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From The Inside Out

The things that often derail me could easily be described with these words. How can a man who has seen what I have seen, walked beside people through the valley of the shadow of death, and knows, experientially, what I know, still fall prey to the simple traps of the enemy?

“When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now…suddenly many activities, goals and even problems that seemed so important will appear trivial, petty and unworthy of your attention. The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.” 

- Rick Warren from The Purpose Driven Life

Wow, it has been a long time since I took the time to let my thoughts coalesce onto paper, or pixels, as it were. God, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to create a scenario in our lives from which it is impossible to make excuse for not spending time with Him.

Since moving to Savannah, GA we have been living off of an inlet on the coast, enjoying the multitude of sounds each night as we pass out and the little frog that greets Todd every evening when he takes his final constitutional in the yard. Little idiosyncrasies that one forgets about after living above 6000 feet for three years.

And it is out in the middle of nowhere. I mean we are a mile down a dirt road at that forks off from the end of another road. A full 40 miles on back roads to Ft. Stewart. I wake at 0445 and am on the road by 0515 to make PT formation. Showering at the Battalion HQ, I am in my office eating breakfast by 0800 each morning, with an hour and a half before work officially “starts”. And I eat lunch in the office as well, and have an hour commute home in the afternoon. Add it all up and that’s at least 4 hours each day that I can choose how I spend.

I am so out of it at 0515, I just plug in Dave Crowder and hope that some of it permeates my conscience, unconsciously, while hoping a deer doesn’t run out in the road. After PT, I feel nice and mellow and have been enjoying the first few days of The Purpose Driven Life (it was the only devotional in the office when I arrived). Having not run consistently in months, I get three days a week to pray for myself, others and myself while trying to catch up to somebody. During lunch, I “rest in the Lord.” And the ride home is a 5/60 drive. Four windows and a sunroof open and 60mph…no AC in the car. And the sweat and wind washes away most of the day.

And I am finding some guidance in the quiet.

Day Four, today, was about being eternally minded. Even with the periodic moments throughout the day to reorient myself, I don’t always do this well. Last week I had a great day, where I encouraged Corie with dreams and wisdom, things God was comforting me with, and hope for the future. And Saturday as we were finishing shopping for Jack’s party items, I yelled at her for not applying the parking brake. That’s insane. The parking brake. Sure, it’s a pet peeve, but how can the same person be edifying one day and destructive a few days later? I don’t understand myself, and hate that part of me that creeps up, and pulls the rug out from underneath me, and my marriage.

“The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.”

Petty. Insignificant. Trivial. Inconsequential. Minor. Trifling. Frivolous. Marginal. Negligible.

The things that often derail me could easily be described with these words. How can a man who has seen what I have seen, walked beside people through the valley of the shadow of death, and knows, experientially, what I know, still fall prey to the simple traps of the enemy?

I thought I wouldn’t trip over these roots anymore. I thought I had a handle on my perspective.

“Let us lay aside everything that hinders and the sin which so easily entangles…”

When I grow tired during a workout, I have to concentrate harder on each lift, each footfall. I remember sprinting so hard in high school track and field that I had tunnel vision on the last 100 meters of a run and lost all awareness of everything except how bad my lungs and legs burned. I could have easily tripped over my own feet and plummeted face first onto the track. But I remember reminding myself to concentrate on my form, lest I fall. I concentrated on running tall, the rhythm of my breathing, my pace and constantly reminding myself of the distance I was closing. I was running with the end in mind, and it kept me pushing myself.

“and run the race set before us.”

I want the petty things to not matter. I don’t want pet peeves, I want the freedom of “meh.” Some of you will get that one.

In college James Corbin put out some profoundly spiritual songs. One of my favorites:

“This world is not my home, but a beautiful place that I’ve never known, I’m like a fugitive on the run and when I die, my life has just begun, when I die, my life has just begun.”

Even as the enemy whispers my failures, my God reminds me of “the glory of it all is He forgives, for the rescue of us all that we may live, O the Glory of it all, the Glory of it all. After night, comes a light, he repairs, he repairs, it’s a new day, everything will change, things will never be the same.”

If, in my failures, I can prevent yours, then truly “all things can work together for the good of those who love Him.” Set your mind on things above, not things below. Seek first His kingship and His righteousness, which he has imparted to those who will accept, and everything else will be added, and in the end we will see clearly, as He sees, how trivial so many things really were.

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