My roommate is an excellent athlete. She’s a crossfitter and a runner – a great runner. Since she’s moved in, we’ve gone running several times together. Even on my best day, when I’m in good shape, hydrated, and ready to run, she is significantly faster than me. But, when we go running together, she runs as a pace more comfortable for me. On our runs, she pushes me to run a slightly faster pace than I would on my own, but not too fast that I’m unable to finish. When I want to give up, she slows the pace slightly, enough for me to catch my breath, and then we pick it up again. She refuses to leave me behind, even if I want her to.
August was a difficult month. I returned back from a great vacation with best friends to some changes at work and health issues in my family. I went from the top of the mountain to the valley in a matter of days; things were moving so fast that my neck experienced whiplash. I didn’t have time to process through any of what was happening or how I felt. I just had to keep moving.
In order to keep moving, I took steps away from God. Hiding behind excuses of busyness and exhaustion, I did not open my Bible much. When I did take time to pray, it was a quick moment of exhaling in the midst of completing other tasks. It all felt so heavy, and my strength was wearing thin. I willed myself to just keep moving, not stopping because I was afraid that if I stopped, even for a minute, I wouldn’t be able to start again. But I wasn’t really moving in any direction.
Even when I slowed my pace, God did not allow me to distance myself from Him. It was as if He was saying, “Come on, Caitlin, just walk a little closer, pick up your pace ever so slightly. I wouldn’t leave you behind.” My overwhelmed heart and I did our best to keep up, listening to the promises that we would never be left or forsaken.
At about mile two of running with my roommate, I usually want to send her off ahead of me. The effort it takes to stay at the pace that we’ve set feels overwhelming and I want to slow down into a more comfortable motion for me. Plus, I don’t want to slow her down. But she doesn’t let me. She slows with me, and allows me to catch my breath. She’s determined not to leave me behind, no matter how hard I try to push her to do exactly that.
As everything around me has felt out of sync, God has been the ultimate running partner. When my weary heart has tried to quit, slow down or go off in the wrong direction, He pulls me back. When the pace is unknown or just plain uncomfortable, He has drawn me closer to himself.