Faster than the Cold

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.01.48 PMMy biggest excuse for not exercising is pretty sad. It’s being “cold”. I hate it. Give me a good heat index with lots of sweat any time you want, but being cold puts me out of commission. Add to that, the weight loss I’ve had in recent years and it is even worse…I left my winter insulation on The Biggest Loser. Now, I think I burn most of my calories from shivering. I understand some of you do not feel sorry for me. Yes, I live in Houston, Texas. Yes, my idea of cold is probably some people’s idea of Spring. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, the struggle is real…

This brings me to this past weekend. I committed to run a 5k for an event in a small town and was really looking forward to it. That is, until I woke up and it was cold outside. It had to be at least 35 degrees! (North Easterners; Please feel free to leave comments below…) However, Cathy and I braved the arctic weather and went downtown to the race. While we were waiting, we sent a text to our youngest son, Josiah, explaining how cray cold we were. It was at this point that some awesome wisdom poured out of this young man. His reply, one simple text, changed everything in my head. It said:

“Just run faster than the cold…”

That’s a deep thought from anyone, much less a 15 year old high school freshman. With 6 little words he instantly motivated me and shut down all my excuses. These words wrapped themselves into my brain and my attitude completely changed. In essence, he said it wasn’t the cold that was the obstacle, it was my response to the cold. All I had to do was outrun it.

This truth is for all of you who battle day in and day out to live and make healthy choices. Obstacles and excuses are everywhere but they are not what will ultimately effect your health journey. How you deal with them is what will impact you the most. The next time a challenge is before you, remember you control the power it has over you. 

So today think about it, what shuts you down? What is that thing that is your biggest challenge and/or your quickest excuse? Your cold may be different than my cold. It doesn’t matter. You now have a way to make sure your progress is no longer interrupted.

“Just run faster than the cold…”

-Mark Cornelison

The Jacket

dolce-gabbana-suits-p_z_21399_AI have a confession to make. It is about me. But I also think it’s about many other ministers. Sometimes I get so caught up in preparing messages for when I’m speaking to others, that I neglect to apply it to my own life. Recently, I caught myself doing this and in the moment, I believe God really helped me.

I was preparing a message about the prodigal son that I was going to speak about the upcoming Sunday. I won’t assume you know the story, so I will summarize it. (The story can be found in Luke 15)

At the onset, a son tells his father that he’d like his inheritance because he’d like to move out. The father agrees. The son takes his money and squanders it. Wastes it. Abuses his freedom. And at the end of the day, he has no money, no food, and no one to help. He decides to try and go back to his father to ask for more. The father welcomed him back with open arms! He put a robe on him and threw a party!

As I studied this story, it was amazing how the father (indicative of how God is towards us) made his decision to let the son come home. It was super clear to me that it was not behavior, or merit, based. The kid had done everything wrong. He didn’t deserve to be rewarded. But when he asked his dad to allow him to be a servant, the father called him son. And threw a party strictly because they were family and they were reunited.

I got to thinking about it and was super pumped to tell the people in my church about it! They didn’t have to worry about their behavior first! They could come to God even after their bad behavior, and He would welcome them home because they were sons! Their behavior would certainly change under His loving care!

So on Thursday of that week, I had to do something I was dreading: go shopping for a new sports jacket. I was dreading it because I had gained weight. (Probably 30 pounds) I hated that I even had to go shopping because had I just kept my diet, I had a suit that would fit. Nevertheless, I had a funeral to attend, so I went shopping.

I tried on one coat that fit but it was expensive. I tried on others, but nothing fit right. Then I wanted to do what I had always done in the past….walk out without buying anything. I was thinking: I don’t deserve it. I have failed. I will wear something nice if I lose weight. If I’m perfect.

Then I heard that still small voice inside. Reminding me of the prodigal son. It was like God was asking me if I believed the story about how He functions. I felt like He was telling me that even though my behavior hadn’t been perfect, because I was looking to Him and listening to Him, He welcomed me in. And wanted to put a robe on me. He was telling me to get the nice jacket. Not because I had earned it, but because He wanted me to feel good about being His child.

I gotta say: that moment was freeing. I realized that I only rewarded good behavior…and that God was always available even when my behavior was bad. It made me want to return to Him and get the help I needed! I didn’t know the message I was preparing was for me. But it was.

Have you been waiting to get new clothes until you lose weight? Maybe you need to lose weight, but go ahead and get clothes that fit you now. You deserve it. You’re a child of God.

-Buddy Shuh

Against the Wind

against-the-windCathy and I run pretty often. Most days I love it and I especially enjoy running with her. If you are able to walk or run, one of the great things is that the world is your gym. When we travel, we always know we can find a place to get out and go. But that doesn’t mean that the world is always friendly to our runs.

Take yesterday for example. We both found a great park in a town we were visiting with a large outdoor track. There was plenty of sunshine and comfortable temps so we took off. However, we weren’t ready for the wind. I know for those who live in this area it wasn’t that strong a wind but for us it became quite an obstacle. The track was a huge circle so our run consisted of having the wind at our backs, on our left side, on our right side, and directly in our faces. Simply said, it was not the most enjoyable run I’ve ever had.

You’ve probably figured out there really wasn’t pleasant part to any of it. Now you may think that having the wind at our backs would have been a nice relief, but it wasn’t. Once we made the turns the wind would seemingly come from nowhere and make you lean in a little to compensate. Then we’d turn into the wind and the motivation to keep running would be pushed away, only to turn again and start the process all over.

Once we finished and we were walking to our car, we both talked about the challenge of the wind. Then we said something that is a regular statement at the end of any tougher than expected workout, “Well, at least we did it.”

This got me thinking, trying to be healthy is not really the norm. It feels like it would just be so much easier to give up. Somedays it feels like everything that comes at you is trying to push you off track. You are coasting along in a good groove then you turn a corner and get hit by something you didn’t expect. Then suddenly, the motivation you had one day is completely gone and the desire to stop is overwhelming. But what you must do is keep pushing forward to get to the end of the day and be able to say, “Well, at least I did it.”

Cathy loves to say, “This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.” What she needs to add is that sometimes it’s a really slow marathon. You may feel like you are running against the wind today but your goal is this…
don’t stop running. The wind will change, the path will make it’s turns and the life ahead is worth it.

-Mark Cornelison