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...
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: