For twenty plus years I’ve been strapping on my running shoes nearly every day. I have kept up this odd habit, as some would like to call it, through the constant changing seasons of life. I often ask myself why? Why have I never been able to stop? Am I addicted, obsessed, is it my favorite hobby, is it stress-relief or a sanity -keeper, or am I training to become faster and more fit? Truth be told, it has been all these things to me at one time or another. However, I would have stopped running long ago if that’s all it ever was to me.
There’s a secret I’ll share with you, the why behind my every step, that has transformed my whole outlook on life.
First join me as I jog down memory lane…
For as long as I can remember running has been a part of my life. I remember running laps around the gravel track at my elementary school for a jog-a-thon fundraiser. I remember trying to beat the boys in middle school during our timed one mile runs.
I remember sneaking out the door on family vacations, collecting sand dollars as my feet zig-zagged down the sandy shore of Cannon Beach.
Later, I would find myself striding through the dreamy cobblestone streets of Vienna, Austria, alongside the Danube river, past the Hundertwasserhaus, and down the Prater Promenade.
Everywhere I traveled in Europe for those 4 ½ half years I have a memory of running too. I’ve ran on mountaintops in Innsbruck, through the twisting streets of Salzburg. I’ve explored Denmark, Romania, Croatia, and Spain through the eyes of a runner.
When my husband and I got married, I lazily jogged through the streets of Lanai and Maui for a week, taking in the fresh strong scents of Hibiscus was my main priority.
I finished that short 4-month stint in America running thoughtfully through the roads of a small town on the edge of Lake Michigan before we landed in our new home together in Johannesburg, South Africa. It bothered me because I could never beat the sun. It scorched me with its fiery rays even at seven in the morning.
I remember running alongside barefooted school children and women carrying their belongings on top of their head. I did a heart-pumping run through game farm at sundown with wild warthogs, gemsbok, giant sable, and eland of which I will never forget.
I ran with a pod of dolphins in Cape Town in the early morning and through the Vineyards of Stellenbosch. I’ve paced myself with shark-infested waters of False Bay on my left and friendly colorful rainbow houses on my right. I would tote my newborn son around in a stroller beside streets filled with honking taxi drivers and people who could supposedly mug me at any moment (sorry mom!)
I’ve done laps up and down my parent’s half-mile long road.
I’ll never forget the hours I ran through Dutch neighborhoods where the row houses stretch for miles and bikers whizzed by me on their way to work and ancient castles decorated the background. Or the times I ran alongside the canals in the Netherlands, chasing down the ships carrying their freight.
I’ve run in negative degree Fahrenheit weather where your eyebrows and lashes turn to icicles from the steamy breath rising out of the scarf around your neck.
I’ve run, or rather waddled, through three pregnancies, literally running my babies out of the womb and into the world.
I’ve run through bouts of depression, my legs like bricks heavy with emotions, praying no one would see my tears. I’ve also run with a bounce in my step, excited about life and all God’s blessings, praise hands raised high in the sky.
You get the picture. I’ve never stopped running.
For many years, I wondered about my strange desire to move and stay active, to get up early and sweat. Why can’t I be normal and sleep in? I criticized myself for this good and healthy habit. And yes, some years it became an addiction, a coping mechanism for deep inner pain and wordless struggles.
But no matter my motive, I’ve noticed something through the years… God has never left me alone. He meets me at the door, running shoes on. Whether I invited him or not, He insists on coming with me. We talk and laugh and come up with great ideas. We pray together and we prepare for the day. I can hardly wait to get home so I can write down all that I heard. Running is one of my sanctuaries, a place I go to hear Him speak and gain perspective.
Physically and spiritually my heart has been healed through the simple act of letting my lungs breathe deep and my feet run fast.
It’s here out on the streets where God and I have wrestled through hurts and waged war on the devil. I’ve literally kicked the sky or screamed to the heavens. With every step I’ve taken in my hot pink Nikes, God has reminded me to never give up or lay down in defeat. He has reminded of the simple courage it takes to keep rising faithfully each day and giving my all to Him on this course called life.
“Don’t stop,” He says, “I’m with you.”
No matter what kind of changing terrain or unpredictable weather comes your way, know this dear friend, you were made to quietly persevere. You may not enjoy running like I do, but inside of you is the soul of a runner.
Your feet were made to move and take steps of faith through every season of your life. I understand, there are days where it takes sheer discipline to get out of bed, but arise dear friend, you’ve got it in you to keep going.
No matter where you find yourself today, strap on your shoes beautiful one and sweat out your passions, awakening to the God-dreams within you. You needn’t wait for the perfect day, climate, or location.
If you are waiting for permission or inspiration, you’ve got it already. The God of the universe is standing at your doorstep, with His running shoes on, ready to join in as you plod out past your comfort zones and start moving through the hills of your fear, and down the valleys of your excuses.
It’s time to value hidden perseverance over bold perfection.
Running with God feels invisible at times, but don’t despair. It’s when we are devoted to practicing without watching eyes and carrying on when no one cheers us on, that we gain the real reward- an inner strength and confidence in Jesus…the soul of a faith runner.
Don’t miss the gifts He has waiting for you as you stay in step with Him. He’ll be there encouraging you through every mile, His presence so real, it might change your whole outlook on life.
Running with you,
Verses to Ponder: Isa. 40:28-31, Acts 20:24, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 3:13-14, 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 3:13, Hebrews 12:1-2
I’m gifting one of you lovely readers with a free print from Ruth’s Gracelaced Shoppe. She just released these prints on perseverance today and I can’t wait to snag one!
Just leave you response to this statement in the comments!
I am going to run with God and not give up, especially in the area of ___________________________________________________________.
(and tell me which print you’d like!) One person will be picked at random on Sunday night.