But since her bottom was planted firmly to the old worn couch and her legs felt heavy like she had taken her jeans off the clothesline and put them on before they were dry, there was no way she could move. This perfect move-in had gone from glorious to dangerous more quickly than she could shoot a marble. Daddy asked her if she had any questions, and even though her mind was filled up with words nothing came out of her mouth. In the days leading up to this, and in her short eight years, running felt like the most wonderful way to play. But not today, today running felt necessary because it was the only way to escape what was going on inside of her heart.
But how, she wondered, can you run away from your heart?
I’m a runner.
And I don’t mean the type that laces up their shoes and hits the pavement. I’m talking about the other kind. The kind that runs on the inside away from things that are painful or too hard. The kind of running that leaves you breathless not because of physical activity but because of fear that grips your heart and leaves you struggling for air.
Running is how I handled my life when my children were small clear up until my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Honestly I don’t think I would have thought much about my behavior because I’ve always been a busy person by nature; I don’t like to sit still for long. But what I didn’t realize until mother was diagnosed and there was no place to run, was just how damaging this lifestyle had been for me. When you face pain on that level there’s nothing in this world that can help you get it off of your mind. Even times spent in prayer and Bible reading are plagued with thoughts of what could come next, and will I be able to handle it?
A hurt that deep changes everything.
Her diagnosis has become a crisis of belief point in my life. I went from loving Jesus with all of my shallow heart, to being shoved into the deep end of the pool and held under until there was nothing left to do but stop fighting. Interesting that I would use that particular word to describe how I felt. Fighting, I thought, involved remaining relatively in one place, and putting my dukes up. But I’ve learned there is more than one way to fight.
Run and don’t look back.
That was my undeclared life motto.
Running was my escape.
I figured if I could run hard and fast enough then the hurts and difficulties that were chasing me would never be able to catch me. What a lie. The fact is we can run for as long as our mind will let us but there will come a time when we will have to stop and stand. I’ve told you this before, I really thought I might die when I had to feel the pain of mom’s diagnosis, and ultimately her death. And then I was sure I couldn’t take any more when I watched my dad suffer through the loss while dealing with my own grief. But, today I am two years and four months down the road of healing and I can honestly tell you that life is richer when you don’t run from it. Not easy, but inner healing is worth the struggle.
It’s like the beauty mixed in with sorrow become the most eclectic mixture of color and emotion.
A kaleidoscope we call life.
As a little girl I think I understood that life would get messy and I wanted nothing to do with it. I preferred the sunny days and the blue skies.
What I understand as an adult is mighty winds will blow through our lives; they’ll pick up everything in their path and leave chaos behind. And even though it hurts real bad while it’s happening, there’s a promise of freshness to follow. It reminds me of those summer storms that cause trees to bend over; when the wind gives the leaves a wreckless ride and where flowers are left lying on the ground beaten down by the relentless rain.
But sooner or later the sun comes back out.
And the ground shimmers as it illuminates everything it touches. Before you know it the flowers are standing back up and the leaves have nestled their way into the grass finding a new home. It’s then you realize the rain is exactly what you needed.
It brought nourishment and strength.
Running from your problems, your difficult situation or the thing that’s hurting you is only going to hinder you from being able to experience what God is wanting to do in you and for you. Sooner or later you’re going to be pushed into the deep end of the pool, take it from me your Heavenly Father won’t let you drown. He’s promised to walk through the deep waters with you, and I can tell you from personal experience that HE WILL. You might think you’re not going to survive, but you will. And your life will be richer because you stood and didn’t run and allowed the Lord to work.
Not to mention all of this running is exhausting.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT