“The thing is to rely on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to that dependence. Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done.”
―C. S. Lewis
Running is one of those things in my life that I can say I both truly love and truly hate. I hate it because I am in my upper twenties now and my body won’t let me forget it. Icy hot and double knee braces are now my best friends that I enlist before any run. Some days the motivation is just not there and my body is too eager to let this be a ‘rest’ day. Then there are the days when everything seems to align (the weather’s perfect, my body is cooperating, the music is perfectly on cue) and I finish with a ‘good run’; there’s nothing like it. There’s just this feeling: a feeling that I have accomplished something pretty epic (or epic in my proportions). A feeling of both physical exhaustion and incredible energy all at once, a feeling like I—-for this moment, for this day—can conquer anything (thank you endorphins).
One downside with running is that it takes training and momentum to build your body to be capable of running 3, 7, 13.1, 26.2 miles (or whatever distance you’re aiming for). You alternate workouts to build stamina, strength training, speed, and let your body recover in order to prepare for your next challenge. An injury, illness, or a staggered training schedule and your body can often easily lose some of the gains you had made. It’s a frustrating cycle of wanting to stay on track, but life somehow always getting in the way.
This cycle of frustration is one that perfectly parallels my life right now.
I sometimes think about this past year as being a metaphor for training for another half marathon (go with me here). At the beginning, training was easy. I quickly was catching my stride and seeing steps of progress towards my goals (let’s call this ‘adulting’ or trying to take care of all the necessary things that a day needs to consist of: balancing work, home, friends, life, etc.). Then out of nowhere come these waves of injuries, illnesses, and countless set backs (life’s seemingly unending trials). Instead of giving myself time to heal before hitting the pavement again, I kept pushing forward and telling myself I just needed to work harder. Oh to my disappointment did my body disagree. How in the world was I expecting myself to go from illness to injury and then straight out the gate, full speed ahead, as if none of the challenges I faced the past few months would affect my performance?
For any Harry Potter fans out there, I’ll describe it a different way. In the book, The Philosophers Stone, the dynamic trio (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) face a threatening plant, the Devil’s Snare (fittingly named) where the only means of escape is to relax and let the plant finally release you. Ron (who I totally relate with) has a hard time with this.
Ron I get it. I totally get it.
When life hit, and all the waves of challenges kept coming, I continued to fight against it all. Pushing harder, I struggled constantly to fix everything on my own, not wanting to surrender and admit that it was too much.
What I allowed myself to fall into was a cycle of shame. Shame for not being able to run through this life at the same speed I could a year ago. Shame for feeling only capable of walking when I know I can run. Shame for feeling I am failing by shifting my focus and time on things that are necessary for me to recover, when I know the laundry list of things I should be doing instead. Anxious that I am not doing enough and not handling life the way that I should be. Shame for the days when every breath feels stripped from my lungs, but my mind keeps telling me I can’t stop.
“Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking.” Brené Brown
Graciously, God has been speaking through the shame and the anxiousness and repeating the words: Settle down, settle in. He knows the hurt, the heartache, and He sweetly calls me to rest.To stop tensing up and fighting against the fear and the pain, but instead to let it be used to get me where I need to go; to be fully healed.
Sweetly, God tells me that there will come a time to run again, but for now it is time to rest. I hear Him tell me:
Come sit with me and let me remind you of the promises I have given you that will never expire. This covenant that I have with you I will forever uphold.
I have not left you alone in this place, I am here. Come to Me. I desire great things for you.
Know that I see you hurting and in pain, and it breaks my heart. I want more than anything to make you whole again and day by day I am working to put all the pieces back together perfectly; I am the Redeemer and I am going to make you new again.
Come settle down and settle in. Sit beside me along the still waters and rest/refresh your weary heart (Psalm 23:2).
You are my precious child whom I love more than you could possibly know; infinitely. I have created you with a specific design and purpose for your life. I have big plans for you.
Though the world has left you beaten and bruised, I am here. Not only do I see your pain, but I know it. I know you feel disillusioned and are having a hard time making sense of everything. I know it’s hard, but don’t let your strength come from anything in this world, but instead let your trust remain in Me. For I am the only one that can ever truly be trusted. (Proverbs 3:5)
Come to me. Settle in, settle down and rest. Let me take the heavy weight you’ve been carrying off your shoulders and you take Mine, it is much lighter (Matthew 11:28-30); it is what I truly desire for You, always. Know that as your Dad, I’m here to protect you from what the world tries to throw at you. To provide all of your needs and to always take care of you. To pursue you and your heart, and to give you a beautiful future and hope that is beyond your wildest dreams (Jeremiah 29:11).
I cannot tell you enough how much I love you! I will NEVER abandon you! Though I already know everything about you, I am always here to listen to what is on your heart.
Because I know you, for I created you, I know that right now what you need is rest. There will come a time for you to run again, but for now, won’t you come settle down and settle in with me?
How wonderful to have a good, good Father that knows “when I rise or when I fall”. Who created the stars above and the earth below, who sees it all, and yet He takes the time to see me. A Father that knows “every detail of my life” and “[doesn’t] miss a thing”. A God that knows that, though stubbornly I try to fight it, sometimes what is best for me is to Settle Down and Settle In to a place of rest with Him.
Nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
You know every detail of my life
You are God and You don’t miss a thing