When I started this blog I shared my story of running to faith. The story of a broken down girl, living in a broken down house, with a broken down life.
That was nearly 14 years ago.
It is the story of finding a personal relationship with God out on the open road, because I believe God is in the streets.
How an unexpected passion for running led me into the arms of a Savior who did just that.
From myself. From my sin and grief and lonliness and despair.
How He made me new.
I never stopped running. I’ve run marathons and triathlons and even an Ironman.
Now I know our God has a crazy sense of humor because He invited me there – literally through strangers. Two women readers of this blog, following a call on their hearts to reach out and invite me – a stranger – and God telling me to say yes. Even though saying yes meant missing the first two days of an annual trip our family takes.
He said go. And I have learned when God leads, it is best when we follow.
It was no surprise that Jennie started her message with a parable she had written about running a race. Running has led me to every good thing I have in my life. My husband, my children, this life – it taught me to design a life I love. A life lived out for the good of others.
A life that is far bigger and braver than my own.
Each of us called to a run a race with a God-planted purpose for our lives, the one thing we were put here before the foundations of the earth to do, and there are three places we can be.
In Jennie’s parable, we can be running. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. We can be injured, sitting on the side of the road to rest, replenish and heal. Or we can find temporary comfort in complacency and begin critiquing or criticizing the other runners.
What’s your crazy God dream and where are you in your race?
God had big things planned for every heart at this retreat. Every single one. He has big plans for each and every one of your hearts too.
We can choose it or not.
We can choose to run or we can sit on the side of the road and complain and critique and criticize the other runners for how they could be doing it better or different or why they should really just sit down with us and forget about it completely. We can do that.
He will let us.
But at the end of this life when it is all said and done I want something that lives beyond me. Something to pass down to my children and their children and theirs. I want to be worthy of the calling I have received. I want my life to leave a legacy of loving others well – one that lives beyond the selfish desires of our flesh and gets on with the life He has marked out for us. The life He prepared in advance for us to live.
Again, I say yes.
I’ve been running my dream right here with each and every one of you. This.
This is my dream and so many days it scares the absolute heck out of me. You see my greatest idols are fear of man. From the time I was a young girl I have lived desiring the approval and acceptance of friends, family and even strangers. Taking my eyes off Jesus and scanning the crowd to see if I’m doing it right. If they will accept me. Include me. Invite me in.
And I realize I’m not far away from where I was 14 years ago running to faith. I’m still running, but this time it’s not to faith, now I’m running by faith.
Because if I’m honest I don’t know the way. I don’t have a clue where I’m going or how I’ll get there or even what I’m headed to. I just know that it’s where He’s telling me to go and I promised Him a long time ago I would follow if He would lead. One unsure step at a time.
I’m not braver or wiser or smarter or faster than any of you. In fact I am sure that I’m less equipped and less qualified than a million others for wherever I’m headed.
But He tells me to go, and that my greatest weakness will be His greatest strength.
And so I run by faith. Grasping and searching and listening and praying every single day that He go before me and make a way because I cannot go by my own. If I were to go alone I would quit right now because the journey has been hard and full of pain and rejection and loss already. But He says to me, “In this life you will have trouble but I have already overcome!” He has already overcome.
I recently wrote a book based on the message of Hebrews 12:1-4.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Jennie Allen based her message on the same scripture. Of course she did!
I’m telling you friends. God speaks to us. He is living and breathing and He whispers to us in small things. In the unexpected invitations from strangers and the overwhelming conviction to say yes. In the difficult miles we’ve run and the mystery and grace of how far we’ve come. In words spoken and patterns we see repeating.
He is in the details of our life. Every hardship, every heartache, every tear that has fallen He is in it. I believe that with all that I am because I have lived it.
God lives and breathes and fills our every need in the details.
What is He saying to your heart? Would you have the courage to say yes?