Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Run With Me
Let's go. Throw on your shoes and let's hit the street. Let's run away from our stress and our burdens and our hurts. Let's connect with God and let Him speak to our soul. Let's discover God's heart and listen to Him pour out His love on us. Let's run into the wind and let it whip our hair and feel its sensual touch on our skin. Okay, so maybe you are working or busy or hate to exercise. Today you can come with me without ever leaving your comfy chair.
I started my morning with 2 cups of coffee. I knew as I drank the second cup that I would deeply regret it. I knew that by mile two I would have heartburn that felt like the fiery flames of hell in my throat, and that I would need to stop back by the house to pee, therefore messing up my running time. Of course I drank it anyway. And of course, both things became regrettably true.
While sitting in my comfy chair, drinking my coffee, I checked my weather app on my phone to see what I needed to wear. My weather app says 73 and sunny. It is a liar. I slid on my short shorts, with a green stripe. (I don't know why it mattered if they were green. Not like I needed to keep people from trying to chase me down and pinch me while I was running.) I hit the door and realized it was cloudy and cold and my legs were in danger of frostbite. I set my ipod to shuffle and headed out anyway.
As I walked the first half mile, I realized that this is my fourth season to experience while running. I started running last summer. Summer was a beautiful time to run. I usually waited until late at night after it cooled off some. I would marvel at the stunning clear summer night sky. The stars sparkled like diamonds as sweat trickled down my back and soaked my white T-shirt and tiny black shorts. Something about the combination of stars and sweat and a little Norah on the iPOD was amazing. The summer running helped me rediscover my beauty as a woman and to find confidence in my body - whatever lies the numbers on the scales try to tell me.
Gradually the hot days became cooler. I loved running in the fall. I loved watching leaves sail to the ground, one by one. I enjoyed the wind in my face, and I loved the vision of God putting the world to sleep while it waited for spring and new life. I also began to conquer distance. My running increased from seconds to minutes to miles. I found a steely strength and will power that I did not know I owned.
Wintertime running was not my favorite. Bottom line - it was cold and the cold air burned my lungs. But there was definitely something magical about running at Christmas. I loved running right at dusk and watching Christmas lights come on gradually throughout the neighborhood. Best of all, I finally achieved my goal of running 3 miles.
Springtime running may turn out to be the best. Every day that I run, I see new life popping out. It speaks so loudly of God and His creative power. I thought that today I would show you some favorite pieces of my run. So, ready, set, let's go.
These jonquils are the first sign of spring. When I was little girl they would start blooming across the yard right before the dogwood trees unfurled their beautiful colors. Seeing these today reminded me that there is always hope for the future, no matter how dry and brown and cold life becomes.
I was finally hitting my stride on my first running interval when I saw this tree. It was pruned back pretty hard because of so much deadness in the branches. As I passed it, I noticed the new growth. It reminded me that as God painfully prunes away deadness in my life and in my heart, He does so that I may experience new and beautiful growth.
As I was discussing the pain involved in this process with God, I saw something else that made me stop and think. Pruning and its subsequent growth can only occur as we are surrendered fully to the process. I probably struggle more with surrender than with any other issue in my walk with Christ. I love to try to boss God about how to best work in my life and in my future. I have to constantly be reminded that yielding is absolutely necessary to experience the best that God has for me.
This was my favorite moment today. I was rounding the corner, pushing hard to conquer the hill coming up, when I saw the sign. It's been there forever, but today I really saw it. Pushing up this hill is consistently one of the hardest, but favorite parts of my runs. I realized that many times God sends me in directions that look to be dead ends. A wise person might turn back and look for a different road, but it is in following God down some insanely crazy paths, that I have seen the greatest beauty in life. Seeing the dead end sign with the beautifully alive blooming tree behind it reminded me of all the times that I have found healing and and amazing new life when I when I've gone down what looked to be hopelessly dead ends. What looks crazy and impossible to me is often the very thing that God is planning to use to change my life the most.
Running today, God used things along the way to remind me that He is not finished in my life. That the areas of my life that seem the driest and deadest are the areas where He is getting ready to restore new life. The pruning that has to happen prior to new life can be painful, but it is necessary. The paths that God set before me that seem to be impossible dead ends are usually are the ways to new experiences that are beautiful and teach me so much about God and His love and His beauty.
Hope you enjoyed running with me today. It was a great one! Maybe next time you'll grab your sneakers and join me on the street.