Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~A Safe Life Doesn’t Require Courage~ February 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:37 am
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“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” (Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo)

Here’ the thing about courage, you only need it if what you’re about to do scares the ever-loving daylights out of you.

There are countless things we do throughout the course of a day that require little to no thought on our parts, they come naturally to us. We don’t have to weigh the pros and cons or determine the risk of that which is within our comfort zones. But you ask someone to do what is out of the ordinary for them, that goes beyond what they think they have the ability to do….that’s when the panic sets in.

That is when courage takes the stage.

It takes courage to make us step out into the unknown, especially knowing that there is a chance it will bomb.

I keep seeing a quote that says, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I’d like to twist that a bit, “What would you attempt to do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”

Failure is not a bad thing. It is not our enemy. Oftentimes our greatest successes come after a string of hideous failed attempts. I’ll tell you what failure is…an excellent motivator. Because each time you pick yourself up and try just one more time, you prove to yourself that you have what it takes to push through in the face of a challenge.

I have seen the aforementioned movie a few times and not once had this line stuck out to me. However, this weekend it was simply playing in the background while I sat sending emails and it was like a jolt of lightening when it came through the speakers. On exceptionally difficult runs, a friend of mine has encouraged me before with the phrase, “I can do anything for 30 seconds,” and it has powered me through MANY times. I think that’s why this particular line caught my attention.

20 seconds, enough time to tell your fears to shut it and say “Yes, here I am. Send me.” Or, enough time to decide there’s no room for courage in your safe life and reply, “No, I can’t possibly do that.”

mark twain courage

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.” (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT)


~The Thrill Is Gone~ June 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 1:36 pm
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This morning I went for a run with my usual running partner.  Initially, all was right with the world and we were settled in to a decent pace.  About a mile and a half in, my body started to resist.  Try as I might, I couldn’t will the cramps away nor could I outrun them.  At the 2.5 mark, I had to walk.

I left feeling somewhat frustrated.  It seems the more I try to do the “right thing,” the more I am met with opposition.  I try to eat healthy, for the most part.  I mean we all need to cheat once in a while!  I exercise on a regular basis & I drink enough water to hydrate a camel.  And yet I’m not reaching the goals that I have set for myself.

It’s enough to make me want to say the heck with it, grab a box of Krispy Cremes and chase them down with a 2 liter of Coke!! It’s really hard to keep at something when:

  1. It’s harder than you expected.
  2. You hit an obstacle.
  3. The outcome isn’t what you had anticipated.

While my current struggle is with health & fitness, I have been in this exact predicament in my marriage, in parenting and in my writing ministry. So what does one do when they reach a lull in life or ministry?  When the initial excitement wears off, you lose momentum & frustration sets in, do you throw in the towel?

Let me take you to my favorite chapter in the Bible, Hebrews 12.

  1. Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.  While this applies directly to sin, it can mean so much more.  What is it that you are struggling with today?  Is there something you can remove from your life that would help you to succeed?
  2. Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  Really?  One might ask how endurance is possible in the midst of fatigue and when the odds just aren’t in your favor.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
  3. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.  Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.  Doing the right thing is rarely going to be the easy way.  It is often the path less chosen and you may even find yourself on it completely alone.  Fighting for your marriage when it seems all hope is lost; staying firm in your parenting convictions when “so-and-sos” mom let’s their kid do it; sticking with your calling when it doesn’t seem to be doing anybody any good; buckling down on your health & fitness when you plateau & the benefit isn’t clear-none of these things are easy, but they are virtuous.

It is normal to become weary at any task throughout life.  Quitting is enticing, especially when the only alternative is to plow through that which seems impossible.  Let me assure you, eyes on Jesus=nothing is impossible.6a0a33efe69987c2c803a7c5e62bcfd7


~Depth Perception~ February 6, 2014

I have always been a bit of a klutz.  Mrs. Lisa might be disappointed to know that all those years of dance didn’t carry over into my every day life.  I’ve often been accused of having poor depth perception.  I get in a rush, cut corners and stub my toe.  Or I’ll have an armload of groceries and feel so sure that I can still squeeze through the door only to smack straight into the door jam and nearly topple over backwards off the porch.  Grace, is not my middle name.

As I thought about this particular problem, I realized that my inability to gauge the depth I am working with is connected directly to my need to rush.  If I would take the time to assess the situation, looking at the logistics if you will, then I would likely save myself from a bloody toe, busted backside and a plethora of multi-colored bruises.

With this same mindset, I wondered if I have ever been guilty of undervaluing a person’s depth.  It didn’t take me long to realize the answer would be a resounding yes.

You know that when we look at another person, we are getting just a glimpse into who they are.  We see what they want us to see.  We then make our judgments as to what kind of person they are and how “deep” they may be.

In my recent self-reflection, I found that I am far more complex than I would ever have admitted to myself, much less anyone else.  It also afforded me the opportunity to discover much of the same about others.

You, like me, probably prefer to think of yourself as being non-judgmental, but on some level, we all are.  We form our opinions of others based on what we think we know.

So-and-so never speaks up during meetings, prayer times, etc so they must not care about what’s being discussed.

I have never seen Jack or Jill shed a tear, they are so insensitive.

He/She always walks around with that tough, I-could-care-less expression on their face, they could never understand what I’m going through.

Then something happens and you are placed in a position to find just how wrong you were about that person.  It may be they suddenly pour their heart out in a small group, bible study or some other intimate, more personal environment and you see them in a whole other light.  Perhaps they hear through the grapevine (also known as the gossip chain) that you have been through the exact same struggle they are currently faced with so seemingly out of nowhere, they seek your counsel.  The parallels in your lives remove barriers that you never knew were there!

It is my desire to know the people the Lord places in my path on a deeper level.  I don’t want to fall in the habit of believing the facade that is presented is all that there is to any one individual.  In order for others to feel comfortable with allowing us to see their depth, we must first be willing to let ours show.  The sooner we drop our preconceived notions about one another, the quicker we can develop real, meaningful connections that will lead to spiritual and emotional growth.

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

(Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 10 & 12 The Message)

Maybe it’s time we take a look at how we measure one another’s depth so that we can create bonds which are not easily broken.  When we take the time to properly gauge situations, we can navigate “sharp corners & tight doorways” with ease.