Why you have to slow down

Without health it is hard to live life well.

That's why one of my focuses this year was to learn to run well. I've run for years but I've never really had goals, followed a programme, joined a club or worked at it.

This year as part of learning to run well I set myself a goal of completing a half marathon. I finished my first one after 4 months of training at the end of April. Since then I've completed another one and managed to clock sub-30 5k and sub-60 10k. I know for many runners these aren't big things but for me they've been major milestones on my "run well" journey.

Running has taught me about so much more than just how to complete a half marathon. The lessons I've learnt putting one foot in front of the other have spilt over into the rest of my life.

When I started my running program it featured a number of slow runs. These runs were so slow that I could walk them and still finish the distance at the suggested pace.

This concept was completely new to me. Before this every time I ran I tried to run as fast as I could that day.

In the past, running well meant running fast. 

Now I have fast days when my breath struggles to keep up with my legs and easy days when I jog along and have to keep slowing myself down.

On these easy runs I get quite a lot of time to think. The other day the bible verse Hebrews 12:1 came to mind:
So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
Let us run well the race set out for us.

Whenever I've read this verse in the past I associated it with winning. Surely, the only way to run well is to win? But what if the writer meant that to run well is to finish even if it means crossing the finish line at a snails pace?

What my easy runs have been teaching me is that in order to run with perseverance there are times when I have to take it easy and times when I have to push till all I can do is walk in the house and collapse. 

I find it easier to push myself than to show restraint.

But without restraint injuries happen. The race is delayed, aborted. 

I'm trying to embrace this in more than just running. I recently wrote about how I couldn't blog anymore because I was burnt out in life. In retrospect I can see that I'd been running hard every day instead of showing restraint some days. 

One way I'm learning to do this is to give myself more easy days, permission to lie in bed late, read books, watch movies and eat popcorn. At work I'm scheduling in more time to learn instead of just pushing, pushing, pushing. 

In an old blog post by Ann Voskamp she writes, 
Life isn’t an emergency. It’s a gift.
Life’s so extraordinary it warrants going slow, held in reverential awe.
Only the slow see their lives. Which makes it seem longer and richer.

Restraint is not the norm. It seems easier to show how good I am at something then to hold back something in reserve.

I'm learning that if really want to live well (and not only run well) I need to slow down sometimes so I can run the race set out for me by God.

I’m learning that it’s not about doing more, running faster but about enjoying the run, appreciating the beauty around me and finishing well.

What areas of your life could applying restraint help you live better?

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Why you have to slow down by @wendyvaneyck {Tweet This!}


One of my favourite books is on sale today only on Kindle for 0.99USD. It's about so much more than Down Syndrome. If you like memoirs this one is worth a read. *Affiliate link*


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Words to pray if you need Jesus to be your strength today

I don't make a living from blogging. It's a hobby. Something I do because I love writing and this gives me a reason to write consistently.

I've looked into turning this into a business but since I primarily write about finding hope in God when times are tough it just hasn't felt right. Every few months I make about $10 as an Amazon affiliate when you guys buy a book I've recommended. And I get all giddy because it means I've got a little stash of cash to buy a few books on Kindle sales.

A few months ago I signed up to webfluential (follow this link to sign up and I could get a bit more book money). I didn’t think anything would come from it and then recently I was approached by a pharmaceutical company to post a photo of me with my sourced strength written on my bicep (evidence of how weak I am physically).

I've never done a sponsored post on social media before but I thought, 'let me give it go.' I knew right from the moment of reading the brief that there was only one answer I could give to the question, what is your source of strength?

When my husband, Xylon, was receiving treatment for cancer over the period of two years people who often come to me and said, “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t be so strong. Where do you get your inner strength from?” Much of the time I woke up each day and went through the motions in a blur but the only reason I had the courage to wake up each day was because of faith in Jesus that he redeems all things. My faith is my source of strength; it is what makes me a strong woman, and one who is not overcome by fear of what the future holds.

Originally I'd wanted to use a photo with "Jesus" written on my bicep.  When I went to write the copy for it I put on my corporate marketing hat and went, "That will never get accepted." So I changed it to "faith" because I figured the story about Jesus helping me through my husband's cancer diagnosis and treatment were more important then writing “Jesus” on my arm.

I sent the picture to my Webfluential account manager and it took days to get an answer. She apologized and said it wasn't normal and that the post was with head office she wasn't sure why. I’m guessing that Jesus had something to do with that.

Right at the beginning, I decided that if I was going to do something for money it needed to fit in with what I believed and for me I really couldn't think of another way to answer a question about my source of strength. I tried to think of something else but I couldn’t because there is nothing, which is as strong when I'm weak, as Jesus.

These are some of the words I prayed when Xylon was going through treatment that gave me the strength to do the next thing:
Jesus you are our crutch and our hope.  You hold us up when we’d rather curl up in a ball and rock ourselves to sleep.  You make us smile when we feel like frowning.  When we feel alone, Jesus, you remind us that you are still there with us. Even on the days when we don’t feel you are close we know that you are because you’ve promised to always be there.   You have promised to give strength to the weary and change mourning into dancing – and we believe you do, you will, and you have. We ask that each day you will show up with new mercy, with enough strength for the next 24 hours.
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Words to pray if you need Jesus to be your strength today by @wendyvaneyck {Tweet This!}


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3 bible verses to hold onto when life gives you lemons

I love how the internet connects people. Today, I'm sharing a guest post from Trisha Carter, a young woman from the island of Barbados. It's so great to share some of her "well" journey here as well as 3 bible verses you can hold onto when life is more sour than sweet.


Life has become a journey of ups and downs. A journey of good and bad, easy and difficult that we probably will never get used to. We become familiar with everything going well, that when the bad time comes, our faith is shaken. We forget how God brought us out of our previous difficult time into our good. This is expected.

Many times, I ask myself, "Is everything really working for my good?" "Is God really working it out in the background?" Where is the well in my life? We sing the song, "It Is Well" but is it really? I know these are quite a number of questions but it is the reality that we go through everyday when we are faced with trials and tribulations.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)

My prayer is always that my faith would not fail. It's so easy in the bad times, to have doubt and unbelief. It's easy to think that God has probably forgotten about us or that what He promised, He is no longer going to fulfill. However, these thoughts must not overcome us. Every thought should be cast down and brought into captivity.

Where is my well? Where is your well? 
Our well is found in the One who says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Our well is in God. I remember the many times when I felt life was turning upside down. 

I remember the many times that life threw lemons in my direction. However in those times, I reflected on the words spoken such as:

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy o be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
 Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

When life threw lemons, I made lemonade. I turned my situation around by reminding myself of the promises of God. 

This is not to say that it would be easy and after saying these verses, everything is going to change instantly. God works in mysterious ways and He is using our present situation to form us into what He has called us to be and into the image of His Son. We're in the pruning process.

It's ok! I admit the pruning process is not easy but it is worth it. You may not see the light at the end of your tunnel right now but be assured that it is there. Be assured that even though it does not seem well, it will be well because God is working on our behalf and He is for us.

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3 bible verses to hold onto when life gives you lemons by @TCLifeBlog {Tweet This!}


About the author of this guest post

Trisha Carter is a young woman from the island of Barbados and is the founder of The ChristianLife Blog. She is a lover of God and seeks to use her gift of writing to encourage, empower and transform those who read for the glory of God. "It's not enough to write for the mundane but to write for purpose". Find her on Facebook and Twitter here.


If you're new here and don't want to miss a thing, 
be sure to subscribe to I Love Devotionals blog updates
Thanks for visiting! 

Make sure to look out for the link to download my ebook, Life, Life and More Life, in your verification email.