To and From

I’ve heard many stories of runners who left shadows, skeletons and challenges in the dust with the help of their running shoes.  Addictions, abuse, handicaps, betrayals, illness … running can be a catalyst for change and renewal.  Some perceive it as an escape.  Running from a problem.  Every runner, however, eventually discovers problems can’t be outrun.  Shadows and skeletons are speedy, and they pursue their victims until they’re acknowledged, faced, and broken down.  If running helps fuel the courage to face a problem and provides strength to break it down, it’s not an escape.  It’s running to something better.

Thou who hast made me see many sore troubles wilt revive me again; from the depths of the earth thou wilt bring me up again.  Thou wilt increase my honor, and comfort me again.  Psalms 71:20-21

The further we stray from dealing with a problem, the harder it becomes to face.  And, ignoring it won’t make it disappear.  It may get buried under distractions, temporarily concealed with the passage of time, or set apart by distance, but it will be waiting to pounce with a vengeance when our defenses are down.  It doesn’t sound fun to look our problems in the eye, much less run toward them with courage.  They can be painful, sad, scary, and frustrating, but it’s nearly impossible for us to be renewed unless we acknowledge what’s rundown.  God already knows the parts of us that are neglected and in bad repair, but it’s not until we take note and confess to Him that we’ll be ready for Him to restore us.  Being renewed doesn’t mean we’ll be shiny and clean.  Some scars don’t go away and some memories never fade; but they will lose their ability to inhibit joy and a life fully-lived.  God will pull us through with our blemishes, and He will make us beautiful by them … we’ll be shabby chic.  Are you struggling to find a problem “big enough” to warrant this kind of acknowledgement?  So far, I’ve been spared the types of “addictions” we think of when we hear that word, I haven’t been abused, I obey our laws (for the most part), and I’m not facing the fear that accompanies serious illness or the challenges of a “handicap”, as defined by our society.  But, I have amassed an endless list of shadows and skeletons in repeated, subtle ways.  An ungrateful heart, a prideful existence, an unforgiving attitude, material idols, and so on … and so on.  Before we stray too far, let’s stop, take note, and run to something better.

Dear God, thank you for always renewing my spirit when I come to you in confession, seeking forgiveness.