not about us.  Not at all.  But God, being who He is, desires to bless us and love us and restore us to the unity that sin so stealthily strangled from our grasp.  The Word says the Lord is in your midst and rejoicing over you (Zephaniah 3:17).  He is not partial, no matter who you are what success you have, or haven’t, found in life (Job 34:19).  How seriously awesome is that?  And how difficult to truly grasp in our finite minds.  For all we know is conditional love, it has ingrained itself into our brains and become the definition of love.

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But what if you didn’t have to be good enough?  What if your talents and mediocrities and failures all painted a picture of a glorious Savior who can- and will- be magnified through your life?  Friends, that’s the truth!

Did you ever read the story about Punchinello? As Max Lucado tells it, Punchinello lived in a village with other small wooden people, the Wemmicks.  Each one was different with different talents.  But poor Punchinello felt that he had no gift, no worth.  Finally, he meets Eli the woodmaker and he comes to realize that he is special after all.  The reason isn’t because he is talented or good-looking, but because the woodmaker who created him, says so.  “You are mine,” he tells Punchinello. “That’s why you matter to me.” (Read an online version of the story HERE)

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Woah.  Kinda deep for a kids book, don’t you think?  It used to be my favorite as a child, and maybe that’s because I felt liberated by the notion that I didn’t have to live up to perfection’s standards that pressed in on me from every side.  The same is true for you.

So while it may be hard to hold onto in the midst of financial crises and exams and the struggles of this life, remember today that You are in the hands of a mighty Creator who treasures every bit of who you are.  He is working in us to make us into the men and women who will be most satisfied in Him.  That may or may not mean you’ll get that award/promotion/record/first place.  But in all things: Your worth is secure and His love for you will never change.  Ever.

Love,

Hannah

A Trip to Santa Fe

*This post was originally published on my initial blog on February 2013.  I am in the process of migrating my content from Blogger and appreciate the patience as I do so!

We had already spent a good hour wandering around in the wind and snow, numbing our hands and feet.  With grit determination now frozen from our faces, we retreated back to the hotel fire.  I stood by that fire for a good fifteen minutes before I could feel how cold my hands were.  During the warming phase, I had a lot of time to reflect on my stupidity that had gotten us in this situation in the first place.  Namely: I was stubborn.
“Try calling dad,” my brother suggested, “his meeting may be over by now.  Sure enough, my dad picked up and asked us how the adventure was going.  “It’s freezing,” I said, “we had thought it would be so warm!”  He reminded me that he’d warned us– which I vaguely remember, but probably blocked out in denial– and I reminded him that I was still frozen.  “We tried, but we didn’t actually make it to the historic district,” I confessed.  He seemed bewildered at that, “How?  It’s just down the block.”  My brother, overhearing the conversation, shot me a look that said: “you mean I’m suffering hypothermia for nothing!”

It was my junior year of high school and my dad had a business trip during my brother and I’s spring break.  So instead of rearranging things, we came along.  Before spending a few days in New Orleans (RELATED: Unforgettable Runs: New Orleans), we headed to Albuquerque and then Santa Fe..err– that was the plan.  In reality, our flight got cancelled and the only other one they had that day was through Roswell, New Mexico.  Surely you’ve heard of this alien crazed town.  In fact, it’s too much of an experience to squish into this post right now.  I will however, explain the rest of the story.

We landed in Roswell, stepped off the plane– onto the runway mind you– and were immediately shocked.  New Mexico was supposed to be warm!  I panicked and lunged for my phone to check Weatherbug (RELATED: My Essential Apps, all interesting, all free).  “It’s probably just a freak weather thing,” I assured my brother– and myself.  Unfortunately, Roswell doesn’t have a very good, or any, cell phone coverage at their airport, so I left the little town without a clue.

We got into Santa Fe later that night– too late for a run, so I hopped on an elliptical in the workout room.  I’d slept on planes and in the car all day, so after my workout: I was wide awake.  I walked around the hotel a bit, curious to see more of the beautiful southwestern design and architecture.  There was plenty of it, as we stayed in the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Hotel.  After some exploration, I sat down by the fireplace with an complementary apple, munching away as I watched to flames lick the logs.  It was so warm and homey, that I figured I could just sit there till I fell asleep.  It did the trick though, and I was soon back to our room and ready for lights out.

The next morning, my dad had a business meeting till noon, so my brother and I were on a lone adventure to see the city.  I grabbed my jeans and the sweatshirt I’d brought.  Since he didn’t bring jeans, my brother had on shorts and a sweatshirt.  We went for a quick breakfast down near the lobby, where we were greeted by another warm fire and a beautiful fountain.  I was beginning to think it was quite curious that there were so many fires in such a warm place…..then we stepped outside.

To be honest, it was more of a dart in and out kind of thing.  Turns out, the elevation and mountains make Santa Fe a pretty cold destination in March.  We had not known that when we’d packed our swimsuits and tank tops.  My dad had told us about the historic district though, so we set out to find it and hopefully duck into some warm shops.  Not more than five minutes after we’d emerged from the warm hotel, did it start snowing.  Snowing!  I’m sure we reeked of tourism– with our heads tied up in our hoods and I navigating the way on my phone.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m directionally challenged.  We were quickly in the heart of the business district, with only a tattoo shop and a law office as our shelter options.

Yep.  Turns out, we only needed to turn left and walk for two minutes to reach our destination.  In fact, my dad was already there.  Cutting out the complaining, I mustered up my last dignity.   “Warm yourself for a few more minutes and prepare,” I told me brother, “we are going back out!”  And so, we made it.  We got to see the tapestries, the old church, the quirky shops, and the shelves and shelves of cowboy boots.  It was pretty cool, even cooler knowing the struggle it took to get there!

I can’t wait to go back to Santa Fe–in the summer– when I can hike and explore more of the amazing New Mexico landscape.  I had such a fun time there, even in the bad weather, that I can’t imagine how great it is when Santa Fe is basking in the New Mexico sun.