So, I love to run. It's a hobby that began after PK was born and quickly grew to an obsession. At the end of fall last year my sister gifted me her old side-by-side double stroller and I could. not. wait for the snow to melt so I could get out onto the open roads and run with my kids in tow! It's by no means glamorous; it's material is tattered and worn, the colour has faded from being out in the sun too long and it currently has ABC cheerio's stuck all over it - but, it's lovely to me and does the trick. PK, my almost 3-year-old son, often tries to keep a conversation with me while running. If you've ever run, you know that keeping a conversation with a friend while running is hard - let alone trying to maintain one with a inquisitive toddler. But, I love his spirit of curiosity, so I do try and keep up with answering his questions as best I can without getting frustrated - but most times, our exchanges go like this:
"Mommy, what's that guy doing?" - PK
"He's watering his flowers, bud." - Me
"Because they are thirsty!"
"Because he wants to have pretty flowers."
"Because he likes flowers."
AND SO ON. You get the point. There is usually a lot of chatter that comes with my runs and I try to enjoy it because it's extra cardio and an added ab workout. #realtalk
Yesterday though, our run started a bit differently. I told him that I really wanted to focus on running fast today and that I might not be able to answer all of his questions but I would when we got home. He agreed and we started. About 15 minutes in, I guided the stroller down from the sidewalk to run on the road and dipped into a little hole that made the stroller jostle a bit.
Surprised, PK goes, "Whoa Mommy! That bump scared me. It came out of no where. I didn't even see it!" - I replied and said, "I'm sorry bud! I didn't mean to scare you. Sometimes that happens because the sidewalk is bumpy. We're not always ready for them because you can't always see them coming but we've just got to run right through it! Don't worry though - you're safe with yo Mama." And he said "Oh! OK." and continued on our route (and yes, I said "yo Mama").
That interaction consumed my thoughts for the rest of my run.
I can't help but feel like that was God speaking to me through the innocence of my son. Something so small, an interaction that could just as easily have had no meaning but it's literal one quickly turned into a very metaphorical reminder from God.
Life can be bumpy. I don't know why I walk through some seasons of life wondering why life is so bumpy and asking, "Lord WHY is my life so BUMPY?!" - because it just is. Life can hurt and makes us squirm in our seats because we either didn't see something coming or we were surprised by it. Sometimes life can scare us and take us off guard. And the response I gave to PK is the exact reminder I believe that I (and you) need to hear: Run right through it. What would have happened if I had not pushed the stroller through that pot hole? Well, we would have stayed right where we were. Stuck. So many times in life when things get hard, we get stuck. We stop and stay where we are; we allow thoughts to creep in that justify why we are stopping and refusing to move which allows space for isolation to creep in.
Why is it that our first reaction/instinct when things get uncomfortable or hard to just stop? I believe that's exactly the opposite of what God wants for us. Everything He has for us is on the other side of the bump(s) in the road. Everything He has for us is on the other side of hard conversation(s). Everything He has for us is on the other side of ... (fill in your own blank).
I love physically running! I run because it makes me feel good, keeps me healthy and challenges me. Am I going to stop running my route because there are a couple of pot holes/gaps in the sidewalk? Likely not, because I love my route.
Don't stop running. Remember why you are running and who you are running for. If you don't like your route, change it but, don't stop running.
"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes onJesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" Hebrews 12:1,2 (MSG)