It’s no secret that I love to run. It’s my workout of choice lately. It’s a defense against unhealthy behaviors in my life, a great stress reliever, and quite honestly, a spiritual discipline right now. No matter where I am, I can go running. The only person evaluating my performance is me, and I believe that most days, just going running is a victory. No need to impress anyone, it’s just me, my running shoes, some music and time to think, or not think. Just as God honors showing up, and cares more about our heart that the fruit it produces, I enjoy a run and the freedom it brings me more than I care about how fast I run 4 miles.
That being said, I’ve had fun watch myself get faster as I train more consistently and I enjoy seeing how fast I can run multiple miles. When I was in Bloomington, I would get frustrated when a light wouldn’t turn green fast enough and I would have to run in place at a stoplight, especially if I felt like I was in a rhythm and running pretty well. I only have to cross 2 major streets on my runs around Mason instead of the countless ones I had to cross at school, but there are not stoplights where I cross here, I just have to be patient until the road is clear. Today I was making excellent time on my 4 mile run, and I had a goal in mind, 4 miles in 37 minutes. It was windy and I was tired from running up a hill, only to get to the point where I needed to cross the street and there was a steady stream of cars going both directions. So I ran in place. Man, nothing is as frustrating as running in place. My body would rather rest completely, but that makes getting started so much more difficult. And in that moment, running forward would be devastating; I would have been hit by a car. I had no choice but to run in place as I thought about the decreased likelihood that I would achieve my goal for the day. Most days I feel like I’m running in place. I have a goal and destination in sight, but I’m waiting for things to line up so I can start moving forward again. Some days I just want to throw the towel in and stop completely… running in place feels like a waste of energy. Other days, I’m so eager and ready to go and continue to ensure I meet my goal that I’m willing to make stupid decisions before the time is right.
Yesterday was rough. The Lord convicted me that I don’t want what He wants right now. Even things that I know aren’t good for me are preventing me from experiencing what He has. So I prayed a scary prayer – Lord, let me want to want what You want for me. In the terms of my running metaphor, let me be okay with running in place. Running in place keeps my heart rate up so that I’m ready to go when the time is right; it also conditions my heart to be okay with an elevated heart rate during training, something that will come in handy as I continue to run long distances. I am constantly being reminded that God’s kingdom is not one of moving forward and backward, but instead of moving towards God. While running in place may seem fruitless and pointless, it keeps me prepared and conditions me for when the time is right.