I’ve heard that dream whisper many times over the years and when it does, I have always taken up the challenge to exercise my legs, to BE a runner.
My efforts to be a runner have been less than impressive. The heart of a runner met the disappointing reality that my body was weak. After a failed knee surgery back when I was still in my 20’s, I gave up the dream of running.
Until …a few years ago when I started walking out on the open road by my house. As I walked, I heard the whisper, “you can run”. So I tried it; short little jogs along my route got longer each time. I was also reading “The Resilient Life” by Gordon MacDonald which uses the metaphor of a runner. I could sense that the whole running thing was coming together for me.
Finally, on a warm February day, I did, in fact begin to run again. It felt great! In the wide open freedom of running on the road, I enjoyed a praise service that day!
“Thank you, God, for fulfilling the dream of my heart”.
I was certain that in my 2nd half of life my runner’s heart would soar in a runner’s body. This was now my “thing”. I could buy new running shoes, I could get a few running outfits … perhaps enter a local fun run next year. I was dreaming BIG!
That same afternoon my back began to feel a little tight – by supper time I was flat on my back in pain with spasms which lasted all night. All I could do was pray that the pain would go away. I was scared, angry and very disappointed.
When I went to the doctor the next day, he confirmed that those muscle spasms were caused by some sort of lower back issue. I was pretty sure a new pair of running shoes – maybe with the shocks – would be the answer. Instead, he pulled out a booklet of exercises … on a giant rubber ball.
My runner’s heart screamed – “I’m a runner, not a roller!”
You see, even though I have a runner’s heart, and even though my legs can run, at the core I am weak. All the muscles in the middle need to be strengthened before my body is ready to be a runner.
God taught me 2 important lessons with the “ball incident”
1. God’s given me a runner’s heart to motivate my spirit, not my body.
1 Timothy 6:11-12 says … “But you, (Shereen), (woman) of God: …Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to …”
Silly me, I thought a runner’s heart was only for running … it’s for persisting in prayer when our dreams don’t match our reality. It’s for straining up the hills of doubt as well as for coasting with the wind of faith at our back.
2. In order to run hard and fast in the faith, I need a strong spiritual core.
Even when my big dreams meet with big disappointments, I can trust God. I can trust Him because I know Him. I know Him because I’ve been in the Word learning who He is … I’ve worshipped, studied … then connected with Him in prayer.
Pause for Reflection:
What are some disappointments you’ve experienced lately?
How have you responded?
What does your response show about your spiritual core strength?
How would God like you to “run hard and fast in the faith” this summer?