Reflections from the Treadmill #6

To read from the beginning of the series click HERE.

Preparation

CrossTreadmill

By Karen Pullano

As it happened, I started doing a 21-day gut cleanse diet when I was fairly new to the treadmill. (We should definitely have a riveting discussion of gut flora and healthy bacteria some other time. 😉 ) Basically, the diet consists of vegetables and a little meat and more vegetables; little to no grains at all. I was feeling pretty good, if slightly hungry, but didn’t think much of it as I got on my treadmill about five days into the cleanse.
I knew the minute I started running that I would never make it to the end. I felt weak in my bones. I wasn’t properly fueled and, grace notwithstanding, my simple human body couldn’t do it. Even though I was rested, dressed in comfortable running clothes, and outfitted with top of the line running sneakers, I was weak and exhausted from the start because I had nothing in the tank to draw strength from. I was prepared in many ways, just not the most important way.

I think there is truly only one way you can prepare yourself for suffering. Taking the time and making the effort to grow in relationship with God now, will give you His strength to draw on in times of crisis (not to mention the awesomeness of simply being in a relationship with God!). I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that Loving God will keep you from suffering. To the contrary, suffering is suffering and it hurts, just like running will still hurt no matter how well prepared I am. When trials come, the temptation will be to seek any manner of worldly comforts and distractions, but those things will never truly walk you through the suffering step by step. In fact, they will more likely deceive you and keep you from seeing clearly.  A relationship with God will set you up for success ahead of time.

Building any relationship takes an investment of yourself.
Draw near to the Lord, getting to know Him and His Word. Let yourself be truly and deeply loved by Him in the sacraments. See and understand your deep need for Him and seek Him. Storms must come in this fallen world, but recognizing your deep need for God is the beginning of Wisdom. Together you will weather whatever comes your way.

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him– may your hearts live forever! (ps 22:26)

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Reflections from the Treadmill #2

By Karen Pullano

If you missed the first installment click here CrossTreadmill

Love Gives meaning to Suffering

If you have ever run a 5K for a worthy cause then you will easily understand what I mean here. There are lots of organized runs for wonderful causes out there and they are generally intended to raise money and awareness for a particular organization or charitable cause. Forget about the financial aspect for a minute and ask yourself this: how did running or walking in that race do anything for the cause? Why did you do it? Why did they want you to do it?
The answer is quickly obvious. By lending your support, encouragement, and strength, and standing with many in solidarity, you strengthen the cause, right? You get behind something you believe in and are willing to sacrifice in order to do it. It is a demonstration of Love and good.Maybe there is training involved that has taken dedication and perseverance. Think about what got you to that 5K. If it was dedication to a cause, then you know exactly what it is to offer up suffering for Love.

So too, we can make an offering of our suffering for God’s “cause.” I love Him so infinitely that I could never suffer or sacrifice enough for Him. I have only to look at the cross and be reminded of the scourging, the thorns, and the garden, and I know that what I’m going through is only a shadow of what Christ did out of Love. The more I Love Him, the more meaning my suffering takes on.

I further proved this to myself the other day when I was praying for someone so dear to me that I would give my life for them. I set a grueling goal on the treadmill as a prayer offering (okay it was only 2 miles, but I felt I needed some added drama here). As expected, about halfway through, I thought I was done for, but no amount of pain could have kept me from offering up that effort for this person that I love. Like running in solidarity at a 5K, when we offer prayer together with sacrifice it carries more weight. It’s like saying to God, this is so important to me that I am willing to follow your lead and suffer for this cause. We unite ourselves to the cross, which is the supreme act of Love.
I was amazed at my own determination and ability to push myself to my limits. My deep and intense love motivated me like nothing else could have.

When we learn to love God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, more deeply, our burden is lightened. That Love is truly the Yoke Jesus asks us to take.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

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And Ladies, it’s not too late to RSVP for the food and faith event in Syracuse.  It promises to be a night full of inspiration and camaraderie! Join us.March3rd Food and Faith copy