Tag Archives: appearances

bragging rights

Melissa Yeager, Co-Author of awriteheart.comFour years ago a group of seven other people and myself decided we should try to do the Tough Mudder, which for those of you who aren’t familiar is a 12 mile long military-style obstacle course. It entails what you might think of as “normal” obstacles – like scaling 12-foot walls, army crawling under barbed wire, and jumping from three stories into water…But there were also what I consider to be the “extreme” obstacles, like jumping into ice water and running through hundreds of dangling live wires that electrocuted us as we ran through them. We trained for ten months (we didn’t practice the electrocution part!), and in September of 2012 our team traveled to Maryland and completed our race.
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Our particular race had two electrocution obstacles – one that I described above, and another which I think was way worse. I started through the obstacle and thought that it wasn’t too bad, but then I heard the sound of a grown man screaming…and I knew I was in trouble. I got through, after being thrown around by the travelling current of electricity, and that man that I had heard was still standing there waiting for the rest of his team. I looked at him and shook my head and said, “We PAID for this!” and we laughed at the irony.

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Why DO people pay for those races? Why do they subject themselves to the torture? I’ll give you two words: bragging rights. Sure, our team wanted to accomplish the feat of finishing, and it was fun to do it was a team. It was great to be in the best shape of our lives. But an equal component of us wanting to do that race was bragging rights. When I wear my Tough Mudder finisher shirt outside my house I can be sure that most of the time I will get a few glances, if not a full blown conversation. People are intrigued by a person who would do that to themselves on purpose, and so it gets attention. The race is far gone now and I’m kind of over it…but at first it was really fun to talk about it with random people.

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This gets me thinking about all of the things we do in front of other people in terms of serving and obeying God, and about our motives. We serve and take selfies of ourselves doing it…We post quotes and verses on Facebook that we read…We share stories about what our kids say about God or church or heaven. We make our walk with God public, which in many ways is a very good thing, but we need to be careful that we are directing others to who GOD is instead of to who WE are. I like to underline what I think are great passages in books and then take a picture and post it – but I wonder if that’s more for God or for me and my image? Am I bragging on Him because of something great that He showed me, or am I bragging on myself for reading it? I need to be careful.

At some point in all of our walks with Jesus, there must be the realization that we cannot do anything good without Him. The truth is that we can’t do ANYTHING without Him, because it is He whose will holds us together. The sin of others should pale in comparison to what we know is in our own hearts, and because we CANNOT save ourselves in any capacity, we should be humbled and broken before our Holy God. And the bragging rights fade.

As we live our lives for Christ “out loud” as a reader so aptly put it recently, we need always to consider who we are bragging upon.
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We are lost, and our Lord Jesus finds us.
We are blind, and He gives us sight.
We are sinners, but He is good.
We are in need, and He is our provider.
We are guilty, and He is our defense.
We deserve punishment, but He is merciful.
We are hungry, and He is the Bread of Life.
We are weak, and He is our strength.
We walk in darkness, and He is our light.
We are wavering, and He is our Rock.
We feel alone, but we can be assured that He is with us.
We strive for more, but He is enough.
He is EVERYTHING.

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Brag on Jesus, because all of the good in you is HIM in you.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]For HIS glory, Melissa[/custom_headline]

a right heart @ awriteheart.com

a right heart

20141109-DSC_9572-EditThe Creator God so often gives us a physical picture of a spiritual truth. The heart is no exception. Throughout my career as a nurse in a cardiac intensive care unit, I’ve seen my share of failing hearts. One patient in particular was young, in his 30s, and looked perfect on the outside, handsome even. But he was truly dying on the inside. His heart functioned at a fraction of its normal capacity, and he could no longer live his life. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t walk. His sick heart had finally caught up with him.[line]

862MhrKWfJwmlEm3TcpgEQyw2M921D7gfMSR-cVVKMEI knew within few minutes of hearing her speak that she was suffering from a heart that was broken. It doesn’t take long to recognize the symptoms if you know what to look for. As her story unfolded, I learned that this introverted and kind woman had been abandoned at birth and sexually abused as a child. Now, at 27, the results of these wounds were an inability to love and think correctly when it came to relationships and self worth, deep discouragement, a fear of being out of control of situations, and an uncontrollable anger. On the outside, she looked perfectly fine, perfectly beautiful. Yet, on the inside she was very broken. Her sick heart had finally caught up with her. [line]

All of humanity is broken – born broken. The Bible tells us that we are born into sin, genetic and passed along from Adam and Eve all the way to us. Along the road of life, some early and some later, the brokenness of others influences our own, and our brokenness compounds. It keeps us from thinking and thus living whole, and we are imprisoned, held back, made blind by it.

[pullquote type=”right”]We, the patients, take the doctor’s job and try to heal ourselves.[/pullquote]Many of us don’t completely understand this truth. We live as though we’ve got it together, but our God says otherwise. Our hearts are deceptive and sick (Jeremiah 17:9), and out of them comes our sin (Mark 7:20-23). If our desire is a right heart, a right mind, right thinking, and right living then we must stop looking to ourselves for answers, and stop blaming others for what is in us. We so often trust ourselves to “make a change”, when the only One who really sees into our hearts is our Creator. We, the patients, take the doctor’s job and try to heal ourselves.

Christ, our Great Physician, came to heal the wounded in heart (Luke 4:18), which is ALL of mankind. Psalm 147:3 says that He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds! If we can trust Him, and believe that He alone can heal while we cannot, the purging of our brokenness can begin and our sick and wounded hearts can be right with our Lord.

Commit with us to this journey toward a right heart…Commit to honesty, to transparency, to real change. Commit to allowing Christ to reveal and to heal all things. We won’t promise that it’ll be comfortable, but we will promise that it will change you forever. We will also promise that we’re with you for the long haul!

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

~Because He Lives, Colette & Melissa~