I’ve been running a lot lately.
For the last 10 weeks, actually. It started with a local 10k, which led to another 10k, and a husband inspired to train for a marathon (thanks, Chip Gaines).
So for the last 8 weeks especially, I’ve been intentionally training and putting in the miles.
I don’t know what it is about this week, but I’ve been exhausted. We had a race this past weekend that I put my all into and I’m not sure if I burned out, or if the heat has gotten to me, or if I’m just tired. But my regular runs feel as difficult as they did at the beginning of our training! This might be why today’s run was extra introspective, a feeble attempt to distract my body from it’s pain.
The reality is I’ve been running for a lot longer than 10 weeks, friends. It’s my nature.
Fear? run away.
Conflict? run away.
Doubt? run away, hide.
Loss? Run away, run, run, run.
Anger? You better RUN away.
This has been a hard year in a lot of ways. God is pruning, I am remembering; God is moving and I am finding my emotions out of control. I’m often scared and sad, grieving so many things both good and very bad. I am afraid of the future and afraid to stay in the present. I’ve adopted an attitude of life that I need to just run and get it all over with before it hurts. Yet I so long to leave something meaningful behind. Is that even possible?
You can imagine how this makes me less of a joy to be around.
And yet, God is so faithful.
Sometimes on a run I think “go faster, just push it and you’ll be done sooner.” But, if I’m already tired, or I’m running mile 1283 for the week, my body rebels and I burn out too soon. Other times I think to myself, “this is a good speed, settle into this and enjoy the ride.” (I’ll admit that second message isn’t as prevalent as the first, but it happens on occasion. Thank You, Holy Spirit!)
Today I was reminded of how I so need that latter message in my life. My passion and my calling and my ideals have told me that God wants me to produce, to do big things, to not waste a minute.
I’ll show You, God! I am good at this!
But how often does my striving leave me too depleted to actually finish out a mission well? How often am I so empty from trying that I can’t even think of pouring into a relationship? How many times have I collapsed into my bed, too exhausted to do the things that matter like love my Jesus, or talk to a friend?
When I was around 8 years old, we had a field day at my home-school group. There was a race for my age class. I remember being so excited, itching to go at the starting line. “*POP* GO!” sounded in my ears and I bolted. I can honestly see the whole scene now as if I was a bystander. I took off, a solid distance ahead of my peers. Giving it all I had, showing I was so capable, so good at running, and then suddenly I got about half way and completely ran out of energy. My legs grew weak, my lungs were burning, my heart was racing probably harder than ever in my life.
Then all of my little peers started sneaking past me, inching further and further ahead as I slowed down to a walk.
I burned out because I didn’t pace myself. I didn’t understand what it meant to start out slow, warm up, and keep a steady pace until the end.
Isn’t it funny how we learn the same lessons over and over again?
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”
Stay with Me, walk with Me in each season: hard or easy. Joy or pain. Let Me carry it, child. Let me carry it all. Don’t run away.
Remain in Me in every area of life. It’s not your accomplishments, it’s not your trying, it’s My love and My Spirit that accomplishes the work. Just love Me as I have loved you.
Slow down. Don’t run from the bad stuff, because it’ll make you miss the good stuff.
Just like I constantly need to pace myself when I’m putting in the miles, I need to remember that this life, this calling, this gift of existing that I’ve been given is not about how fast I can do it all. It’s not about how well I hold myself together. It’s not about accomplishing all these things that will impress God.
Because I can’t do that. My own strength will fail, my own emotions will betray me, my striving will leave me empty.
I’ve got to slow down and remain in Jesus, letting Him have every moment: good and bad.
I teach it, I preach it, but it’s sometimes so hard to live it. I’ve got to let Him have all of me: the good and the bad.
No more running away.