Thursday, September 12, 2013

Honoring others ♥ Honors God

When I think of the word "Honor," what comes to mind is a person or event that represents extraordinary courage, strength, will or perseverance. It could be keeping the memory alive of someone who impacted my life and inspired me to the the point of change as they left a piece of their character behind for me.   It may also be an event that may have taught me a lesson or the value of life.

In 2012 I trained for 8 months with team in training to complete an Ironman Triathlon.  In my training, when my body ached, when I didn't feel like getting up early to train, to jump into the cold pool,  ride a 100 miles on my bike, or run 20 miles with the team, I thought of the person I was training in honor of.  My honoree was a dear friend named Raymond Souza.  He is a cancer survivor. His battle was with Hodgkin's Lymphoma which included a stem cell transplant. Today he is cancer free and I'm still in awe of his courage, endurance and strength it took to go through what he did, as well as his family.  His wife Katrina is someone I consider as an authentic friend. As for Raymond, although I don't know him as well as I do his wife, I admire his characteristics of a husband and father.  He is a man worthy of being honored and well, all I can say is that the unique qualities he possesses is something many men lack today. 

Since my Ironman in 2012, I've done a lot of reflecting on the important things in life, such as how I spend my time, how I view my health, family, relationships but most of all, the daily events that have shaped me into who I am.  When we are faced with hardships, we can either allow those hardships harden us into loneliness and isolation or soften us to seek something greater than ourselves.

The last several months has been a season of healing.  A healing of my heart.  A healing of my spirit.  A healing of my mind.  It's been a relentless searching of the intentions in my actions, which has revealed what needed to change in my life and in my heart.  I sought out my real purpose in this life and what truly happens when it's over.

Life has thrown many challenges my way and as easy as it is to give up, give in, and quit, I ask myself, how does that serve others?  Because that is why I really am here.  I'm here to love and honor others.  By doing so, I honor and glorify God.  To do this with the right heart and right intentions is what really counts because ultimately - God sees everything.  He can't be fooled, so Tyza, be authentic!  

Often during my Ironman training I gave praise to God.  Looking back, I don't think I grasped what it meant to give Him the honor and glory of my abilities, and most likely I took them for granted. It saddens me because I lacked the humility to see that. The accomplishment would not have been any greater, but I think it would have had more meaning and I would have an awareness of the presence of God in my accomplishment.  BUT.....that is what is so awesome about life.  We learn.  We grow.  We can do things differently.  And if it's in His plans, I will have new opportunities to do such things in the future.  The astounding thing about Jesus is His door is always open 24-7.  He never abandons us, never leaves us and as Psalm 84:11 says, " For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." 

As I do things today, whether it be working out, spending time with others, sitting in traffic, doing homework, sitting in class, sitting in a doctor's office, receiving good or bad news, or just waking up in the morning, it's a new opportunity to honor others and honor God.

Over the last few months, several things have been occurring in my life that are shaping my life to the path of serving, loving and honoring others! It's been an exciting time. And each day I have another opportunity to thank God for His blessings.   

A week from now, I will be participating in a 175 mile bike ride, called the MS: Waves to Wine.  This bike ride is to benefit the research of Multiple Scoliosis, help raise funds for those who suffer from MS or those who may someday be diagnosed with it.  This particular cause has more meaning to me because it not only affected the life a wonderful person I had the pleasure to know but, it also touches a person I work with. Since I've know this woman, whose name also happens to be the same as the Linda who touched my heart, whenever I've seen her she always has a smile on her face, always asks how I'm doing with genuine care, has never complained about her condition and each year participates in a MS walk in San Jose.  I find her just like my friend Raymond inspiring.  Inspiring because they do not be allow the challenges they have faced or will continue to face rob them of living.

God places people like them in our lives for a purpose.  People who don't understand the mercy and grace of God may think diseases, disabilities or even death is a cruel punishment. I don't see it that way. We need Raymond's and Linda's to help us endure life.  Without seeing God work in their lives, I would lose faith and hope.  Through people like them I find the will to persevere through difficulties and learn to give thanks for what is placed before me.  It teaches me to be content with what I have and let it be enough.  It teaches me to grasp tightly with everything that is inside of me God's love and His promises of an eternal life. It helps me remind myself that this life is only in preparation of the next; don't get cozy, don't get comfy, because this is not my final destination.

Through every ugly circumstance I had to endure, I can see the good in it and the purpose it provides.  The best way to show my thankfulness for what God has led me though and to do God's work is by sharing how I overcame it with God leading me. I have to stop asking "why" and remind myself to ask "what am I to learn from this?" 

Today, when I choose to do an event or acknowledge a person by saying, "I'm doing this in honor of....", what I am saying is that they are not held above God, but through this person or event, I am thanking, honoring and glorifying God for allowing such a person or event to impact my life the way it has.  One way we see Jesus is through one another  

Today I am thankful that I can continue my journey in Staying FIT for Christ - Mentally, Physically and Spiritually.    
Be Bold.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

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