Sunday, September 28, 2014

In the rhythm of the run

Forward motion always brings God's healing.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Hebrews 12:1a  (NIV)

I often overhear people talk about their love of running. How they lose track of the pain and just run in the rhythm of their run. How their deep breathing and movement of their legs become one.   secretly wondered how they could lose track of time, how they look forward to that time alone, and how they fantasize about spending their days being content with something so hard and painful.

Let's set the record straight. I am not one of those runners.  And yet, now, I want to accomplish this idea of running in that kind of rhythm.

The other day I found myself outside early to meet the sunrise, with my phone in hand to send a "morning gram" of God's handiwork in the sunrise.  Now, if you are like me, you can come up with a thousand excuses why I wouldn't want to hear a voice that says, "Go put your running shoes on." But that day, there was no wind, it was early and I felt gutsy enough to give it a whirl. I went inside and dusted off my shoes.

I set out and put one foot in front of the other and started out with a walk. The next thing I know, I was running.  I hadn't thought about exercise in so long. It was one of my New Year's resolutions to just move 30 minutes a day. Honestly, the idea of fitness fell quickly by the wayside once it got hard, or I was too busy to make it a priority, or I thought it was a waste of time, or...I didn't care about keeping my promise to myself.

I had no idea how far I could run but I successfully ran to my neighbor's mailbox. Then, I made it over half-way through the mile section without stopping and my lungs didn't collapse. I was running, with my legs and lungs cooperating as one. This was a first. I didn't stop, and didn't think about stopping. I only thought about reaching the next corner.

The movie "Rocky" came to mind and if there was a flight of steps I would've been at the top of them, in my gray sweats, sweat dripping, and double pumping my fists into the air. I had just ran a mile without stopping. What a banner day for me and a statement to the strength that emerged inside of  me. Breathless, I called my friend and running mentor. She was elated for me, encouraged me and was oh so happy that it all clicked in the rhythm of the run.

This happened weeks ago, and I've been running ever since. Now every day I get up and try again. So far have made it to 2.25 miles without stopping. Major accomplishment for one who never thought she could.

I am running in the rhythm of the run.  I'm not comparing runs anymore because it's about the change over all.

Now, I often get lost in the fresh morning air. I lose myself in trying and staying on course. I find myself falling into a rhythm of easy breathing and deep thinking. I often run a praise worthy run while praising God for helping me stay the course.  I may not get it right every time, nor run as far, especially when it's windy, or on some days I might not be motivated, but every time, every day, I'm gonna try. I'm gonna remain in this trying because I am liking the change over all.

It's one thing to know freedom, it's another thing to live free.

Spiritually, I've been stalled on John 15, the whole chapter. Such wisdom is found there. I can't run without thinking about the fruit that I bear, the fruit that God is bearing in me, and how I am learning to abide in the change of seasons that I am bearing.  I am learning to bear in the remaining, the staying the course, the trying and in God's pruning and cleaning of my vines.

Ever think about how Jesus tells us to try hard things so that He can exhibit His strength in those hard things?  If you would have told me a year ago that I could run from corner to corner without stopping, I would have laughed you right out of my life. I never thought I could, therefore I never tried.

There is a healing that comes in the pain of trying something again and again and again. You give yourself another stab at something that hindered you. You take a stab at confidence. It's the power of the Holy Spirit that gives us strength to try the things that pleases Him. It's the Spirit who prunes us, or cleans us to bear the fruit that He plants inside of us, and in that process we can bear even more fruit.

What I love is the change overall that abiding brings in me, and how it exhibits a resiliency that can only come from letting the Holy Spirit have His way in our hearts.  It is God who gives growth in this faith process, and asks us to try, to trust, and to become more dependent on Him.

I might not like running but I love idea of letting God have His way in me. For I cannot run in God's rhythm without the work of the Holy Spirit. Leaning on His strength, confidence and trust that I have in Him.  I cannot experience living free without trying and continuing to pursue God with intensity.   As it turns out, I cannot do any running without His strength and He changes my overall.

It only takes a few steps into it His rhythm for me to remember that He is the Gardener to gardeners: pruning, clearing, cleansing, removing that which chokes, and making space for things beautiful.  I always end running a different person from the one who first strapped on her failed confidence in this. Having done the dirty work, admitting my laziness, I run easier, cleaner, meeker, and forgiven and more free.

I am learning how to abide in God's remaining in me. I am learning the art of living free.

What have you tried recently and have experienced a little success when doing it God's way?
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