Thursday December 27

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4300′

“What is wrought in us by the power of God the Spirit, is not to glorify us in our own eyes, (or) to make us independent of our head, Jesus; but to glorify Him, and keep us in close union to, and sweet communion with Him”…William Mason 1803

 

As I have said before, Mushing is the Object Lesson the Lord is using to teach me eternal, spiritual truths.  It teaches me and forces me to look at my many limitations that I otherwise tend to ignore and push away instead of bringing them to the Mercy Seat and to see how MUCH depends on the Lord’s Control to bring everything together for that “Perfect Run”.  These sins  prevent me from being the type of musher I want to be, especially when I forget Him and try to make myself  strong, joyful, confident, able, courageous, smiling, patient, consistent, positive, forgiving, encouraging, serving, fearless, loving and an expert caretaker and coach for my team that He has entrusted to me.  I really want to not just lean hard but also lean joyfully on the Sovereign and loosen my grip on trying to orchestrate things that only the Lord can control.  I want to live and mush my team in His Peacefulness, without my typical stress!  The team must function as one unit, we need appropriate weather and trail conditions, safe travels to the trails, and I need to pack all the things we’ll need.  The health of the dogs and me are in His hands, as is our safety in the wilderness.  The team needs to work well together and ignore distractions from the suicidal raccoons and little bunny foo foos hopping through the forests!  I can’t hide from these limits and sins… they rear up and stare me down on the trail, discouraging me with the laugh of a devil. 

Taking this concept from the worldly to the eternal, I see my total INABILITY to please my Heavenly Father by myself.  I CAN’T DO IT even imperfectly and fleetingly, let alone to the degree of perfection that a Holy God demands!  I fail miserably when I come before Him without the Covering and Mediation of Christ.  Like a starving, dehydrated wanderer, I need His Living Bread and Water to Uphold me!

But instead my flesh strives even harder to be Independent and often looks to my number one idol (myself) to become a better musher and make things happen the right way with my dog team and our journey down the trails.  I exert more effort and time ahead of time researching the weather forecasts, trail conditions, necessary equipment, appropriate and efficient packing strategies, nutrition for myself and my dogs…the list never ends… I work hard during the year and save my vacation, foregoing other hobbies or ways to spend my money.   I go without sleep (I LOVE to sleep) and force myself to push on in our training to get the miles we need to get ready for this race.  I pack, unpack, repack, pack, unpack, repack, etc.  I see that all of my attempts and effort and work are NEVER ENOUGH.  The most important things are completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) OUT OF MY CONTROL!  I am DEPENDENT on the weather, the snowfall, the dogs’ and my health and endurance to run, the truck working and money to buy gas at the most basic level.  What I have noticed  is that even when all these details DO come together “according to my plan”, my ENJOYMENT of it is diminished and replaced by my STRESS and exhaustion!  My JOY and SMILE is replaced with a headache and frown!

 

Like someone who tries to work their way to God through any number of religions, looking to better themselves enough to be acceptable to God, it too is IMPOSSIBLE for them to control!  Their efforts leave them not only still separated from God in their sins, but unhappy as they realize THEY CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH for long enough.  They are stuck in a deep drift and need rescuing!

Sometimes the Lord brings control out of chaos (like parts of  this last week of training) and shows me His Perfect and Capable Hands coming together to remove the many roadblocks that pop up in this sport, and we all (my team included) have A Very Special Run on Beautiful Trails, most times in spite of all my efforts!  Through no credit of my own, I Dance On the Runners” to songs on my iPod which “randomly” pop up at the perfect time to comment on this part of the run, under trees glistening with more snow and frost than I dreamed possible for them to hold!  Vistas come into view in between the clouds and forests for us all to enjoy- even the dogs look around!  The teams’ steps are in sync (even with their variety of sizes) and they are focused straight ahead to get around the next bend in the trail which only leads to more perfect snow conditions and amazing beauty!  I am able to drive the sled while capturing the most beautiful images to hold onto these memories for years to come and share a small part of the experience with my friends.  I dwell on the Goodness of the Lord- not just on His many blessings of this day and of this run, but on HIM– and realize this run has become Pure Worship of my Savior, who I KNOW made all of it possible without me, by His Glorious Grace!  I am closer to Him and like Peter, want to stay on the mountain tops and enjoy communing with my Lord, but I know these runs are short-lived.  It’s time to go back down and care for this beautiful little team He has entrusted to me, to go about the responsibilities and work He has called me to do, but to do so with an enlarged and encouraged and inspired heart, having just been Refreshed at the Feet of the Savior.  Then with an exlamation point from above, we pull up to the truck and I look down at the GPS to check our mileage and it shows ___.0 miles… again! 

This is “Mushing On By Grace” !!!!

 

Looking back in my life, the Lord has been teaching me this basic lesson over and over again, here a little and there a little, but I haven’t grasped it yet.  This time He gave me a whole week of teachings to show me my constant need to be close to Him and to be enabled through His Holy Spirit to live like He is calling me to live.  He gave me a whole week of striving and stressing and working independently to reach my goals and gently and patiently let me fail again and again.   He gave me a whole week of glimpses at my unhappiness when I’m living apart from His closeness and love.  He gave me a whole week to see my Joy return again and again when I simply dwell in and dwell on Christ, Who Is Able!  Oh so simple of a concept, but so difficult for a sinner like me to remember and practice in the moments of my hurried life.  Thank You for this past week, Loving, Patient, Gracious Lord Almighty!  May the truths You taught me and the memories of the crazy object lessons You used be with me for the rest of my life, and be used by You to bring Real and Lasting Change to my soul and life, to Your Glory… AMEN.

 Now, what’s next?????  On the road again today… stay tuned !

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