Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | July 14, 2015

Learning to Run

Growing up I was never any good at team sports. I tried several, but I was mostly scared of them all. Worried I’d let my team down, or look like a fool, or fail. Softball, basketball, track…heck, even kickball at recess made me nervous. I was usually the second to last one picked for the team. Only one other kid was typically picked after me and she had these massive Christmas package sized bows on top of her head that was festooned with long, long braids and she wore lace socks with her uniform. Only she was picked after me.

Flash forward and I am in my forties, chasing my super-high energy autistic toddler about. I need to be in shape! So not all that long ago, I decided to up my game on my daily walk and started running in small bursts. Just a little bit at a time. Make it to that mailbox. Now run to the recycling bin. OK, now make it to the next light pole. Just a little longer to the corner; surely you can make it to the corner.

At first it was terribly hard, but over time I was able to run a little bit more, then a little bit more, until I was running more than I was walking. By focusing not on the whole outing as a run – which seemed impossible and overwhelming – but just the one small section directly ahead of me, I was getting stronger. I was building endurance. I was turning into a runner.

What a lesson for life. Jesus taught us not to worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34) He is telling us to focus on today and trust Him with our tomorrow. Tackle just one little piece of the challenge, not your whole life at once. Just run to the mailbox. Then the streetlamp. You’ll get stronger and before you know it, you will be running the race He has planned for you. When we try and tackle the whole thing at once it seems scary and overwhelming, because it is.

Life can often be scary and overwhelming. Loss of a big client and the steady retainer. Teenagers to raise (yes, that’s teenagers, with an “s”. As in two of them. Lord help me.) Home repairs. Car repairs. Sick in-laws. Autistic toddler. When I think of it all – college and kindergarten, IEP’s and new tires, taxes to pay and client to land – it is scary and overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. When I slow down, take time to breathe, take time to be in God’s word, to rest, to ask for guidance but then listen to His leading, it is far less scary. Because He does lead. He does guide and He does protect through all things, when I let Him.

When I was in high school, I ran track for two years. Badly, of course, and scared to death of letting everyone down most of the time, but I did learn to run and I was strong. Then I quit and running became a chore again. (Darn these duck feet of mine!) In college, I picked jogging up again for a while. I have started and stopped several times over in the years since. Not just the running, but the breathing, the time with God, the listening and the trusting in Him.

Here’s the great thing… Whenever I decide to learn to run again, there He is, waiting and ready to be my coach and help me grow stronger. And each time I get further than the time before. He never makes me start all the way over at the beginning, because He has grace and mercy beyond comprehension.

I am learning to run. Again. And there is no greater cheerleader and coach than the One who runs before me, beside me and will come after me, And he is running after you, too.

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