This is why I run…

I was given this to wear this morning.  It’s not the first time I have received something of this nature.  Yet, this morning, it represented something new.

As my alarm sounded, I simply rolled over and out of bed.  Sounds ordinary enough.  Normal routine of feeding the dog, waking to a slumbering house, getting dressed in low light, collecting random thoughts as they slowly fizzled in.  I seemingly had one focusing thought – meet Jen at Kroger at 6:30.  That was my focal point, that was my aim.  Beyond that, no real expectations.  It was in a moment of sitting in the driver’s seat, anticipating an on-time arrival that I realized, obedience is freeing.

You see, I am a person who ran my life on expectations.  I’d even venture to say I had expectations of my expectations.  Mostly, mine ran through a filter of how others would perceive me and my character, but they were all carefully crafted and thoroughly thought-through ideas of how I wanted my life to run.  This morning, I drive to a race with none… freedom.

Funny thing is I’ve found I can’t plan for that.  Freedom, or rather peace, happens naturally.  I’ve learned that peace comes as a result.  A result of release.  A release of control.  Not a release out of frustration or limitation, but out of a belief.  A belief that stems from a confident trust.  A trust building over time.  A trust that when God says His plans for me are for my good, I take Him at his word.  No matter what the plans look like.

Today, I ran.  Just me and Him through the words of music pipped into my ears.  Side note – check the volume and playlist before turning on, you might find your husband has a slightly different choice in song selection, ahem, Beastie Boys.

I ran without my usual pain.  I ran the pace my body could handle at the moment.  I ran without a watch.  I surprisingly found I could gain momentum as the race continued.  I felt my desire to mentally run in a way that dared to give my best.  He provided me the perfect fellow runner at just the right time.  In fact, I found myself encouraging another with one mile to go, and in doing so, my spirits were lifted.  I ran that last mile faster than I’ve run in a long, long time.  It was magnificent.  It was hard.  I continued to increase.  It encouraged a lady next to me to increase.  Together, we not only finished, but we finished well.

So many stories today.  So many people daring to believe.  So many people rising above doubts, excuses, and pains.  So many people celebrating.  I couldn’t help but think, how much even more so in our eternal celebration with the King…

Dear Jesus, thank you for this morning.  Obedience truly brings a lift to my spirits.  In training, you provide circumstances to be ready for the hard.  It’s in those hard days, that I realize the true preparations takes place.  Race day is simply a celebrating of the training.  So many times, the what-ifs that come to mind, never come through to fruition.  Instead, I find peace, sheer joy in the ability to move, and a lift through music and the small gift of encouragement.  Of all the medal markers I’ve thus experienced, I will remember today’s marker as the gift of encouragement.  What blessings you bestow simply to those who obey.  May I remember this day when the “hard” or the mundane arrives again.  Each day holds within it opportunities for lessons.  Today revealed to me my tendency to underestimate.  I underestimate your power and your strength.  I’m sorry for that.  Thank you for giving me the encouragement to continue.  Thank you for opportunity to worship you this Sunday.  I look forward to many more!

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