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)

 

~What I Learned From Watching “Frozen”…Repeatedly~ May 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:22 am
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“Let it go, let it go!!!”

These words ring out in my house on a daily basis, from the mouths of my babes or the television speakers.  The ladies of the house are hooked on Disney’s latest hit, “Frozen,” self included.  What’s not to love about a musical that features a dysfunctional family?!  Combine that with the deceptively charming villain, a simple yet wise talking snowman, a reindeer that reminds us all of our favorite pet & the love interest who struggles to communicate his feelings, (something most ladies can relate to), and you’ve got yourself a hit!  Not to mention the wildly successful single from the movie soundtrack…seriously, these Disney people are on to something.

Around the 27th time of viewing this movie, something Queen Elsa belted out caught my attention:

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

It was one of those “aha” moments…like, how have I heard this song a bazillion times and not picked up on the depth of this verse?!

How many of you feel stuck?  Who can say that your current circumstances have you feeling confined, unable to move forward…paralyzed by fear?  Perhaps you are so consumed by thoughts of failure that you remain at their mercy, controlled by feelings and not by faith.  So many of us sense a pull to do something great but we place limitations on ourselves that have us convinced we can’t possibly find success through that avenue.

Fear can manifest itself in numerous ways but I have found the hardest to overcome for me personally is insecurity.  I oftentimes struggle to believe that I have what it takes to do anything meaningful.  I don’t like to admit this, but I think someone else needs to hear it.  The truth of the matter is, those of us who have accepted Christ as our savior have the most powerful resource available by way of the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have to rely on our own abilities but simply trust that if God planted a desire in our hearts, He will equip us with what is necessary to see it come to fruition.

Self-doubt, past mistakes, worldly rejection…all of these things are powerless against the plan of God.  We are not meant to be prisoners of our own minds or criticisms of our peers.  So let me pose this simple question, “What would you do if fear was taken out of the equation?”  Fill in the blank from this statement:  I will not let ____________ consume me.  I will fulfill my purpose.

Now, let it go.  Lay down all those self-deprecating thoughts and accept the gifts and talents God has given you and put them to use!  You are more.fear is not master

(For inquiring minds…yes, “Frozen” is currently being watched in the background.)

 

~Chin Down, Eyes Forward, Arms Moving~ April 15, 2014

Last night I attended a track meet in which two of my children were participants.  Track meets can be fun to watch.  If you have 5 hours to spare, I highly recommend you attend one.  This particular meet was kinda rough as the skies had opened up just at the start and completely saturated the track, sand pits, runways….and bleachers.  Boo.

The kids were troopers though and went to work.  The majority of the runners participate in multiple events.  My two are distance runners meaning their events included the 1600,800 and 4 x 400 relay.  A total of 1.75 competitive miles.  As you might imagine, while the night drags on…and on….and on, they get a little run down.

Exhaustion sets in and it’s as if the weight of their heads is too much for their necks to hold up.  They give in to the pull and let their heads drop back, mouths wide open, sucking in air.

The sound of competitors feet, hard and fast behind them, tempts them to look over their shoulders to see just how much they are closing the gap.

Event after event, their bodies start to wear down and their once perfect form starts to deteriorate.  Their arms swing wildly as they approach the finish line one more time.

Myself and the fellow momma bears, (and 1 nana), scream frantically from the stands “Come on!!  You can do it! One more lap!!  You’re almost there!!”

But one coach on the infield caught my attention.  He was standing about 50 meters from the finish line and every time one of his kids would come by, this is what he would say, “Chin down, eyes forward and keep those arms moving front to back.”

Words of wisdom.  And I’m not talking about strictly for running.

Life gets tough and the burden of it all weighs you down.  You drop your head in defeat.  You start looking backwards, thinking the past was so much better than the present.  You decide you just don’t care anymore about doing things the “right way” and you start flailing.

Chin down, eyes forward, arms moving.

When you’re tired of trying and feel like giving up, that’s when you need to buckle down.

When the enemy is nipping at your heels, attacking you in every aspect of your life, keep your focus.

When it seems you’ve given your very best and it’s all for nothing, don’t lose your form.  Keep doing what you know to be right and true all the way through to the finish.

Chin down, eyes forward, arms moving.

That is how we will win the most important race we’ll ever run.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” (Hebrews 12:1-4 NLT)

champion

One more time:  CHIN DOWN, EYES FORWARD, ARMS MOVING.

 

~Dust Yourself Off & Get up!~ March 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 4:00 pm
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If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. (Proverbs 24:10 The Message)

Ok, so this translation is a bit of toe-smasher but it’s also an attention-getter.  (Don’t judge me and my made up words, you know I’m from the South and that’s how we do things.)

We are guaranteed to be met with adversity so long as we’re living in this fallen world.  A true judge of our character and our faith & trust in God is how we respond to life’s trials when they come barreling in out of nowhere.

Will you rise to the occasion and face opposition head on with the attitude of the victor that God says you are?

Or are you going to cower in the corner and suck your thumb, singing “whoa is me” while your problems overtake you and destroy your life?

I’m going with option #1.  I’ve never been much of thumb-sucker and I don’t see any reason to start now.  Besides, Scripture assures us  that “the godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.  But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” 

I’m not wicked, are you?

try again* Our study of the Book of Proverbs is winding down.  I hope you all are willing to see it through to the end with me!

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