Some are more like “block” runners. They don’t necessarily prefer to go in a straight line, but instead like to circle around things until they have logged all their miles.
I am sure there are probably those as well who like to do a mixture of the two.
I am someone who prefers linear running. I don’t really mind block running, but feel more effective when the majority of my run is such that I run in pretty much straight lines and just plug in my headphones and zone out for a while.
There are benefits to both and there are downsides to both types of running as well.
I was thinking today about how this translates into how we deal with grief, conflict, or even just minor difficulties.
Let’s think about grief for just a moment…..
I have been in a grieving process before in which I just tried to go around it – this was what I did when my father passed away well over two decades ago. Quite frankly, I didn’t deal with it, friends. I just “went around it all.” It came upon me like a rushing tsunami later and hammered me into the ground for years and years and years. Avoidance is not the way to go when it comes to the death of a close loved one.
Then, when my mother died, at first I handled it by facing it head on (or so I thought). But again, I found out a week or so later that I had still been trying to bypass it by just plowing right through it. That one hit me like an earthquake inside – deep down in my soul. Then I was able to deal with the grief, but not until I got past the shaking of the quake.
Sometimes we know we are trying to go around, through, or past our pain in life while it is happening. And at other times, we think we are “doing it right” until it comes back up on us later and bites into us.
The fact of the matter is, there are lots of ways to run, and when it comes to difficulties in life, especially tragic things or things that strike us down in our core, we have to do something more than run for the sake of running – we have to keep going, but not try to bypass the hard stuff. In fact, I believe we have to actually embrace the icky.
Thank GOD we don’t have to do it alone.
Some (actually a lot) of runners like to run so much we bypass strength training. But it is critical that we not neglect this piece of things or we will end up breaking down one day and not being able to do much of anything at all.
Yes, we have to keep moving through the pain, but we also must allow the Lord to have His way within us throughout the entire process. This means that our agenda goes out the window sometimes – and that is something that many runners do not like at all!
Sometimes, He builds up our neglected muscles pretty quickly and we stay healthy all the way through. And sometimes, it takes a while for us to gain the strength we need to emerge all the stronger in Jesus than we were from when we first began. The key is to be flexible and willing to embrace the pain. The key is not to run past it or merely through it, but to live within it and find our new stride.
Guess who needs to hold the key? (Hint: It’s not us)
The simple truth is that there really is only one way to run that is the right way – the best way – the healthy way – when it comes to such things as grief, suffering, or even conflicts in life…..Right into the arms of our loving Savior.
He is where we find our way – on His path and in His footsteps.
He is where we gain our strength – in His arms and placing our weight on His back.
He is the One who makes the way – according to His map, ending in His desired and eternal destination that He has planned for us.
One way or another, grief and trials in life are going to hit us – some way and some how. We can run from them, we can try to hide….we can try to plow right on through or over or around or under them. But eventually, they will find us (these heart impacting things). We will either crumble beneath the weight of it all, or emerge triumphant – it all depends upon who we look to for our strength training and endurance.
In a nuthsell? We can allow ourselves to perpetuate the illusion of control over how we handle our grief, or we can yield to the Savior and His mighty and divine power.
Yes, there are lots of ways to run, dear friends. It is my prayer today that we all remember to run right smack into His loving arms, alongside Him, or even allow Him to carry us whenever and however HE sees fit.
Hopefully, we are already there. But sometimes, (I know at least for me), although I am a linear runner, I tend to look at bright shiny things and veer off the best path when it comes to dealing with grief and difficulty. How about you?
Here’s to not trying to “finish the race” in our own limited, mortal, and flawed power – I pray we all go to Jesus for the patience and the strength we need to finish it well – even if we are already awesome marathon runners.
Drop the body fat (spiritual sickness and self sufficiency and sin)
Strengthen our muscles (pray without ceasing and spend time with and lean upon Jesus)
Face the pain (with the divine power and inspiration that only HE can offer us)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1-2