Run in the Race!

Last year my running had dwindled down because we bought a duplex then we had to fix it, and then clean and clear the other house so that we could downsize; on top of that I still had to work. I had to give up something so I cut down on my running. Every once in a while I ran a 10K, but mostly I ran a couple of miles or ran an occasional 5K.

This year, I decided to start running again. It was hard. I struggled to run a couple of miles. I felt like giving up and using the time to do other things, but I persevered. Today I ran 12 miles. It wasn’t a fast time, but my time didn’t really matter; what mattered was that I didn’t give up.

I think it’s the same way with our Christian walk. Sometimes things come up in our lives and we feel like we have to give up something so we give up church. Then we get used to staying in bed on Sunday mornings and doing other things with the time that used to be spent in going to church.

It’s hard to go back to church after being away for several months or several years, but we start by going to one worship service. Then the following week, we go to another worship service; and even though we might feel like staying at home, we have to get up and go to church.

Why go to church? We go to church because we need to be encouraged by other believers; we need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Also, as a believer and follower of Christ, we are all a part of His body and a body cannot function if some part of it is missing—we all need each other (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

So if you have been away from the church for a while, then my encouragement to you is to start going. Let this Sunday be the first of many Sundays to come! Remember that our Christian life is like a race— it doesn’t matter how fast you run, all that matters is that you stay in the race and that you finish!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Opening and Closing the Pool

It’s hard to believe that summer is finished and now we have to close down the pool again—it makes me really sad for some reason. Probably because we didn’t really use the pool this year due to the mild weather we had.

This morning, I looked over at my neighbor’s yard and saw that he had closed his pool already. This is not a big surprise because in our neighborhood, he’s always the first to open his pool and the first to close his pool; but what was shocking is that the people behind us also closed their pool. Oh oh—we’re late this year.

As we drove to the store today I noticed that somebody’s pool was still open. “Oh good,” I thought, “We’re not the only one with our pool still open. It’s not that bad!”

It’s funny that there is a lot of pressure to maintain certain standards in the community—when to close the pool, when to cut the lawn, when to pull weeds, etc. In a way, it’s like peer pressure, but a good kind of peer pressure—the kind that forces you to do positive things.

It made me realize that when we are falling “below standards,” we tend to look for others who are “in the same boat” just so we don’t feel so bad about ourselves.

Galatians 6:4 says, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (NLT).

I think it’s great that my two neighbors are opening and closing their pool by a certain date—they are good examples for me to follow.

Now, I need to make sure that I am opening and closing my own pool, and I shouldn’t look for people who aren’t opening or closing their pool just to relieve the guilt I feel because I haven’t opened or closed my pool.

I think the same principle applies to our Christian walk…

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Pressing forward

I started actively running in early January of this year. Part of the reason I started was because I didn’t like the way I looked. I thought I had gained a lot of weight, and I was afraid that if I didn’t do something about it then I would continue to gain weight. I didn’t realize how much damage I had done to my body—I had eaten so many unhealthy foods– quarter-pound hotdogs, chocolates, cookies, ice cream, fried chicken, hamburgers, etc. I thought that since I had been running consistently for a couple of months (and I had stopped eating fatty foods) that I would have a flat stomach by now, but after years of gluttony I can’t expect to shed fat “overnight.”

Then I thought about how Christians are supposed to be like Jesus, but that process can take a long time. For many years, I barely read my Bible, and I did not have a desire to go to Sunday school—I only went to Sunday morning worship. Although I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 19-years-old, it’s only been since October of last year that I’ve been reading my Bible and praying consistently.  Progress takes time—sometimes a lot of time. We need to be patient with ourselves— we will fail and “mess up,” but we need to forgive ourselves; then we need to focus on the next day rather than looking back.

I may want a flat stomach now, but I have to be consistent with my workouts and not expect immediate results. In the same way, I have to keep pressing forward in my Christian walk—I can’t expect to be like Jesus unless I keep reading and studying His Word, and I have to keep in mind that change will be slow. I can’t get discouraged because things are not changing as fast as I would like—I just have to keep focused on the end goal. Hebrews 12:1-2 has the following, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

I’m alive!

I never thought I would ever say, “3 miles? No problem!” or “6 miles? I can do that!” There was a time in my life when I could barely run 15 minutes on a slow setting on my treadmill and one mile was a long distance for me. I compared my running with my Christian walk. There was a time when reading one Scripture verse every day was difficult and I only prayed at meal time. I can truly say that God has “shook me” so that I take my relationship with Him more seriously. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am able to accomplish more now than I ever had before.

I was weak in every aspect of my life— my marriage, my teaching, my time with God, my time with my children, my personal discipline, my self-control, etc. Everything I did was based on my own efforts and strength—there was nothing supernatural about it. The turning point for me was when a voice in a dream said, “You are weak… it [demonic forces] will overtake you.” I knew then that I can’t do anything without God—I needed to build that relationship with Him—I couldn’t continue having occasional conversations with Him when it was convenient for me and my schedule.

My desire is to stress to you the importance of reading your Bible and praying to God everyday (even when you don’t feel like it). Now I read a one-year Bible in the morning with my husband then pray, and I read a certain book of the Bible at night. I say this not because I want to appear “holy,” but to say that if I can do it then you can too. I do it because I need to grow spiritually strong—I don’t ever want to face a spiritual attack without proper “armor.”

In our reading today we came across these passages: “You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God: Your towns and fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed… The LORD will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain… If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways…” (Deu 28:2-6, 8-9, NLT).

I think if we have a sincere desire to follow God and we build that relationship with Him by reading His Word, praying to Him, and studying the Bible, then He will bless us. I know He has blessed me more than I can even imagine possible. He has breathed new life into my withered body and dying spirit and I can truly say that I am alive.

Today I ran 13.11 miles—all things are possible with God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti