Today, as the sun shines and the trees wave gracefully to me in the breeze, I find my heart reflecting on many things. God has been so good to me in the past few months as I deliberately enter into the past in search of healing. He has brought many reminders of His faithfulness to me during this time. He has used many things to keep me safe and tender hearted throughout the years, even during the time when I was separated from Him due to my life choices. He always had His eye on me. He never left my side.
Today, I am thinking of something in particular that He used to build my character and my confidence: running.
I have been a runner for most of my life now. It started in Junior High when a friend urged me to join the track team. Neither fast nor flashy, I was delegated to the running events that no one else on the team wanted: those of long distance. Though I was certainly not a star, being a member of the track team became something that was very important to me. For the first time in my life I was part of something outside of my family. I was part of a group of people who depended on me to do my best. I was part of a group of people who cheered indiscriminately, both for the gifted athlete and, well, for me. I had always shied away from competing with others, afraid I would never measure up. By competing with myself I was able to grow comfortable running against others. Step by step I began to grow as a runner and as a person.
Middle school was an extremely painful time. It was during these tender years that my parents divorced and the life that I had always known was forever changed. As many teens do during times of sorrow, I began to isolate myself. And then… as I began to run, something strange and wonderful happened. At the age of thirteen I made a discovery that I hold true and dear to this day: running heals. Not only does it strengthen the body, but it empowers the spirit as well.
There have been seasons in my life, of course, when other priorities took precedence over my love for the run. As I put myself through college and graduate school, earning a wage seemed a wiser way to invest my time. And after the births of my two children I found that even leaving them for short periods of time left an emptiness inside of me until I had them in my arms again.
Despite these brief respites, I always knew that being a runner would forever be a part of who I am.
I have learned much over the miles while putting one foot in front of the other. Not long ago, as I reflected on my life while out running, it occurred to me that in many ways my running course seemed to emulate some valuable life lessons.
As my boys grow and form their own experiences in life, I find myself wanting to tell them about some milestones in my life and what I have learned from them. Some of my life does not tell a pretty story. And so they’re still too young to hear some of what I have to say. But one day…one day they may take up running too. And this might be the perfect avenue to run with them through some life lessons of their own. When that time comes, I will be ready.
Over the next few days I want to share a few things I have learned from running and life. Here are a few highlights I will touch on:
Preparing to begin: How to take the first step
Pacing yourself or Sometimes you have to walk
Breathing through the Pain or Life Goes On
How to Handle Dead ends
Attacking those hills
You’ll come down from the high eventually
Pleasant scenery distracts
Misery loves company
Sometimes you just need a break
Balance…verses obsession (stronghold)
It’s all about relationships
Don’t run away from what you’re afraid of
It’s very difficult to be proud when you’re wiping streams of snot onto your shirtsleeves and expelling large amounts of gas involuntarily. Leave the pride behind. (okay, this one needs a little work, but you get the picture)
If you have a passion, be it running or any other hobby, you understand much of what I will talk about. God gives us all different interests and pleasures. He means for us to enjoy them! He also means for us to learn from them.
Substitute your hobby for running in all of my entries and I think it will make sense. Join me for a run!