Temperature down around 10, blowing winds, snow on the ground … not precisely when most people think to go out for a run. But there I was all bundled up against the elements out there doing my thing, getting some time away from the noise and the constant calls and requests that are part of a busy life in sales and management. This is why I run, to get away, to have momentary times of escape where I can get away from a life that seems to be filled with critique.

We all receive them, and sometimes it seems constant; the whole world seems to be in critique mode. In sales it comes as “you’re off 0.03% of your sales budget”, “your margins are way too low”, “you need to get out and sell more at higher margins”, and only on infrequent occasions do you get a good critique, somebody telling you what an exceptional person you are and how good you are doing.

We turn on the TV and try to watch a football game, and all we hear is how bad the quarterback is, about why didn’t he do this and why doesn’t the coach do that. It’s like one constant critique, and let’s not even get into politics!!!

What if there were a better way to approach life? What if we could discover a way to turn the critiques that will come our way into a message that fills us with wonder and a way to twist words that look and feel damning into something useful?

As I ran on this cold and windy day, taking a break from work, I began to wonder if our world was full of critics who were continually critiquing everything that happened in life and if they knew how to give positive feedback which I feel is of much more benefit to mankind as a whole.

Finding Joy in a World of Critics

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) This verse has always intrigued me because it doesn’t fit with the rest of the passage. In the midst of a passioned plea to produce fruit, Jesus comes out of nowhere and instructs us to embrace his joy.

In those times when the critiques of this world fill our every moment, and sometimes cause us hurt and anger because people don’t see the sheer brilliance in what we are doing, these are the times that we have to find that place that God has created for all of us to escape to, that place where once again we can be entirely and overwhelmingly filled with joy, inescapable joy.

Living an ultra life is to overlook the critics as there is no time for critique to take the place of joy.

When we shift away from the constant critiquing that our society seems to wear like a badge of honor today, we are able to begin to take stones out of our bag and leave them by the side of the trail.

Nothing speaks about leaving the past in the past like complete joy. This joy comes in believing you are good and you were perfectly designed and that even if you’re not perfect in all you do that you are still pretty darn impressive. Once you are able to do this, then you are able to look at how you critique others and realize how narrow-minded you are when you can look at somebody else and think you are above them or better than them or more educated than them. It is at this moment when the weight of the world begins to no longer affect you and joy becomes complete. The added bonus is that you become lighter on your feet, able to dance around the rocks coming downhill through the scree, and you trip over roots and rocks less often and have joyous runs with the One who created you.

Over the last seven years I have lost over 80 pounds and gone from a sedentary lifestyle to now running ultra marathons. Along the way I have discovered my love for writing, for encouraging others and for living a lifestyle of constantly pushing myself beyond what I think my limits are. Visit Mike at MikeHornerUltra.com.
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Over the last seven years I have lost over 80 pounds and gone from a sedentary lifestyle to now running ultra marathons. Along the way I have discovered my love for writing, for encouraging others and for living a lifestyle of constantly pushing myself beyond what I think my limits are. Visit Mike at MikeHornerUltra.com.

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