whiteflowersandelephants


Running
March 18, 2012, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I went running today in Cameron Park. It was a beautiful spring day, windy, nice. I do the River Walk which is somewhere between 4.5 and 5 miles long. I usually walk it, but lately I’ve been running parts of it.

I start out the trail running, and go as long as I can. I watch the leaves on the canopied trail, and the river in the breaks between the foliage. I listen to my breathing, as it slowly transitions from breathing to huffing. I stop running, and walk as I catch my breath. I get back up to a power walk, and keep that up till I reach the Bosque River. Once I round that turn I set off running again. I watch the Austin chalk on the cliffs to my left, and the river to my right. I try to protect my ankles, as this is a rougher terrain and I am prone to sprains. I set goals, run to that next rock. I get to the rock, and decide to run to the curve in the trail. I veer to the right with the curve and am now hungry to make it across the bridge. I make it over the bridge and I want to run to the top of the hill. Once I get to the top of the hill, I give in to walking.

The end of the trail is right around MCC, and looks more like a fairyland than a trail. I take the opportunity to meander around the tight curves and under low hanging limbs, just enjoying. I make the turn at MCC, back in the direction of my car, and set out running again.

The way back was different.

I was tired. I had pushed harder than I was used to on the way to the fairyland, and I knew running back would be a chore. I thought about walking all the way to the Brazos. And suddenly, as if I was tuning in to a radio station, I heard my Coach. He sounded like a drill sergeant, He was telling me to run. RUN RUN RUN you can do it! You better run girl! I ran, I jogged like an 80 year old man to be precise. That’s right, that’s right! You RUN! You don’t quit! My baby doesn’t ever quit! She never ever would quit, she’ll run to Calcutta if I told her to, you can make it girl! I asked Him, where am I running to? What am I looking for? He said I was running to a bridge, and I could stop once I crossed it. I was tired, but He was yelling on the side of the trail, My baby wont quit, she cant quit! I told her to run to the bridge, its already done! I’ve seen her finish, there’s no other option! She’s going!  She’s going! Never quit! You RUN! Way before I would have been exhausted I saw the bridge, I crossed it and I started walking, catching my breath.

And I’m not kidding, I heard Jesus Christ cheering. He was telling all the angels in heaven about how proud He was of me. He was busting with glee, because I was hearing Him, and obeying. He was saying, My baby listens! Amanda hears me! She obeys! Did you see her?! She ran the whole way! She never quit! She made it to the bridge, she’s walking with me now! She’s hearing me!

Hearing all that going on, you better believe I was power walking.

I knew He was going to ask me to run again, and I was looking out for the marker. He wouldn’t say what I was looking out for, he said to just keep listening and looking and He’d tell me when I got there. I was walking fast, anticipating a run. I didn’t know if it would be a long run or a short one, but I did know that Jesus knows my body, and my headaches and my out of shape heart. I said in my spirit, He would never ask me to do more than I can do. He yelled right back, You better believe it! I am so known by Him.

I rounded the curve toward the Brazos, still no running. I asked Him, He said to wait.

Eventually, I saw a family coming my way, a man in a green shirt with a stroller. He said once I passed that man I was going to run. At this point in the trail, if I started running, I knew He was going to make me run the whole way out of there. It was a longer distance than I had ever run in there, maybe ever run in my life. I started running once I passed the man, and Jesus. went. nuts. Oh He was screaming, and yelling. GO GIRL, RUN! You wont quit, my baby wont quit! You’re gonna run all the way, all the way to the end, you never will quit! She’s going, She’s going!

After running for quite awhile, I was looking out for landmarks that would show me I was nearing the end of the trail, there weren’t any. They were way up ahead. The landmarks, to give me hope that the end was even in my future, were way up ahead. How am I going to run this whole way?

Jesus was just freaking out, so excited, so pumped. I was more focused on His excitement than on my running. I just kept going and going. I saw a curve that looked like the last curve in the trail. It wasn’t, it was the third to last curve. I was looking at the other side of the river, trying to see if I could judge how close I was to the end. I had no idea how I was going to keep running at this point. What is He asking of me?

I saw a light on some trees up ahead. It seemed like the end of the trail. I thought it was the end of the trail. I expected it to be the end of the trail, and as I rounded the last curve it became clear that it wasn’t.  I could see there were more trees and leaves behind it.

I stopped running, I can’t do this forever! I took 6 steps, and in those 6 steps, I saw that after the lighted part of the trail were 5 or 6 more feet of trees and trail and then the end. I started running again, I ran all the way.

Stretching out my calves before I began the run, I wondered what time it was. I wanted to be able to do this trail in an hour or less, so I needed to figure out the time. I left work at 3:00, so it was probably 3:15 or 3:20 something. I saw the numbers 4:25 very clearly in my mind’s eye. Thanks God, ok, I’ll be done here by 4:25. That’s the goal, were working toward 4:25.

Walking out of the trail, towards the car, I was so discouraged. I walked. I stopped running. I didn’t obey. Jesus was bragging on me to the angels, and I didn’t trust Him that I could do it. I thought I knew where the exit was. It wasn’t exactly what I thought, so I just quit. I felt like my faithlessness had broken the favor I had, and that it had slowed time down, and I was going to get in my car and see 4:32.

I got to the car, and turned the key, waiting for the time to pop up, totally discouraged. Like it always does, the CD player showed me the setting, the track currently playing, a black screen and finally the time. 4:12.

4:12. Not 4:25. Not 4:32. 4:12.

What?!

Radical trust and obedience doesn’t get you the promise. The promise is coming, you’ll get there. Radical trust and obedience gets you the promise +. I’m not going to let Him down by messing up in the middle of trying to give Him my best. I’m not going to break everything He’s building in my life by being frustrated in the middle of the miracle. I’m not derailing this train. But as I give Him absolutely everything, resigning my strength and my health and my comfort to His hands, I will receive not exactly what He promised, but better than what He promised.

It was as if he promised me an apartment, but gave me a house instead.

He doesn’t care about me running, he cares about me depending on every word from His mouth, and leaning to His leading. He wants me tuned in to Him, listening to Him cheering me on. He was excited because my obedience meant that I was listening. My obedience meant I was trusting. My obedience meant that what He said mattered more than whatever I thought.

The goal didn’t look like what I was expecting, so I slowed to a crawl right near the end. But as I was crawling toward the finish line, I saw that though my expectation was off, my hope was correct, and I set off running again.

Jesus and my life may not turn out like I expect in every situation, but He is trustworthy. My hope will not be disappointed, even if my expectations are off. I was expecting the trail to end at that lighted portion of trees. Because of the curvature of the trail, I couldn’t see that the trail would ever end, even though I was totally correct in my hope that the end would be just after those lighted trees. It looked different than I thought. The circumstances were not encouraging.  But my hope was still correct. No matter what it looks like, hope in Jesus is placed rightly. Everything in my life may not play out exactly like I would write in this blog, but Jesus will be glorified in my life. Children will be restored and built up. Lives will be changed, and His Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.

And when I mess up in the midst of the race, when I doubt, or quit, or cry in a corner, the promise is not destroyed, or even deferred. Because of the times I took His hand, and followed Him with everything I have, laying down all my ambitions and plans, giving Him my radical obedience and trust, my inheritance will be the promise plus immeasurably more.

And when I get to my car, it’ll be 4:12, and God will still be my main squeeze. Wow, I love that Guy.

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