Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lessons on the run

“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” - Heb. 12:1

I try to run everyday. Sometimes I miss and sometimes I play racquetball, but I guess you could say I’m in the habit. It bothers me if I have to miss a workout. I’m not exactly sure why running is such a priority. I’m sure there are endorphins involved, but mostly, I love the time away from the cell phone and the time with the Lord. I love the prayer time in God’s creation and He’s constantly teaching me lessons on the run. As parents, God is the Master teacher and if we listen, He’s always teaching as we journey along.

Yesterday’s run was particularly tough. Three lessons I learned (hopefully):

1. Run within God’s boundaries.
I went too hard yesterday. I had worked in the yard for an hour or so, then went for a run. The humidity was around 95% and it was hot. Half way through the work out, I was longing for the 40 degree days, starting out cold but ending just right. When I over-extend myself and run ahead of God’s plan, I’m at my worst. God patiently waits for me to slow down, meets me again and we continue forward. As a parent, I’m called to be faithful to what God has asked me to do. I’m not called to fix everything or to make sure my teenager turns out perfectly. My assignment is to simply love and let go.

2. God gives us all we need.
On my way back from the middle of the run, I was running up the last hill and didn’t think I could make it. I hate to walk, but could tell my body was urging me to rest. As I came closer to a friend’s home, she was out watering her flower bed. As I approached, she asked if I’d like to be “watered.” I said, “sure,” and she soaked me with the hose. It felt so good and I finished the run. God knows exactly what we need. He will never leave us nor give us more than we can handle, with His help. He brings the strength we need at just the right time. My friend Tim Scheuer often says, “God never gives death bed grace on a sunny day.” In other words, God always supplies for our particular circumstance. He provides exactly what we need and usually, others won’t understand.

3. Keep running.
When I over heated, I slowed down and stopped to wipe the sweat from my eyes. Two huge horse flies were determined bite me, but when I ran, they went away. I stopped another time to tie a shoe and the dive bombers returned again, buzzing around my head. There’s sure nothing wrong with walking- it’s great exercise, but I’m reminded that when I’m idle in my spirit, bad things usually happen. I think the old saying that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” means that I need to always be moving towards a goal. When I’m stagnant in my spirit, negative hurtful attitudes and thoughts tend to rule my behavior. Paul often challenged his fellow believers to “finish the course.”

Every day is a new run. God’s lessons (and mercies) are new every morning. As parents, we need to keep our ears and eyes open to God’s daily lessons. They will help us as we make difficult parenting decisions. They’re easy to miss if we’re not paying attention. Perhaps that’s what Paul meant by “praying without ceasing.” He didn't mean for us to sit in the backyard and pray all day. I think he meant for us to keep running and listen for that “still small voice” of God to lead and guide us.

So put on those running shoes, unplug your ears and enjoy the run.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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