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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crossing over to the dark side

I have officially crossed over to the dark side. I absolutely love to run. I love that moment when I push my body hard enough that my brain becomes completely silent. The only sensations are the feeling of my feet hitting the pavement, and the burning of my chest as my breathing becomes labored. I love the wind whipping through my hair and best of all - being united with God's heart in worship.

For many years when I read in the Bible "Be still and know that I am God." I thought that meant to sit still, but even when I sit still I cannot make my mind be still. Even in prayer, my thoughts wander. I can be earnestly praying about a heavy need and next thing I know I'm planning my next reading group or worse, thinking sinful thoughts of some sort. Running is the only thing that I have discovered as a way to make my mind be still.

I started running 6 years ago when I was having a rough time in my marriage. I ran so that I did not have to think about all the garbage in my life. I ran to escape my life. But slowly the running turned into listening for God's opinion of the situation, being still enough in my mind to hear his voice. It dramatically changed my life, and I loved it. But then I started working and could no longer manage to schedule my run into my life. That first year of teaching is a killer.

This summer I have mostly done workout videos in the house because of the heat, but on these cooler days I am tying on my shoes and hitting the pavement. I am working on an interval plan that will have me running three miles in 12 weeks. Today I upped my running time and did quite well. Today I remembered how much I love to run. And how much easier it is to listen to God when my mind is not cluttered.

I figured out today that I could shuffle my Pandora stations to have a wider variety of worship music to listen to as I ran. That was cool. But the moment that really got to me was as I was running and listening to Tomlin's "How Great is our God" a cold wind began to blow. In perfect synchronization with the music's build, the wind increased until the trees were all bending over. I saw in that moment a picture of the day when all of creation will bow before our King. But what was even more amazing was that as the music shifted into "The Wonderful Cross," the wind continued to blow in my face and whip my hair into my eyes, but the trees were barely ruffled. It reminded me that Scripture talks about the Spirit as a "Great and Rushing Wind". As I listened to the music, God reminded me all over again that He has purchased my life to use as He wills. I need to be surrendered to Him and listening closely for directions from the One who set me free.

I will say a word of caution - as the trees were bowing, I got pretty lost in worship and instinctively closed my eyes and raised my hands. That's not a wise decision if you are running down a roughly paved road. I did not fall, but the stumble was pretty big. Some of you would have fallen from laughing so hard. The guy watering his yard was pretty tickled, and he doesn't even know me!

I love to see worship becoming more and more a part of my everyday life and not something that is isolated to Sunday morning. I love this new intimacy in my encounters with God. Even though I would love to stay in this moment with God, maybe wander over to the piano and continue worshiping, I have to get dressed and head to work. I do want you to know, especially you Crossroadies that are readers, I constantly pray as I worship alone in the middle of my everyday life that God will also bring you into worship. So that even though I may be worshiping alone, our hearts can be joined together in worship in God's throne room. And I desperately want each of you to be meeting with God in this beautiful and amazing way. Love you all. LaRissa

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