It’s amazing what you can learn while you’re running. The road seems like an endless opportunity to teach you things you never knew before. How big a tiny pebble can actually be. What teamwork is really all about. How alone time can become prayer time. How very little you are actually in control. How strong you are. How week you are. How brave you are. How cowardly you are. But mostly it teaches humility.
I’ve heard golf is the same way; teaching you that you didn’t know half of what you thought you knew. But running makes you feel like a giant and a dwarf all at the same time. You conquer feats you never knew you could while failing at the tiniest step and falling miserably. You run distances you never thought you could at speeds you never thought you would, while at the same time not being able to take another step; fast OR slow. Dichotomy in a life form.
When your feet hit the ground, you automatically think, “I’m going to conquer the world today!”, at the same time that you think “The world has conquered me today “. Running gives you the chance to pound it out: to get the burdens of life out of your body and onto the pavement. It gives you the chance to fly free; free of pain, free of sorrow, free of anger, free of angst, free of distress, and free of worry. For even just a moment; even one step. And for those steps, each step that takes away a burden, God gives you the gift to be free.
But then God brings about the next moments. The ones where you trip on a crack in the pavement or your heart rate is just more than you can handle. The hill in front of you. The mile marker you haven’t reached. The fatigue you feel from pounding it out too much. The pain that grows in your legs. Shortness of breath. Ache in your feet. Sorrow returns.
And somehow, both sets of moments reminds you that all of life comes at the hand and will of God. That He allows the moments of freedom and He permits the moments of pain. That He grants both favor and discipline. Peace and unrest. That in both sets of circumstances, the only way to get to the next mile marker is to look to the One who gave us the ability to move. The ability to fly. The ability to race free. And to trust that He is going to carry our legs one step at a time.
Small finishes. Large finishes. The ultimate finish. Each one of them ordained and set by God. Each finish sculpted uniquely for you. For me. For us. No matter the goal, be it large or small, near or far, I know for sure I will never get there without God’s hand to guide me and to move my feet down that road.
My running “career” has shown me that there are days when I will feel like I was born to run. And there are days when I will feel like I was born to do anything BUT run. Days when it’s easy to move, and days when I am certain I will not move an inch. But in all of those times, be they easy or hard, I know beyond knowing that I cannot and do not take one step without the hand of God moving my feet. Not one.
So, on those days when I find it the hardest to put one foot in front of the other, I look to God, and ask Him to do the moving for me. I dig deep, let go, and ask Him to take over. For Him to do the running; to move my slodgy feet.
And when those steps have been made, the finish line crossed, or the goal reached., I know that I didn’t do a thing. Not one single thing.