It’s just been too long. But my husband bought me new shoes today, running shoes, and so I’m going to run.
Not too many years ago I ran more than ten miles. Even raced in a ten-mile race. Only once. But, I’ve run this really fun four mile race many times. And between these very friendly races, I’ve trained.
I love training. With a schedule that tells me my short runs, long runs, rest days, I love mapping my routes. I love to read my Bible and then hit the road. I don’t listen to an iPod. And I prefer to run alone. I like to just run with Jesus and talk over what I’ve read. He speaks to me when I run. He really does. He reveals mysteries to my heart. He coaches me on life situations. He gives me plans, and dreams, and hope.
Why would I ever give that up? Why would I let anything get in the way of something that is good for my body, and good for my soul?
Well … injuries. That ten-miler really killed my knee. I just can’t run as far anymore. Discouraged because I couldn’t run ten, I stopped running four, and then two, and then one.
A move. I exchanged the rolling hills of Virginia for a dirt road stretch past a poultry barn. Just not the same.
Busyness. I let other important things, good things crowd out my run. I know you know the drill on this one. The tyranny of the urgent that drives out the important, and all that.
But, my husband bought me running shoes today. So … I’m getting back on the proverbial saddle. I’m going for a run. And it’s not going to be pretty. And it’s not going to be fun. But, I’m going to do it.
Maybe reading your Bible and praying is a bit like this for you. Maybe it’s been a long time. Maybe you’ve tasted the sweet waters of intimacy with Jesus, but one morning you let something crowd it out. And then one day led to another, and another. What happened?
Maybe you’ve been injured. Maybe hard things came into your life and you blamed Jesus rather than turning to him and ask him to carry you through it. Maybe you’ve been hurt by the “church” and decided to walk away from anything having to do with faith.
Maybe you’ve moved. Literally, like we did. You’ve graduated from college, gotten married, had a baby, or two, or three … And you’re out of a rhythm. Or, if you’re a new mom, you’re SO tired and cultivating a relationship with Jesus just doesn’t seem possible. Maybe you look back at one season past with longing, the way I remember those rolling Virginia hills, and think you just can’t “run” in this new place.
And, if none of the others ring true for you, I know this one will. You’re busy. Regardless of your season of life, you’re busy. You know I think of this as the quintessential four-letter word of our time. Everyone is busy. Everyone.
If I could buy your running shoes today, I would.
If you’ve been hurt, injured. I’d buy you running shoes to give you the motivation to stop nursing your wounds, to stop blaming God, and instead, come to Jesus, and ask him for help in understanding the pain you’ve encountered. If this is your deal, you may want to check out the posts I wrote on the Great Exchange, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
If your season’s shifted, you’ve moved, and you just haven’t found your groove, give yourself time to mourn the loss, but don’t run from Jesus in the midst. Ask him to help you find your groove. If this feels too painful, check out this post. You’ll read, and see, how Adelyn and Katya taught me how God helps us find the groove of trust, following, and flying with him in life’s new seasons.
If busyness is your deal, get rid of something, maybe even 15 minutes of sleep, and make your relationship with Jesus a priority. I totally understand when the demands of life pull out you. I really do. But you’re hurting yourself, and others in your sphere, when you allow the urgent to crowd out the important.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve spent time in your Bible and in prayer, since you’ve really cultivated a relationship with Jesus, you may feel like I feel about this run. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be fun. But, here’s the deal. Your relationship with Jesus is different that going for a first run after a long absence. He’s not angry with you. Rather, he longs for you. He’s waiting for you. He has words of comfort, and joy, and peace that he wants to speak to you. And he has songs he wants to sing over you.
So, girlfriend, put on your running shoes, and get going.
I’ve put together quite a few reading plans, but here’s my favorite for helping you to have a simple, straightforward quiet time. If you can’t manage 15 minutes a day, make it five. Just do it.
So, while I take the first, nasty, back in the saddle run tonight, I’ll be thinking about you. If you’d like for me to be praying specifically for you, or you’d like to share with me what got you off-track, I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com. Consider this your pair of running shoes.