I am about to say something shocking. I enjoy running. There, I said it. This has not always been true. In fact, I have shunned running most of my life. Blame it on shin splints that spring I tried to run track in junior high. Hours of soaking in a hot bath did little to relieve that pain. Or maybe it was that the friends I tried running with in college had been running for months, even years, and I was new to it and trying to keep up was, well, agonizing. Better to just quit.

Team sports in general… not such a joy for me. I tried softball but I couldn’t see the ball. Really, I needed glasses. Volleyball I gave up even before try-outs. My wrists were sore. Soccer wasn’t an option back then and I didn’t’ have the coordination for basketball. Which is odd because I had the coordination to throw a baton in the air and catch it while spinning in circles and I had the coordination to march around a field waving a flag and contorting my body. Odd how coordination manifests itself in different ways.

Swimming , hiking, and weight-lifting and the occasional aerobics or yoga stint have been my go-to exercise choices.

Until a few weeks ago.

I was walking down the driveway one morning in the dark to get the newspaper when this inner voice (the one I’m beginning to call God’s Holy Spirit, not the other ones that are echoes of the world) said, “Run.” A couple of days went by with this repeating. So, I thought, “Ok.” I got up at the crack of dawn the next day, dressed, harnessed the dog, and left the house not really sure how this was going to go.

Oh, and Ann Voskamp published this. So for my first run, I kept telling myself, “Run to the light. Run through the darkness to the light. Run.” And I did and it didn’t kill me.

It has been freeing, this running. I have my dog and my God and the three of us are enjoying the time together. It’s good thinking time, good praying time. There was the one morning when I could almost see sandals slapping in the puddles next to me… Jesus feet. Or the times the moon has greeted the morning sun, each taking their places in the sky in their holy order and timing. Or the song of the birds, or the morning star that I thought was an airplane but it didn’t move and it didn’t move and finally I realized that God doesn’t move, He is unshakable, and He is there. Or the strength that I thought was gone, the lungs getting bigger, the legs that can do it and the Bible verses that help me get to the end.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

…and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1

That second verse comes to mind more and more often. So, I’ve signed up for a 5K. My first race. I don’t know about this. I’m fairly awed that I am signed up, that I signed up, that I even entertained the notion.

But what the heck. I’m running a road in the dark, and I can’t see the end, but I know there is light there because He is there, and He’s got this road, this journey, for me and I had better run with perseverance. Won’t it be fun to find out where it all goes!

And we’re back to my shocking statement. I can’t say “love” and “running” in the same sentence (except in the way that I just did). But there is joy in this running. And it looks a lot like this… IMG_20140214_115651_451 IMG_20140214_120344_481 IMG_20140214_120636_641 IMG_20140214_120346_630 IMG_20140214_115658_282puppy joy, tail wagging, tongue-hanging-out, panting joy.

Because God’s kinda put me in the harness and said, “Let’s run for a bit.” And then, we run, and He shows me the trees, and the sky, and I get to smell and feel, and expend and exert along the path as He shows me His world. It’s gorgeous out there. Mist and sun, rain and frost, moonlight, sunlight, trees silhouetted against the mist, against the dawn, against the moon. Hallelujah. My tail is wagging.

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