Last week I headed to a mountain.Yes, a literal mountain but for me it was also to a spiritual mountain. One that I had been desperatley trying to dodge and run away from for some time!! Nestled in the rolling hills of Rome, GA I attended Pursuit 31. I didnt know stepping onto the campus of Winshape that my world would be completely rocked. I didn’t know that the subtle tears that started the first night would soon turn into a monsoon of tears that made ugly cry seem pretty. And I didn’t know that I would encounter God in such a way that I would have no choice but to face myself. Before I go any further take a minute and watch the video that was put together from this past week… I’m not sure that anything can really describe the experience that almost 200 ladies encountered on that mountain but this was pretty darn close!!
So I’m guessing most of you are wondering…. why the title? And to be honest it doesn’t quite sound the same typing it as it did coming straight from Bianca Olthoff but in my head that phrase continues to ring. We hear it all the time….. run your race, finish strong, don’t give up but as Bianca uttered that simple phrase, “Run your race” something resignated deep in my spirit. I had come to Pursuit 31 looking for answers and looking for relief. I had spent most of the week crying and asking God to heal a brokenness that seemed so deep that I couldn’t even find the words. And although I wish I could say I came home full of answers to some of my hardest problems, what I did find was probably more important. I found a loving Father that met me right where I was at. He met me in my brokeness and reminded me I was created for a purpose, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, that it’s ok to be in certain seasons (seasons don’t last), that he knows the hairs on my head, that I am unique, and above all that I was His. And then it all tied together. That week through speakers, through scripture, through songs, and through that small voice on the inside of me it was repeated over and over, “to not believe the lies.” Some how a lie that crossed all platforms of my life had snuck in and I believed that I wasn’t good enough. I know it sounds crazy for some of you reading…. it even sounds crazy for me typing. I mean, do I really want people to know how real my struggles are? It automatically strikes fear deep into my heart that I may have to be real and say, “I don’t have it all figured out and that my life isn’t always as happy as I want the world to believe.” I mean Mary Marantz hit it right on the head when she talked about the real story versus the instagram story. It’s soooooo much easier to post the smiles. But then again I realized the hardest part of sin or even a lie is the way it WANTS and NEEDS to stay hidden. Because if it can stay hidden, it can hold you in a bondage and that bondage can not only keep you from healing but it can and will likely keep you from the place you are destined to go.
Although my life wasn’t spiraling out of control, I was stuck in the comfortable spot of life and anytime it got hard or I faced adversary I turned inward. I didn’t share my battles with friends because I didn’t want the label of being “just another friend with another problem.” So as I hid my struggles, I simply pulled further away. And isn’t that just like the enemy, to have us so remotely to ourselves that we then believe another lie, “you truly are alone.” I had struggled and I mean seriously struggled with what I felt I had been called and designed to do. I have believed for years that I have a unique calling on my life to cross boundaries. Where some see color, religion, denominations, race, or any other dividing factor that seems to separate us, I SEE PEOPLE. I don’t have a particular type of person that I seem to befriend, the variety of people that enter in and out of my life is truely extreme. I remember as a teenager at one point my mom told me if I placed all my friends in a room, there would likely be fights everywhere, simply because my range of friends was extensive. They didn’t have to live in a certain place, believe a certain way, or dress in a certain line for me to want to connect with them. And that same quality that defined me as a teeneager has followed me as I have grown into an adult. I’m a HUGE believer that God purposely designed us all uniquely but we all have the same goal…. to have a relationship with him and to tell others of that relationship. I believe that God has given us all different gifts that we are to cultivate for his glory. I believe that as a body, we each have a different jobs but that our jobs result in the same outcome. And because I believe all of those things, I’m more likely to say (even if I don’t agree with you), I do accept you where you are. And as great as that quality seems, it has also brought some of the biggest heartaches of my life. I see division after division, where people are determined that only their gifting/calling is the correct way and it simply divides. And so the trap remains, the gifting that is so unique to me, that was designed into me just as my eye color was, that keeps me surrounded by people also at times keeps me completely alone.
And so in the subconscious of my mind I hear…. “the gift the you believe is from God brings division so either it’s not of God (which I REFUSE to believe) or I’m not good enough. How else could a simple truth of love cause division??? And as quick as I think it, just as before, I’m reminded of truth from scripture “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. The thoughts and even the struggles I war against are not of this world so why would I try to fight them with natural weapons. When the lies come and the enemy tries to remind me I’m not good enough, that’s when I need to remind him of what I KNOW to be true!! That’s when, by his spirit, I need to draw on those words that live in my heart that are from HIS word!!
So as I come home from a week of tears (and for anyone that knows me you know I DON’T like to cry), I come home renewed in truth and the fact that I WILL run my race!! And when my time comes to an end on this earth I will know that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” because that is what I have been called to do!!
And a HUGE shout out to all our amazing 2014 Pursuit Conference sponsors, the went above and beyond!!!
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