Sometimes I think I would like to be a runner and then as I consider it, I set it aside for walking. Nonetheless, I respect and admire the diligent runners I see cranking out the miles on local trails, 5K’s, 10 milers, and marathons. The consistent discipline to build up their endurance and strength is something to be respected.
I recall when our daughter was homeschooling her oldest child and the educational requirement in their locale was to be able to run a mile. Despite never being an athlete, she decided she would teach and train herself at the same time she did so with her son. She discovered some of the benefits of running and continued to press on running 5K’s, a 10 miler, and a half marathon.
Running when trained to do so in healthy ways can offer health benefits for many when it is practiced consistently and safely.
For many of us, running is not our first choice for exercise or sport, but we all have a seemingly innate instinct to run when danger is present in any form. (We only hope our legs will carry us fast enough and far enough to avoid the impending danger.)
Sometimes we try to run from our past. We want to leave it behind us never to recall or experience any aspect of it again. Maybe it was because we were insecure and didn’t achieve. Maybe it was because we lived on ‘the wrong side of the tracks.’ Maybe it was because our family was a mess and everyone in the neighborhood knew it or maybe we had lived a life of abuse and trauma.
The problem is that we can’t really run from our past no matter how far or fast we try to run.
“You have to take it for what it is and realize it’s a part of you.”
That doesn’t mean it needs to define who you are now or keep you from moving forward. Because of the cross and the Lord’s abundant grace and mercy, you can experience wholeness and become a vessel of beauty and love if you will stop running.
So often we run in multiple directions until we feel more lost than ever. Some of us try to do that even after we have become a Christian due to lack of a true understanding of the grace, forgiveness, and healing we are granted. The enemy can tempt us to believe that we are the exception to what we hear about grace and mercy because we are too bad, too messed up, or have failed too many times.
Those are all lies from the liar himself…Satan.
When we become a Christian and the light of Jesus then resides in us, it can be hard for others to see that light if we allow the past to continue to define us and try to keep on running.
“The trouble with drowning in the mess of your own life is that you’re not in any shape to save anyone else. You can’t be a lighthouse when you’re underwater yourself.”
When we know we need to stop running or cease drowning, acknowledging it is the first big step. The second is to tell the Lord that we know that is true. Of course He has known it all along, but saying it to Him has more power than you may think. It’s when you start a conversation with Him (that means you listen to Him too) that He begins to set your feet in the foundation of the truth of who He has created you to be. It is then that the transformation officially gets underway.
Can it be scary?
Yes, but not nearly so scary as the futile path you have been on. He will be with you each step of the way and He can also help you find someone who has made the journey before you to walk some of the path with you.
There is no question that life can be wonderful, amazing, beautiful, fun, and exciting, but it can also be treacherous, lonely, scary, and dangerous. God knew that after the fall in the Garden of Eden. It’s why He planned for the cross and the story of grace and mercy. It’s why Jesus said He would send the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to help us.
It can be easy for us to prefer to stay in safe places and take no risks, but in Lisa Wingate’s book, The Prayer Box, she reminds us again of who God is:
“You are not a God of endless harbors. Harbors are for stagnant sails and barnacled wood, but for the sea…the sea is fresh rain and cleansing breeze and sleek sails. You are a God of winds and tides. Of journeys and storms and navigation by stars and faith.”
You send the ships forth to serve their purpose, but you do not send them forth alone, for the sea is yours, as well.”