Beyond the Zone
Posted on September 7, 2013
One of the many benefits of running is the inexpensive therapy. Simply purchase some shoes and hit the road. It’s helpful to have at least one other person along to counsel you, but solo runs can be therapeutic, too. When I’m on my own, my messy thoughts get organized and brought down to size. When I’m with others, there’s something about running that can make it easier to share thoughts we might not share off-road. Maybe it’s because there are no interruptions and our conversations can go deeper. Or, maybe it’s the lack of eye contact. Or, it could be our understanding that confidences shared on the road stay on the road. It obviously depends on the people with whom we choose to share our miles, but I’ve found running to be a safe place to go beyond our zones of comfortable conversation … a place that provides support, perspective, and a lot of good therapy.
Yea, by thee I can crush a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. Psalms 18:29
I once ran a marathon with a friend who yanked me right out of my comfort zone. We were around mile 23 or 24 and she suggested we pray. I thought that was a great idea. I was sucking wind and needed some divine intervention. Then, she just started talking to God. And, she was mentioning everything but our race. She was talking to Him as if He was running right beside us. I listened for a bit and then uttered a few things, but I said them more to her than to Him. She just kept talking to Him, as if the three of us were having a conversation. I’d prayed my whole life – in church with the congregation, before meals with my family, in the car with my kids, with groups of friends, and one-on-one with God in silence. But, I had rarely talked to God out loud, with just one other person. Never on a run … or anywhere, really. I was a little uncomfortable. What if someone overheard us? She, on the other hand, was having a great conversation – with a Friend, and she was somehow making me feel included even though I wasn’t saying much. I had such admiration and gratitude for her faith, and I gradually started participating in the conversation. As it does with everything, practice helped and eased my discomfort. Our conversation eventually dwindled, and we finished our race, bonded in a new way. We all have things that make us uncomfortable. Praying out loud with another may not be where God is calling you, but He may be calling you to another place outside your zone. Whether you like to run, walk, or spend most of your time sitting, don’t let your areas of discomfort keep you inside your comfort zone. When we reach beyond our borders of safety, God can work great things in us.
Dear God, please help us reach beyond our areas of comfort to seek You.