Friday, October 5, 2012

I was struggling on my run yesterday morning.  I have been struggling for weeks or even months to get my time back down.  I want to move on to longer distances but I also want to get my time down and it just isn’t happening.  I’m discouraged.  Yesterday morning I was running and talking with my friend and running partner, Melisa.  We were near the end of our 3.1-mile (plus a little bit more) run and I was lagging behind.  Actually, I’d been lagging behind the entire time.  Just a few steps, but behind. 

I was struggling to remember the words to the Veggie Tales song I personalized for my runs.  I could remember the way the French peas sing it, but not my version.  It took some real brainpower and a couple false starts to finally get it, and then I sang it over and over about 10 times.  I remembered when I used to still walk part of the way on the course near my house and how I would find a focal point on each section.  It was always something God made - usually a tree - and not something man made.  I started to say, “God, give me a focal point,” but all I got out was, “God, give” and BOOM!  there was a palm tree I knew was my focal point! 
(the one just to the left of the building)  It was high and leafy and black against the sky that was just barely starting to turn pink with the rising sun.  (I took these pictures in the evening because it was still dark after our run and the pictures I took then didn't turn out.)  I stared at that palm tree until the sidewalk curved a little and something blocked my view of it. 
I didn’t purposely turn off the path or take my eyes off the tree, but something I had no control over blocked my view of it.  It was still there but I couldn’t see it.  A few seconds later it came back into view
and then shortly after that it was hidden again.  Just before we had to turn the corner I saw it once more.  After we turned I said, “Okay, God, I need another focal point.”  The trees I could see were all running together and I couldn’t pick out a specific one.  There was a pretty street light but that’s artificial.  I wanted something God made.  He said, “I know you do, but you’ll just have to pretend this time.”  I thought about how God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  I watched the light, artificial though it was, illuminate the tree it was in front of. 
I passed that light and needed another focal point.  I saw another tree up ahead (just to the right of the pink pillar closer to the sidewalk) and focused on it. 
Then, again through no fault of mine and even though I was staying on the path (sidewalk), my view of my focal point was obstructed by a man-made object. 
I kept running.  Soon the tree came into view again. 
Now Melisa pushed me to run the last leg of our course and give it all we had.  We turned another corner and I looked for a last focal point.  I could barely see it, but straight ahead of us was a tree. 
(We were much farther away when I first saw it but it didn't show up in the picture at that point.)  It was still pretty dark and I couldn’t clearly see the leafy part, but I clearly saw the trunk.  Weird.  I would think that would be the easiest to blend into the darkness.  I kept running toward it anyway and finished our normal course plus about another 1/10 of a mile that I’d suggested we add when we started. 
It was my plan to focus on God-made objects to help me run, and it was God’s plan to give me objects He made to help me run.  Occasionally those objects were hidden from my view, but I kept on running anyway.  What’s really cool is that each object showed me a different aspect of God.  The leaves of the trees were pretty and leafy and high up and nice to look at.  The light, even though it was artificial, showed me how God lights my path.  The tree trunk was solid and stable.  All different and all helped me get to my goal, which was to glorify God with my body.  1 Corinthians 6:20.