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Welcome to my blog: Perils and Pearls

My heart's desire in this endeavor is to offer support and encouragement to the hearts' of women. That you would feel accompanied - not alone - as we travel together and find the jewels in our sometimes perilous journeys. 



A year ago, I shared a blog post (Recovery While Climbing) about the May tradition where I live in Durango, Colorado that brings cycling pros, as well as just biking enthusiasts, from all over the country and beyond: The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. The origin of the bike verses train competition started with two brothers in 1971. The following year a group of 36 riders started the yearly weekend event, which has grown to a couple thousand cyclists competing in multiple events, who bring families and draw spectators, filling up our little town to overflowing into nearby towns!

 

Now in its 52nd year, Durango started swelling this past weekend with the cyclists who know they need some time to acclimate to altitudes between 7,000 ft to over 10,000 ft! [Note: links to more info on our 2024 IHBC can be found at bottom of post.]

 

So let’s get to my title, shall we? As I shared in my original post about the quest to finish my first Iron Horse, (the year I turned fifty and my first year living @ 7,000 ft!):

It is all about the training, which is all about developing endurance for a fifty-mile ride that includes 2 mountain passes above 10,000 feet!

I was committed to spin classes, customized for the cyclists who had registered for the IHBC, which usually start at various gyms in the late fall/early winter before the upcoming May event. The first instructor I had, Cindy, gave me several key phrases I have carried through the years since that have been very applicable to goal-reaching in various domains of my life.

 

The catch phrase that most resonated with me that I heard first from Cindy was when she was taking us on a climb in spin class, she would repeat this invaluable instruction:

To endure longer and/or steeper climbs, you must master recovery while climbing.
That means finding the pace that will allow you to slow your breathing and effort load for some recovery, while continuing – rather than stopping -  to meet the uphill challenge in which you find yourself.

Practicing that concept during my IHBC training, allowed me to not only finish the grueling ride, but continues to serve me in challenges, large and small, I’ve faced since then.

Being or becoming a consistent finisher requires the development of endurance. Afterall, what significant challenge have any of us faced that wasn’t more like a mountainous marathon than a sidewalk sprint?!

The Apostle Paul understood the perfect analogy of the endurance and persistence needed to run a race, whether it is a sporting event or our life mission on the course in which we each have a lane that is uniquely ours.

...let us run with patient endurance and steady active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith... Heb.12:1-2

Are you in an uphill climb right now in your race? Is your exhaustion, weariness   tempting you to just stop and maybe get off the track?


I recently had surgery (the reason I’ve been quiet for a bit re: Perils & Pearls blog), and these past four weeks since the procedure have definitely felt like an uphill climb, with the initial days feeling like I was going up a steep mountain pass!


I have needed to tap into this concept real time: Finding the pace, on even an hourly basis,  in which I can stay mentally on course with my larger purposes while also keeping my body in a place to steadily meet the immediate mission of recovery from surgery.


The blessing in the challenge for me: The surgery rendered my Type 3 giddy-up attitude null and void! It was immediately and repeatedly apparent to even my thickheadedness that I needed a lot of help – for every detail of basis daily living! My self-reliance waved the white flag in the first hour I was home from the hospital! After that surrender, it became easier, and less painful, to accept my state of need and receive the generous, thoughtful, loving care from my family, my people.


Hmm...It seems a repeatable theme in my faith journey that God uses difficult circumstances such as this surgery as governors on my gas pedal to manage my pace. (Yikes! Did I write that out loud?)


Meanwhile, I am endeavoring to see my forced rest as an opportunity to luxuriate in more reading time, reflection time, prayer and worship time than my schedule normally allows.


Hmm...I am reminded of what I have experienced to be true: Those practices are what fuels all my recoveries so I can stay on (my) course, and practice patient endurance and steady active persistence as I keep my eye on the prize: fulfilling His purpose(s) for me.

(A deep breath...back to resting now...)


I invite you to consider...


Can you put a name to the uphill climb you are in presently?


How might recovery while climbing play out for you in your current situation or season?


Is it instituting or reclaiming a few daily practices that cause your systems to slow and replenish without having to stop your forward movement?


Maybe being intentional about time spent regularly with a person or people with which you feel safe and known would facilitate your recovery while climbing?

 

If you would like to follow me on this adventure, and receive notice whenever I post something new, please subscribe. (It’s simple – at the top and bottom of every page on the Perils & Pearls blog site. *No need to be a 'member.')


**A word about POSTING COMMENTS: I LV engaging with your feedback/responses to my writings! But, if you run into tech obstacles when trying to post a comment, please feel free to do as so many of you have done: Send me a private message using the "Let's Chat" option on the Perils & Pearls Home Page.


And if you know people who would benefit from the support, and/or enjoy the short writings, please share the site or a post with them. Heck, just share it on your social media…Let’s grow it together! 


Blessed to play a part ~

g


Re: the 2024 IHBC in Durango: Related events will commence in the next couple of days, with the main events on Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26.

 

Click here for the IHBC website

 

Read more about the history of the IHBC here

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This song by Phil Wickham, (Sunday is Coming) says it so well! If you are not familiar with this song, go to my music page on my Perils and Pearls website and find a sample of it there.


Here is the beautiful and powerful message in the lyrics:


A great light dawns in Galilee

Some say mad man

Some say King

Wonder working rebel priest

Jesus Christ the Nazarene


He knew well what it would take

To free us all from sin and grave

A perfect man would have to die

And only He could pay that price


Friday's good 'cause Sunday is coming

Don't lose hope 'cause Sunday is coming

Devil, you're done, you better start running

Friday's good 'cause Sunday is coming


So He let those soldiers take Him in

As His friend betrayed Him with a kiss

There before the mocking crowd

Like a lamb to the slaughter didn't make a sound

Then He carried that cross to Calvary

And He shed His blood to set us free

As the nails went in and the sky went dark

The redemption of the world was on His heart


Friday's good 'cause Sunday is coming

Don't lose hope 'cause Sunday is coming

Devil, you're done, you better start running

Friday's good 'cause Sunday is coming


Then He breathed His last

And bowed His head

The Son of God and man was dead

With bloody hands

Tears on their face

They laid Him down

Inside that grave


But that wasn't the end

That wasn't the end

That wasn't the end

Let me tell you what happened next


The women came before the dawn

To find that stone already gone

When they looked inside, the angel said

"Why you looking for the living among the dead?"


He's alive, He's alive

Hallelujah, He's alive

Give Him praise

Lift Him high

Hallelujah, He's alive

He's alive, He's alive

Hallelujah, He's alive

Give Him praise

Lift Him high

Hallelujah, He's alive

Hallelujah, hallelujah

Don't lose hope 'cause Sunday's coming

Hallelujah, hallelujah


Now Jesus reigns

Upon the throne

All Heaven sings

To Him alone

We watch and wait

Like a bride for a groom

Oh, church arise

He's coming soon.

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I was around thirty years old when it hit me...With a smirk on my face, I said to myself: “The title to my life story is surely going to be: The Perils of a Passionate Woman!” By then I had already experienced in more than one of the domains of my life, the myriad ways my singular way of embracing life could be received or rejected, or just misunderstood.


This quote by Henry David Thoreau, gave me words for what every sensory cell of my body, heart and soul knew:

I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life

As an unenlightened Enneagram T3/One-on-one subtype, it didn’t even feel like a choice. I had no idea of any other way to live life but passionately. But little did I know then that my education on the many denotations, let alone the myriad connotations, of this word passion was only just beginning...


Since this is a blog post, not a book, I will just tease you with this. Here are the somewhat chronological chapter titles I have created for my life story:


· Passion as Protection

· Passion as Rebellion

· Passion as Intensity

· Passion as Blinders

· Passion as Excuses

· Passion as Suffering

· Passion as a Revenant

· Passion as a River


Suffice it to say, these titles represent the evolution - and revelation - of passion over the span of my journey. If you look up the word passion, the top two definitions could be the bookends of my passion education:


1. an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; or devotion to some activity, object, concept, or person


2. the suffering and death of Jesus


But first, I needed to gain some awareness...Awareness of the shadow side of my hard wiring for living out loud. What part of being a passionate woman might be also a part of my false self? What part of my intensity was counter-productive in becoming who God created me to be – bringing Him glory and partnering with Him in His work? Hmm...Gaining that awareness could be its own book!


But allow me to jump forward, onto the other side of the birth and infancy of my self-awareness. What I discovered was a whole new world previously unknown to me:

How others experience me – and the chasm that can lie between my conscious motive and the message received at the other end!

I had learned in a study of Jesus' Temptation in the Wilderness that what He faced are the primal temptations we all face; and they are all about misuse of power. All of us, regardless of our particular wiring or Enneagram Type, have personal power – our own superpower, if you will.

But, when we overuse or misuse that power, we give up the ability to bring our special goodness to the world. Instead, living out of this backside of our strength, results in levels of damage to ourselves and those in our relational circles.

The blinders were coming off...I began to see my misuse of power as a Type 3/One-on-one. Let me share just one example: Type 3’s have a natural ability to read a room, to quickly assess where the ‘juice’ is. We are drawn to be with other passionate people. What could be the problem with that?


Well, it all comes down to motive. For T3’s, we are always driving for approval, recognition – admiration even. So it can be a slippery slope when we gravitate to the movers-and-shakers circle at the party. We have a tendency to work so hard at getting that approval that we can end up ‘morphing’; that is, transforming our public persona in the moment to be whatever will get us acceptance into the au courant crowd.


What’s so bad about that? Well, I can tell you for sure that behavior pattern doesn’t move you towards living an authentic life, let alone getting your genuine need for love and affirmation met. It’s all counterfeit.

Hmm...Doesn’t that sound like something that would need taken down (or dismantled) to build something truer? Something God would shine His light on as a roadblock for living out of who He created me to be? Wouldn’t I better bring Him glory by using my intuition in social settings to key into those who feel overlooked and give them my laser-like eye contact and full attention, asking questions that show my interest in their story?

Ahhh...finally some light coming through the darkness! I actually began to understand the beauty and gift of repentance that I’d read about in biographies of the great faithful ones over the centuries of Christendom. But He had more for me regarding this educational journey about passion...


...The setting of the revelation was quite conspicuous. It was Lenten season during an excruciating stage of a more-than-a-decade-long physical condition that produced a pain cycle that almost did me in. And as anyone who has dealt with chronic pain knows, the ripple effect of the physical setting off alarms in the neural, and the brain then sending shutdown messages back through the nervous system to the body...well, it’s a total takeover of your life. Something had to give. I was in a forced tap-out.


Meanwhile, as He does, God was at work in the unseen...A dear friend shared a Lent devotional with me she thought I might appreciate. It is by Spiritual Director, Author and Transformation Center Founder, Ruth Haley Barton.


Every page captivated me, even while I was being undone by the conviction of the relentless truth in her words. Here’s just a sampling about suffering:

“[Lent represents] …the season of the spiritual life in which God is dismantling the false self in order for the true self to emerge more fully...this season feels like death, and in fact it is—the death of that which is false in order for something truer to come to life.... even Jesus had to die in order for the will of God to come forth in his life...one of the great paradoxes of our faith—that in order to really live, we must die. That before we can reign with Christ we must first share in his sufferings. That when God begins to do a new thing, old things must pass away. That in order to experience resurrection we, too, must die.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the only thing we stand to lose is the false self, which is not real anyway. The only thing passing away is that crusty old thing that is no longer useful.”

That is but a drop in the proverbial bucket overflowing with the divine messages I received over the six-week course of these daily devotions! Let’s just say, dismantling became a very personal descriptor of what I was experiencing; and yet, I felt a deep abiding peace that God’s plan is always good, and His goal is always wholeness. He will sustain me.

I was reminded of something I had read that had the potent pointedness of truth to penetrate my anguish and ultimately gave me hope for some purpose to my pain: Many times, pain is the invitation in... I had accepted the invitation...

During this personal desert time, I found myself wrestling with this theme of faith paradoxes repeatedly: die in order to live, false self must die to reveal true self, old must pass away to experience new, surrender or sacrifice precedes revelation. Biblically basic, but not so simple when you are living in the liminal space between the old and new.


But He was directing me through the devotional, and it was in those pages I had the aha:

Hmm...the suffering of Christ is referred to as Christ’s Passion or the Passion of Christ. Could it be that my suffering might be translated into the passion of Geri or Geri’s passion? There it was – the revelation of a word I had gotten so cozy with: Passion - but now seen through an entirely different lens.

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1Peter 4:13
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him... Hebrews 5:7-9

I knew the full story of following Christ – that in this world I will have trials and tribulations; but now it was about choosing to stay with Him through the suffering. Choosing to find Him in the midst of the pain and uncertainty.


Then the moment of clarity:

Just as Jesus accepted the suffering of the cross to obey and glorify the Father – who was making a way for us to have restored relationship with Himself - trusting God for the ultimate outcome of defeating death and being resurrected...My part here is to bring Him glory even in my suffering, knowing He will sustain me, even as He refines me – separating the chaff from the wheat, the old from the new, my false self from my true self – trusting Him for ‘Resurrection Life’ on this earth!

If you refer back to my chapter titles, you will notice the one about Passion as Suffering is not the last one. Thank God! He has brought me through so much since those days of chronic pain being my constant companion.


And I have experienced such joy from the fruit of accepting the invitation to ‘go in’ with Him, to give the Potter permission and access to remold the clay in ways seen and unseen, increasing its beauty - with cracks and all - and usefulness in His hands.


And just as Ruth Haley Barton said, the only thing that has really ‘died’ is that crusty old self that is no longer useful! In fact, I’m living deeper than ever and still sucking the marrow out of life! And now when I am anticipating being in a social setting, I grow excited about the opportunities I may have to use my superpower to help shine a light on someone in the background, or enjoy having a deeper conversation one-on-one with an introvert.


The last chapter title you see up there is Passion as a River. This is Resurrection Life for me – to be available to Him, ready to join Him in His work, flowing in the unforced rhythm of His grace [river].

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:37-38
 Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Matt 11:29

As we commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection in the coming days, might you consider reflecting on a few questions Ruth posed?


What needs to die in me in order for God’s will/purpose to come forth in my life?


What new thing is God doing in my life that requires some old thing to pass away?


Where do I sense God wanting to teach me obedience through the things I am suffering [– be it physical, mental, or emotional pain, relational heartache...]?


[Note: This is a repost of my writing during last year's lent season. It is still relevant for me as I daily endeavor to walk this out. I hope it is helpful for you in some meaningful way.]


If you would like to follow me on this adventure, and receive notice whenever I post something new, please subscribe. (It’s simple – at the top and bottom of every page on the Perils & Pearls blog site. *No need to be a 'member.')


**A word about POSTING COMMENTS: I LV engaging with your feedback/responses to my writings! But, if you run into tech obstacles when trying to post a comment, please feel free to do as so many of you have done: Send me a private message using the "Let's Chat" option on the Perils & Pearls Home Page.


And if you know people who would benefit from the support, and/or enjoy the short writings, please share the site or a post with them. Heck, just share it on your social media…Let’s grow it together! 


Blessed to play a part ~

g


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