There was the sound of birds chirping in one ear; in the other, the sounds of worship music playing through my headphones.
In one piece of the sky shone a half moon brightly; in the other, the rays of soft purple and pink were bursting through the sky to say good morning to the world!
It's a beautiful day in God's creation. This marked yet another version of a "perfect run".
No timer today. No calorie counter. And no friends. Just me and my dog, Dexter, on this quiet, gorgeous morning.
Lately, I've been on my own for runs. My buddy, Alyssa, has had races back to back so she has needed her rest. So I've endeavored on my own yet again. It has been over a year since I've run on my own consistently, really. The first few times, it was hard. I missed her! (And I still do...) but I also forgot the peace it can be to hear the beautfiul noises of the morning and allow my thoughts to run deep and my prayers to run deeper.
It is on these "alone" runs that I do my best thinking. I clear my head the most. I breathe a little differently. My pace may not be as quick, but some runs, it is good to just be out, and not be competeing against myself for a time or a diastance....but simply to be out, remembering the joy of why I love to run so much. It is in these moments, I feel "Free".
Free of my anxieties.
Free of my responsibilities.
Free of my time constraints.
Free of my to-do list.
Free from my past.
Free from my hurts.
Free to dream.
Free to run.
Free to sing while I run.
Free to laugh at myself.
Free to be me!!!
It is one place where there are no expectations of me (unless, I, of course, put them there).
A Perfect Run. A perfect way to start my day. A way to see myself through God's eyes again. In the busy aspect of life, this goes by the wayside far too often and the world's voice can be loud. On the runs, I can hear God so clearly and see His beauty and feel His presence.
A perfect beginning.
Each day, God gives me a new slate. On some occassions, I use that slate well-I allow myself to be Free, as He's called me to be....Free to dance. Free to run. Free from my past. Free from sin. Free from the world's version of who I should be. Free to love who He's made me to be.
Still, on other ocassions, I struggle with this and I allow the anxieties to bog me down. I allow myself to get stuck in all the negative things said to me by someone or even by my own self. I allow frustrations to build. I become a prisoner of my mind in some cases.
Some days this can be unavoidable. I have an anxiety disorder. I don't talk about it often because so few people understand that, unless they themselves experience it. People want to tell me to "just breathe" or "just think about something else" or "just pray" or "just don't let it get to you."
I wish it were that simple....but for me, it's not. It is what I call "the thorn in my side". In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul is speaking of some type of problem he has which he has prayed for God to take away, but it remains. We are never given a clear picture of what that might have been, but he referred to it as "his thorn in the flesh (or side)". Thus, I call my anxiety the thorn in my side.
I have asked God to take it. I hate it. It feels awful. It hurts because it is rarely understood and often misunderstood as to why I have it or who it makes me to be. And yet, God allows it. And so I deal with it as it comes. It is more rare these days than it was ever before. I have learned a bit of what/who triggers it, but still, it is out of my control at times. A reminder to me that HE is in control. A reminder that He is my freedom and He gives me joy. A reminder that I am not in control. A reminder that He is the author of my life. And I can rest in that. He tells me in the book of James 1:
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.
And so I pray through it. I run through it. And I am free from it. Even if it is a thorn in my flesh at times.
Free from anxiety-even when it is there I am still free.
Free from my past.
Free from sin.
Free from hurts.
Even in the midst of anxiety...
And when I run, and when I turn to Him on a regular basis, I am free.
Free to dream.
Free to love.
Free to laugh.
Free to be me.