Thinking beyond “Hating Hard!”

We are not going to be at the same pace as everyone else in life, and it’s good to know where we are, what we need, in what gear we should be in, and when to shift up and down so we can meet our needs and our challenges in life.

However hard it got today, as in life, we must peddle on. It will get easier, the road and scenery will change, the wind will subside, and as you keep pressing on and staying the course, setting your pace, the challenge will become easier and you will become better and stronger along the way.

“I don’t like hard,” is what I found myself thinking today at some point in my “Bridges of Martin County” meetup ride this morning where I found myself struggling to keep up with my cohorts, unable to catch my breath, and in last place. I didn’t care about the rank, as I knew that would be where I would fall, but I will say having absolutely no visual of my cohorts at some point within the first 10 – 15 minutes was not where I was thinking I would fall at all, but I would press on. I committed to at least an hour only due to my knee condition and trying to rehab it, and I would do it with or without them.

I want to say, firstly, that biking is my favorite sport, probably. It’s the only 1 I have found myself breaking out in smiles, as I glide freely over the pavement, but when I have to push it, and struggle, and people are passing me left and right, even when one tells you repeatedly, “Holly, I am passing on your left, and I have to tell him, “Yeah, that’s my right,” as he struggles to narrowly zoom by me, on the right, and I wonder how someone our age can do so well in biking without knowing his left from his right, but I am just trying to stay upright and not get smooshed as one and all pass me by, over and over, again, until I figure they are all past me. I keep steady until finally, the last biker passes me by, and I find myself peddling up ever so slowly over the bridge as they are leaving me far behind. Once I made my ascent, I bid them adieu as they took a right after their descent from the bridge, and headed toward the beach.

As I made my eventual way in the same direction, I’d eventually wished I put on my odometer I got yesterday. They were nowhere in sight. How, exactly, slowly was I going? I figured I’d be pacing with them the whole time and would only be a little far behind and would not need it because I’d be in the range of the 16 – 22 mph if I were even on their back tails, but nowhere in sight?! Peddle on!

I knew I would find them again because they had to turn around after the beach and head back. I did catch up with them at that point, and we hollered at each other, and they sped away again really quickly, and I lost sight of them, again, in no time. I did have one woman in my view for much of the time, but still was ahead of me about a ½ mile, and she had a good 15 years on me – older! I was the youngest of the bunch, and the least in peddling shape! I peddled on knowing I’d again catch them in Jensen Beach in a mile or two. So, I peddled on, and that is when I thought, “I don’t like hard.” It may have been the dread I felt as I would still have to peddle all the way to Jensen beach and then turn around and hit those two bridges again. My leisurely, steady pace I would ride alone wasn’t sufficient for these guys. I did get this bike because I wanted to ride fast, but apparently, I have a ways to catch up!

I was doing my best, and peddled harder trying to make an effort, after thinking, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and admitting too that though I know He can get me through it, I didn’t want to do it because I was having a hard time of it, and I don’t like hard! His grace was sufficient! I quickly got myself off that thought because I knew that that would only lead to misery. So, I focused more on Christ and His grace and being in the moment of doing what I could, and decided to push a little harder, I focused then on the fact that I have legs, and what a pleasure it is to be able to peddle, and do hard things that challenge me, and improve my physique, and build the legs, and specifically, my knee, (the reason I’d only committed to maybe 1 hour with them anyway today), and I eventually forgot about hard and was enjoying my Saturday morning doing something I’d been wanting to do – though still alone maybe, but that was okay. I was making an effort and that mattered, and I know over time, I will be better as I train more and maybe get clips and proper road-biking shoes instead of sneakers – I had that pointed out once I arrived, that no wonder I was so slow, and what a difference clips or straps make. Anyway, I found as I focused more on the good, I began enjoying my road trip and I looked up and was almost there.

My arrival in Jensen finally found them kickin it – relaxing, drinking water, laughing, talking.  I walked up the stairs eventually announcing gladly, “I made it!” I was accepted and cheered. They were glad for me I’d made it! I was too! I was pleased they are, and were, all so nice to me. They were welcoming initially and accepting. They were equally so despite my slowness when I arrived the second time. They accepted me all the while.

Meeting up, finally! And, capturing
the moment.

I realized as I walked from our first photo op spot to the next one that I was having a bit of difficulty walking because my muscles we so fatigued. Oh my!  Pretty cool though. I’d been wanting to strengthen my legs, and it was happening. I splayed myself out on the bottom step of this enormous chair as we took pics, exasperated looking, and fun about it! I like them – what a lively bunch! Maybe my bike people! So far so good.

Relaxing in the moment, Jensen Beach. Mocking my fatigued legs.

I decided to go back the same way despite what they said about continuing with them because I knew I’d have a bike lane the whole way. They said they’d been going unusually fast before and would be going slower. Not sure if they were testing out the newbie or what, but, in any case, I decided to go my own way too because I didn’t want to overdo my knee knowing I could potentially be out of commission for a few days as a result. I’m trying to take it easy and be realistic and take it slow so I can make real progress this time. I’ve seen how overdoing it every time sets me back over and over and I keep having to start over and over again.

So, I bid them adieu, this time, in person, and set back the way I came, but this time, against the wind. I didn’t mind it. I just down shifted as I needed and made it an enjoyable ride not dreading any of it – going at my own pace. I knew I could do the same when I hit the bridge – that’s a benny of a good road bike – I was huffing and puffing, but yes, I was making it, and I felt so great afterwards. I felt like this helped my spine too in the end which was good.

I took away that practicing focusing on the solution makes the difference, but this I already knew. I’m not sure anyone really likes hard, but we can do it, and I know I am always the better for having done it, and having done it intentionally, with integrity and some grace.

I feel like if you’re going to do it, do it. It’s always good to push ourselves, I believe, and that is why after realizing I hate hard, I began to push myself even harder because I believe that gets me over the hating it hump.

I think more than hating hard, I hate resisting hard, or resisting anything for that matter – it only makes it worse. Also, lazy, whiney and lame prove equally undesirable. So, I like to focus on the solution, and that is what I did and what I believe got my legs shaking! Going a little beyond. Pushing beyond to be better. I believe hard is able to be gotten over by just pushing back a little harder. Praying, focusing on the positive, gearing up and gearing down to make life’s rides more or less enjoyable, easy, thrilling or challenging is each individual’s choice. We set our own pace.

I needed to push in at times this a.m., but also keeping in mind my knee’s limitations and the impact my decisions would have. I am pleased to say that I have been doing great all day with no problems, except initially after I got home and cleaned a bit. I have rested it since, and it’s been awesome, and even feel my knees are stronger as a result. I am so grateful, and surprised, I have no pain! I must have done it right! 😊

We are not going to be at the same pace as everyone else in life, and it’s good to know where we are, what we need, in what gear we should be in, and when to shift up and down so we can meet our needs and our challenges in life. As Ecclesiastes says, unto everything there is a season. Many times, as of recent, hard has been where many of us have found ourselves.  Maybe it’s a personal challenge or physical challenge or just a hard goal you are setting for yourself.

I always focus on the solution. Find the positive. Break, if I have to, or press in even harder, and pray my way through it, making the most of your ride and setting my own pace. I am just beginning to do the latter more realistically. And, I am having to remember to be kind to myself along the way and also realistic with my own expectations and achievements, but to push myself too.

I had to remember today as I rode to look up and around and enjoy the gorgeous scenery of my ride, and feel the wind on my body, and though it was super strong, I simply down-shifted so I could enjoy the ride a little more and be gentler on my knee. However hard it got today, as in life, we must peddle on. It will get easier, the road and scenery will change, the wind will subside, and as you keep pressing on and staying the course, setting your pace, the challenge will become easier and you will become better and stronger along the way. That’s what derived from my ride today after pushing beyond hating hard!

May we ride with grace and integrity being true to ourselves and setting a realistic pace that allows us to derive the growth, strength and sometimes even pleasures we get to achieve from facing our hard times with an inner drive that gets us to our next levels in life.

May we all peddle on with grace.

Holly

How Suffering Perfects

So, what I think now is that I must start being obedient again whether or not I agree with my promptings. I fail and succeed at that, but I’m not new at this, and what an incredible gift, honor and privilege it is to be in tune with, and guided by, the Holy Spirit.

“He learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

This verse in Hebrews came to mind today as I had been suffering from both hurting my knee and missing an appointment to have fun because I had failed to following the leadings of the Holy Spirit. I hope this doesn’t sound crazy!

If Jesus had to be made perfect through suffering, I might have to too. These are called the “learning the hard way” folks. 🙂  I’d like to be obedient from now on, instead. No more suffering, small or large!

Today while I was praying, whining a bit, I heard, “Walk.” Now let me say I am not crazy nor do I have schizophrenia, but I often get little directions, like Holy Spirit cues. Many times I follow them and many times I don’t.  Today, I did not obey the cues on a couple of circumstances, and this morning, as I was suffering from hurting my knee while running, I felt I’d been a disappointment again, and gone on a did what I wanted to do without respecting what I was told to do.

I first of all delayed the instruction to walk a bit b/c I had things to get out before proceeding with my day. I guess God was bored with my lamenting and whaling about my past I am working through and trying to heal. “Forget about those things which are past, and heal. Press on! Get outsides and get some fresh air!” may be what he wanted for me instead. Clear your head. Fretting only causes harm according to the bible in Psalm 37:8. I am just really trying to work through some stuff and was letting it all out this a.m. and rebuking and releasing and binding up. The whole works. God was not into that, maybe. Walking happened, eventually.

So, I finish up at where I figured was a good enough spot, got my workout clothes on and headed for the bridge. I got to just about where I would cross the street and head up, and I hear, “Back.” Not wanting to turn back b/c I was coming to the best part of my walk – the water with the sunshine on it in the early morning – I proceeded. I began to smile because I knew what to expect and was so excited to see the early morning sun and to look over the beautiful Stuart waterway. I pressed on. I got to the top, and lingered a bit while aweing the beauty gratefully before I headed back. I did not want to go back the ugly roadway, so I walked through town, defying again.

I began to feel like this walk was way too long. I had plans that morning and felt I might have blown it. My legs were feeling strong enough so I thought I’d run a bit. I was good, but then felt something in my knee collapse a bit. Ouch! It brought me to a halt. I walked from there, almost home.

I return only to find out that the date I had planned on going on this a.m. to meet people for biking would expire in terms of my timing. I was to leave at 8:25 to be there on time, and I walked in at 8:25. I blew that! I got ready anyway. I jumped in the shower, and rushed to make it. I would not make it. My bike was a block away, I had to fill the tires, put on my bike rack and get it loaded. I also wanted to eat breakfast.  I just decided If I had to go alone, that would be acceptable, but not preferred.

Felt disappointed and bothered for God b/c of my response and lack of surrendering. He tries to help me, and I fouled it up! Mad! I was suffering in a way from what I just judged someone of doing to me, too. Oh how we are always reaping what we sow.

Well, I felt once I saw the time and realize my error I was living the verse in the bible that talks about Jesus learning obedience through what he suffered. By not listening, I not only hurt my knee, but blew my chance and fun with others I thought. Pissed a little. Disappointed at me for God. Not sure if he feels that. Now just thought he is infinitely patient so maybe he doesn’t feel disappointed, if he knows we’ll be obedient eventually? Not sure. May need a bit more patience with myself too, but need to step it up, too. I knew better!

Anyway, a hurt knee and missed biking tour were my morning sufferings! Bummer. It was a great day for a bike ride. I was pissed and disappointed at myself. Felt bad for God, like why do you put up with me? I hate disobedience in my students, and I do it, too, still – doing what I want to do and/or just overriding what I’m led to do by the Holy Spirit because I logically reason out of my instruction. I do obey too, a lot, but not always.

I made it to the preserve and there were no bikers around. I hit the trail and headed out to find who I was to meet. I’d never been on a trail like that – so broad and a secluded, long ride through the scrub at  Seabranch Presereve State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/seabranch-preserve-state-park. The bike trail extended way beyond that. I found my people in Peck Lake Park, eventually, gladly, too, about 15 – 20 minutes into the ride, but missed the end result of that walking path which looks very pretty, below.

Jupiter Group Obedient

 

Was so glad God had mercy on me, and I was able to successfully find them at a good spot, despite my being about 30 minutes late. Glad to have found them. It was a good time. It was a beautiful, breezy morning where I met new people, caught up with who I already knew, rode 18 miles (I’m on day 4 of committing to fitness:), and got to take in all new nature sights of 1 Preserve, 2 different parks, I hammock and a tortoise encounter. I opted not to join them for lunch being that I’d just filled up prior to the ride, and I headed home, instead.

Hobe Sound BikingHolly Tamiara River

After I got back from biking, I had a little ice cream and decided to head to the beach. Could use some cold water on my hot body, and it was beautiful beach weather. I jumped in the shower yet again and headed to the beach. Not having enough water or having good, cold water, I thought I’d pop into the store to get some when I was guided not to. But it’s hot and I will drink all this water and would like cold water too was what I reasoned with myself, like it was me against me. I went in against my will.

As I left, I felt grieved – I was disobedient, again, not trusting my instruction, I was swayed this time with reason, not desire, but a little bit of both.  I was heavy, feeling I’d grieved the Holy Spirit and didn’t quite understand. Perhaps I could have bought water at the beach.

Yes, it was small, but we know about the little foxes. If you have kids, think about even the littlest of things you tell them to do for their own good and they think they know better or want more, so they just defy you and do what they want to. It’s annoying and bothersome, at least to me! So, I get to the beach, no water to buy, make my way to a spot and start reading only to have my umbrella blow flat. It is not staying properly poofed-up for shading! I put it down and continue to read after smathering myself all over with sunscreen.

No time later, and here comes the rain! I put my umbrella back up, but I was literally holding it with one hand and reading with the other for about 25 – 30 minutes. Luckily it was not cumbersome at all. I finished a whole article on Neaderthals and a debate about their perceived intelligence. I rarely finish long articles, so I was glad to be stuck, and it pertains to my work a little, so it was relevant.  Shortly after the rain stopped, I’d finished the article, took in the wind and sun for about another 2 minutes and headed out. I packed up and saw my sweating cold water bottle, hardly having any water out of it, and figured I blew it, again. ISo much for my logic. God knows.

So, what I think now is that I must start being obedient again whether or not I agree with my promptings. I fail and succeed at that, but I’m not new at this, and what an incredible gift, honor and privilege it is to be in tune with, and guided by, the Holy Spirit. Its really awesome when you think about it!!

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths,” the bible says. God, our Father, is hear to help us and lead us and direct us in all of our ways – even to get water or not!

In All Your Ways Acknowledge Him

Every little thing matters, and he cares about us and is here to help us. It makes me sad to think how helpful he is and when I don’t listen, I’m grieved. So, despite my mess-ups, I have been reminded to listen because not listening takes me from his protection and the best he has for me!

It is a good reminder too, to be obedient, and to please him in that. God desires obedience more than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22.

I thought about when I left the beach this evening how we are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. My thought with that is to just be obedient to his promptings. That is honoring him. Why would He keep giving us what we clearly disobey or disregard or distrust? I have learned enough to know He is helping me at all times, and He has reminded me, today. So, thanks for the trials, Father!  Remembering. Thank you. One more thing – in considering I am able to hear from the Holy Spirit, what a blessing and an honor. Thank you, Lord, for that. Thank you for honoring me with your presence and ever present help and aid. I love you!!

What a WOW too, when you really consider we are guided by the Holy Spirit as born again believers. I love it. I am grateful to be reminded of this tremendous! blessing.

Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. Not sure what all he went through before he became obedient b/c that is not quite clear, but I have felt this before today even. It’s time to listen more reverently and obediently!!

I have learned when I follow the Holy Spirit it is actually more exciting because you never know what’s going to happen and/or it can spare you hurt, time and money lost or any unnecessary evil. Either way, it’s always good to walk in obedience because God has our best interest in mind in all ways.

Holly

Bankable Memories – A Birthday Surprise for Mike and a Training Surprise for Me

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊
What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training.

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was!

August 1

My ex-brother-in-law, Mike, had a birthday yesterday. He’s got to be pushing 70 or more – quite a bit older than my sister, he was.

Yesterday I thought to go and spend the day with him. In the morning, I had a flat and had to work out. Prayed about it in the a.m. with respect to having a confirmation of pwhat I was feeling. I opened the bible, and what I turned to was in Psalms, I believe, and it said something about “birthday feast.” Perfect. That settles it.

Went to take my car in and do my training, and by the time I got back it was after noon. I cleaned up myself and felt like I’d rather relax on the couch which is where I found myself sitting doing just that.

It was after 1, and the drive across 70 through FL is my most boring, hated, 3-hour drive, and with no radio!

I consulted the Lord again, what should I do? Do you really want me to go? I got a word from Isaiah that read, “Set you mind on the highway.” I was so excited because it was so clear and, I called Mike and let him know of my plan. Happily, he was out a dock bar having a birthday celebration with some friends and locals.  I asked if he’d be around later, and he said he had no plans. I told him was planning on coming over and taking him out for a birthday dinner! “Yah!” was his great response, in his cute Mike fashion that he does when he’s really excited. It’s so cute like a young kid.

I got off the couch immediately and gladly got about my business. Cleaned up a bit here, packed my bags and readied myself for the highway for the birthday feast celebration. I was so excited for Mike’s excitement and for having clear direction, my road trip woes were destroyed.

I prayed too the trip be shorter, somehow. When my GPS sent me a different way than I’d always gone it’s shaved a half hour off my trip! Yah!!

I got Mike a couple little silly things – a “birthday cupcake” which he requested. It was a chocolate muffin he called a “cupcake,” a card and some candy, a birthday balloon, and that was it. Not much. My visit, and the dinner, were the gifts. Thought he should have a card at least. Something to open! 😊

When I arrived, I sung to him after he opened the door for a quick happy birthday to you – he laughed and took it in.  We greeted each other warmly.

Mike wanted chicken parm which we eventually went out for and had a yummy feast! He was happy! I ate so much. He barely finished his dinner, because he had tacos for lunch he claimed, making him full, whereas I’d only had a tuna sandwich after an hour and a half at the gym, barely anything all day. I was ready to eat. Salad, bread, stuffed mushroom appetizer and a pasta and chicken dish. I ate almost every bit of it. A café latte and biscotti to boot. Mike was too full for a birthday cake, but had a “classic coffee,” as he puts it.  We chatted for some time. He shared how happy he was with the everything which made me pleased! Felt glad it was birthday feast success which was worth the trip over!

My plan the following morning was to train. My legs and knee felt good, gladly. Figured I would run first being it was about the time I would be running, 8:45, and I was working on proper conditioning. I was going for the distance for Saturday, 3.2 miles, a 5K. Planning on running around his neighborhood 4 times, according to him, would likely make that distance. Turns out, I ran 4 miles which was GREAT!!

My morning highlight, after the beautiful morning weather I enjoyed with coffee as I reminisced about Miami weather as a kid, was after making my first lap, seeing Mike in his garage waiting to cheer me on. What a great surprise!! I loved it. It made me so happy. I won’t have anybody at the event with me, so him cheering me on was really special. Bankable memories are what I began accumulating. Rich memories.

One of the things I realized with my run that morning was that like swimming I was originally having a hard time breathing which I’d forgotten – I’ve run little during these 3.2 weeks of training, and haven’t run much at all this summer! So, that was good to realize – that whatever my race, I will find my pace eventually, it may take me a minute or 15 to find my breath and then regulate it, but I’ll get there as long as I don’t panic! So, I felt my pace eventually, and it felt good. Mike even commented on my pace being good, but later told me to pick it up. 😊

I think I loved most what I came next. As I was going for lap two, I saw Mike heading toward me. I did not know it was him for a while. I’m not sure what sparked it, but the smile he had was the best I’ve ever seen on him.

It’s so rare to see a smile from him like that. It was great. Perfect! I’ve termed it one of those “bankable smiles.”

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was! It was joyous! I’m not sure why or what was said. Maybe it was my laughing at the recognition of it being him coming toward me on my bike! Thought that was funny. He eventually began too with his army chant, “left, right, left, right, left.” He kept on. We laughed. We got back to his place. He eventually pulled in the drive, and I ran on.

He continued to be outside cheering me on, off and on with his coffee in hand, and a wave or cheer and a smile. Something supportive. It was super! I will be so grateful for those sweet memories, always! Fun and memorable are what he made that particular morning of training. It was great. Memorable, for sure. Completely unexpected and fun! Thank you, Mike!!

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊

What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training. I won’t have anybody I know cheering me on at the actual event, but, I will see Mike in my head and hear him in my ears as I make my transitions, and I finally cross the finish line winning for myself the title of triathlete.

Me Bike Train 2

Cheers to you, Mike. Thanks, too, for the fun, bankable memories! I love you.

Holly