I've never considered myself a runner - the confining shoes, the jarring of my body with every stride, the dripping sweat and out of breath gasps - all of it is not in the slightest bit exhilarating to me. And yet I am a runner and I have been my whole life, or at least the parts I remember of it. But my running has not been to get or to stay fit. It has not been for sport. And it has definitely not been to win anything - unless you consider a life of guarded loneliness a prize to be showcased on your mantel, which I ashamedly admit that for many years in my life I did see it as just that. But that's another story for another day.
In last weeks blog post, I shared a part of my story with you that went all the way back to grade school - to the sixth grade - the year I put on my running shoes. If you missed that post, you can read it here. But the part of that story which speaks to what I want to share with you today is that I encountered some pretty intense bullying that year in school, with the toughest part being the fact that it came from those whom I believed to be my closest friends. A dramatic tragedy in the life of a young child whose whole world, whose whole identity, had been wrapped up in the pursuit of being "popular."
While I could go into the details that were to be my everyday dreaded experience that school year, that is not the story I want to focus on today. That is not where I want to dwell. I excelled at dwelling there for far too many years. Today, I simply want to take a glimpse back...to share with you what I've learned has kept me from #movingforward.
It was from that point on in my life in which doubt proceeded me into every room and carried into my every relationship. It acted as a smoke screen through which I viewed my life and the world, making it very difficult to see the truth amongst the haze. Instead, I ran...from everything...
Someone hurt me and broke my trust - I ran.
Someone rejected me - I ran.
Someone attempted to get too close - I ran.
God tried to show me His love - I ran.
I ran, I ran, I ran...same marathon story in which I always lost repeated over and over and over...
It would take me many years into my adult life, into my married life even, to realize that the smoke screen is artificial - a tool of the enemy to mask his movement in our lives - to conceal the real battle going on here for the confidence of our hearts. A lesson I am just now beginning to fully understand.
It has been many years since I've felt any sort of ill feelings or grudges towards those grade school friends turned rivals all those years ago. In fact, just about every one of them is on my FB friends list and I even chat with a few of them from time to time recalling the good memories we did have. And yet, despite the forgiveness that has taken place, I still have to fight the urge daily to not put up the guard our gracious Lord has been so diligently and patiently working to remove since I made the choice to turn towards Him. But why? Why after all these years do I still leave my running shoes at my side ready to lace up in moments notice? Why has there not been a #moving forward once and for all story?! The answer? - Pg.89, "A Confident Heart," by Renee Swope:
"Sometimes that hurt little girl still has too much say in my heart. If I listen to her, powerful yet immature emotions from my past rise to the surface."
Wow! The story of my doubts summed up in two sentences. Well, three really because she then goes on to write the best part:
"But they are not the truth in my life."
Amen! They. Are. Not. The. Truth. Repeat that again if you need to...
The truth is, The enemies plans and intentions don't fool God and they don't have to fool us either.
God can clear the smoke away with just the hush of His voice - the whisper of His promises.
The weight of His Word is mightier than that of the enemies lies. And so, just like lighter air is lifted and cleared to make way for denser air, so does God's promises clear the rooms of our hearts and minds, causing our haze of doubts to rise up to Him where He can begin His cleansing works and wash us with His healing love.
This is the knowledge I want to tuck away in my heart - the promises of our mighty God!
It is time to say a final good night to the lost and hurting little girl inside. It is time to stop running from the pain that she felt. And it is time to run instead into His healing arms where He can wrap me up in His loving truth and send me running on into His will and purpose - to run the race that God has marked out for me...you see, over the last year, I have felt called. Called to share my story. Called to reach out to others who are where I was - living like a robot going through the motions of life, but wanting to be free, wanting to be loved, wanting to experience life in full measure but too afraid to step out and risk getting hurt. And me knowing that it is simply the lack of knowledge of God's love and truth in their lives -the missing presence of His prevailing promises - how can I not share...how can I not lead others to the freedom I am experiencing in God?
I know if I'm to do this, if I'm to be #movingforward towards the call, then I must claim God's promises over my life and give Him back the spot in my mind and heart that should only be reserved for Him. All those doubt thoughts I've had of 'I'm not healed enough, good enough, knowledgeable enough in the Word...all those 'I haven't arrived so I need to wait' thoughts...all the fear and worrying of 'what do I have to offer' and wondering what others will say or do in reaction...all of these doubts that kept me frozen - stuck in the muck of my past - all these measly lies of the enemy must be lifted up to our Lord and replaced with His mightier truth!
The enemy may have had me fooled that "my beautiful" was still a broken down child crushed by the mistrust of her grade school friends, and that "my beautiful" was not in fact beautiful at all because it is not perfect. But the truth of our God tells us different. The truth of our God tells us our brokenness is beautiful. The truth of our God tells us that our brokenness is what makes us usable. The truth of our God blows away the lies and fears that we will forever be broken! The truth is I am broken and beautiful and you are too. Did you hear that? The truth IS. Not the truth was or the truth will be, but the truth is. Period.
Are you running lost in the haze of your doubts? Is there smoke in your life that needs to be cleared? Will you stop running with me and turn instead towards our God today? He is there waiting for you with the hope of His promises offering you the way to begin #movingforward from the pain of your past. I hope and pray that you'll do so.
Lord, we turn toward you today and ask that you would help us to clear our smoke screen of doubts. Fill our hearts with your promises so that each and every doubt is displaced and lifted to you for your cleansing and healing touch. Lord, give us a confident heart in you and help us to run the true race - the race you have marked out for us and us alone. In Jesus name, Amen.
"...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..." -Hebrews 12:1b-2a
"Why are you frightened," he asked. "Why is your heart filled with doubt?" -Luke 24:38
"They will build the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." -Isaiah 61:4