By: Amanda Carter, MA, LP
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7
On the morning of July 4th, my husband and I got up in the wee hours of the morning to make our way to Buckhead in order to run the Peachtree Road Race. We have made this an annual tradition, us and 35,000 of our closest and smelliest friends.
I’ve noticed we have the same “mood” surrounding the race each year…meaning the night before we ask each other ‘Do we really want to get up at 5 am?’, then when we hear our alarm go off there is a strong inclination to just turn it off, roll over, sleep in, and have a lazy holiday.
However, once we arrive at MARTA, we see other runners with their bibs on and some in super fun red, white, and blue attire. Our moods begin to improve a bit. When the race begins, there’s lots of music, laughter and fanfare. Many people are on the sidelines cheering runners in their own unique ways from offering water, holding encouraging signs and billboards, and – our favorites -the priests throwing holy water on you and shouting, ‘Blessings’!
All this energy helps us keep up the momentum towards the finish line. We start to pay more attention to our surroundings and less attention to the sweat dripping down us. Then, when the race is finished, we wait in line to pick up the coveted Peachtree Road Race t-shirt - the PRIMARY reason we got up at 5 am. Well, the t-shirt and the brunch we eat as soon as the race is over.
And - you know what - the t-shirt and the brunch are much more appreciated having successfully finished the race instead of staying in bed.
Whether literal or figurative, we all have our races to run. And, truth be told, most of us have thought about turning that alarm button off and just sitting the race out because somewhere along the way the race gets hard. Certainly, just like in a physical race, we need to be wise and take rests, notice the things that keep us “hydrated”, surround ourselves with encouragers, but it is important to not quit!
Every day, each of us does ‘hard things.’ We just forget about those, and then when some big thing or race pops up, we think we aren’t prepared. We don’t have what it takes…
But, most of us are stronger than we think we are; we may just need someone to encourage us to keep going.
By: Amanda Carter, MA, LPC
Four hundred years…the time between the Old Testament and the tangible presence of Jesus in the New Testament. It is reasonable to assume at that point, people had forgotten about a promised Messiah. And to be fair, 400 years is a really long time to wait! Just think of the past 2 years of living in a pandemic and how you have felt with all the unanswered questions and seemingly endless waiting it has brought. I would encourage you during this season of Advent to carve out time for both reflection and anticipation. Reflect on how you are feeling. Is there anything you have been waiting for and perhaps even given up on ever coming to fruition? Has this led to disappointment, discouragement, or even bitterness? Bring all of this reflection to the One who willingly came to earth to bring hope. Then, anticipate. As we age, we often give up dreaming, particularly big dreams. But Jesus’ birth shows us that he likes to bring light into darkness and awaken our dreams again. I personally enjoy going through this practice as I look at Christmas lights. Have you noticed that people seem to want to put up their trees and decorations earlier the past two years? I think in part, it is because we are desperate for beauty and joy, and something about those lights reminds us of the Light of the World. The lyrics of Matt Redman’s song, “These Christmas Lights” comes to mind-
“Sing again, the sacred song of
How that star lit up the sky
And how the world, lost in the darkness
Felt the hope of, Heaven’s light
Open my eyes; O heart believe
The wonder of, that Christmas night
Be born in me”
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
By Amanda Carter, MA, LPC
We as Christians are now in the season of Easter, the 50-day period starting on Easter and ending on Pentecost Sunday. It is a season of celebration and renewal as is the natural season of Spring. Also, in a possible season of renewal – our world. To me, there appears to be a renewed sense of hope among us that perhaps we are coming to the end of the pandemic that has gripped the world over the past year.
What can you and I do to both guard and guide as we move into this season of renewal? Here are some practical ways to practice renewal/celebration which are meaningful:
My encouragement to you is to engage in some of the above practices and experience the renewal your heart likely desires.
Happy Season of Renewal!
Legacy Strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.