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Most any day I want, I can go for a run.  Running clothes are always waiting in my closet, or more likely, in the pile of clean laundry hoping for the honor of the closet but knowing from experience it’s unlikely.  There are always running shoes in the mud room, and when they wear thin, I simply purchase a new pair.  Water isn’t a problem, either.  I take some with me, get a free cup at a fast food joint, or stop at a drinking fountain along my route.  I don’t worry about getting shot, mugged, or bombed on a run, and with the exception of a few minor and temporary twinges, I haven’t been laid up by any injuries.  I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself.  My only complaints are fatigue and having only an hour to run on weekdays.  Mind you, I’m fatigued because I choose to forgo sleep for something I love and I only have an hour to run because I have 5 human blessings waiting for me at home to help get their day started.

… he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.  Proverbs 11:25

I’m thankful for the running bubble – and all the other blessed bubbles – in which God’s allowed me to exist, and I like being in them.  What I don’t like is when they get too soapy and isolating, causing me to lose sight of the world beyond.  When that happens, I don’t genuinely appreciate my blessings, I lose perspective, and I miss the offerings of the world outside my existence.  I forget the most important things are intangibles – such as God’s love and forgiveness – free for our acceptance, a most expensive price already paid on our behalf by Christ’s death.  I let the worldly priorities of my small sphere misguide me … I’ve purchased handbags for happiness and allowed traffic jams, a broken smart phone, and a clogged toilet to define my demeanor.  Sometimes, I wonder if I’d be closer to God if I didn’t have a car, a smart phone, or modern plumbing, but I’m too weak to try it … and, I want friends to come to my house without fear of an outhouse.  Every person lives in at least one bubble and many of us enjoy several … bubbles of good health, basic needs, family, safety, a strong marriage, comfortable finances, education, and love.  We can choose to ignore the world beyond our existence, but doing so would rob us of sincere gratitude for our blessings, valuable perspective, and the opportunity to grow and serve others.  A person given a cancer diagnosis must look at his or her pre-diagnosis days with newfound appreciation and longing.  Someone dealing with a marriage under attack probably hopes above all for a strong, united bond.  Parents of a special needs child – despite their gratitude and love for their child – must wish for an easy day.  A child in extreme poverty must wonder what bubble exists for him or her.  I struggle with that one, but I’m certain God holds that child in His palm.  When we are authentically aware of the world beyond our tiny sphere, we’ll have an attitude of gratitude and can ask God to help us comprehend the needs of others and discern how He wants to use us to better His world.  Hallelujah for our bubbles!  Enjoy them, but keep them free of too much soap.

Dear God, please help me look beyond myself to the needs of others.