This was a speech I gave this week.
How many of you have ever run some point? This means we have something in common.
For me, my life on the run started at Age 4. At 4 I made two very key decisions that sculpted the rest of my life. Right now you’re probably doubting the ability to stick to a decision made at age 4, then you must not have anybody else with as much German and Irish stubbornness in them as I have.
Throughout my life those two decisions shaped my goals, the things that I pursued, and how I pursued them. I lived life on the run. I was on the run physically and metaphorically. Let me take a minute to tell you about that and how it got me where I am now.
The first decision.
The first decision I made at 4 was to play soccer. I remember it clearly. I was sitting on the couch with my parents watching the evening news, and they were doing a special about this new up and coming sport for kids – soccer. I told my parents that I wanted to play soccer, and I never looked back. I played from age 4 until I graduated college at 21. Now here’s a secret about me – I’m actually not that great at soccer. My best attribute is my ability to run. I play midfield which means I run the whole field, the whole game.
After my final college soccer season, I needed a new way to stay fit to maintain that jock identity I had developed and more importantly to look good in my wedding dress. So I signed up for a half-marathon, and running turned into my sport of choice, if you will, for life after college. I’ve run four half marathons and one full marathon. I actually qualified for the Boston Marathon, but I’m unable to run it in April now because we found out in December that were expecting our first child coming this August so that makes me 16 weeks pregnant right now.
The second decision.
I remember vividly, one night when I was 4 was sneaking out of bed, finding my parents, sitting with them in my yellow footy pajamas, and asking how to have Jesus in my heart. I grew up in a Christian home, and I was taught to take responsibility for my own faith, developing my own relationship with the Lord. All throughout high school and college I spent my summers going on overseas mission trips. I actually took a year off of college to do a ministry internship. I met my husband in China where we were both on a mission trip. Throughout every season of my life throughout all the ups and downs, that one thing has been constant. No matter if I doubted or if I was on fire, God was always there.
So what do these two things have to do with my life on the run?
No matter how good you are or try to be; crap still happens. I’ve had a pretty good life but there are plenty of things I tried to run from. I’ve tried to run from God, I’ve tried to run from responsibility, I’ve tried to run from the trials and not deal with them. And I’ve tried to do this by physically running. It used to be that when life got hard I would throw myself into soccer or I throw myself into my workouts – even to the point of injury. Because I was trying to to run away from what was happening on my life. Running and throwing myself into soccer was my way of trying to cope and escape. I was trying to put distance between myself and something.
Let’s face it. No matter how far or fast you run – you can’t escape things. You can never put enough distance between you and that thing. You will always be living your life on the run.
Through my college years, God taught me to stop running from and start running through things as I run towards Him and what He has for me. If you will run towards God, He will be faithful to run along side of you, to help you through it. Stop trying to put a negative distance between you and whatever you are running from. Run towards God, run through it, and put a positive distance of strength and healing between you and what life throws at you.
By running towards God I have found the courage to run through the trials. Even if that’s a scary unknown like going back to school for dietetics and starting to work for Trainer Joe. Or deciding to go to China where I met Will. Deciding to date a guy in Kentucky and then deciding to get married, move to Kentucky, and leave my family/life in Kansas. And now with this baby on the way, it’s knowing that God is running with me that keeps me calm.
My challenge to you is what are you running from? What are you running through? And what are you running to? Spring is upon us. To truly get out of the winters of our lives and enjoy the newness of spring – what trial or hard question do you need to run through instead of from?
Love and Prayers,