According to the program on my phone, I've spent 4 hours and 30 minutes of the last week walking/running. That's 270 minutes dedicated to an activity I despised and swore I would never do. Not even to save myself from a violent crime.
Somewhere, I hear the cackle of my former PE teacher turned coworker.
I was initiated into this running club by a 7 inch blister on the back of my foot that I swore would callous if I could just keep walking. So I bought NuSkin, bandaids and wrapped my foot to keep the rubbing to a minimum. That particular jaunt ended with me walking barefoot on one foot with a bleeding heel until I could make it to the car. The CCL offered to piggy back me--that's how nasty it looked. And believe me. It didn't feel any better than it looked. I limped for days.
But all of that is beside the point. The point is that God is using running to teach me about The Needing. Well, actually, God has used everything in my current path to converge on me with a lesson about needing so powerfully that I found myself face down on my floor crying out to Him this afternoon.
When I look at my surroundings, I'm struck by how little we really need God to move. Few of us really depend on Him for our daily bread and become the ultimate problem solvers when it comes to encountering temptation. We pray for His kingdom to come on Sunday but seem to lose all real conviction the power and the glory that could work in our lives to bring Him praise any other day of the week.
We circle mountains and circle mountains and circle mountains living our lives of "quiet desperation" as Thoreau once said. But never once do we...er, I...entertain the idea that my quiet desperation is a crying out for His presence.
Well, I didn't. Until I started running.
The experience of running has been a nutty thing for me. My legs may hurt, but I could honestly run a couple of miles except for the hinderance of my lungs. In protest of this activity, my lungs refuse to process air. Instead, my mouth takes it in and my lungs politely declare an unwillingness to expand for said air. It's awesome. And by awesome, I mean ridiculously panic inducing. There's nothing worse than feeling suffocated--real, lack-of-oxygen suffocation.
My running partners (and my own sense of determination) have worked hard at pushing my boundaries. More often than not, my brain hits panic mode and demands that I quit in order to breathe. God used that opportunity to speak to me.
(I never want to speak *for* God, but the following is what took place in my heart during a particularly grueling session. It wasn't out loud; however, it was very, very real.)
God: Don't quit.
Me: I can't keep going. I need to breathe. My lungs can't get enough air. I can't keep going like this; I'll pass out.
God: Ask Me. Ask for My Strength. You need Me for your next breath.
In my life of self-help-quiet-desperation, I never considered how deeply I have needed Him. I've circled mountains with no hope of finding an end.
Then I heard Him say, "You've circled this mountain long enough; turn north" (Deuteronomy 2:3).
North didn't mean those things dropped out of sight or magically disappeared. North has been a place of complete and total dependence on His capability alone.
It's running and depending on Him for my next breath.
So in the near future, I'm praying for a Needing that will grip my heart and not let go. If running is the only thing that reminds me to Need, it will become a daily part of my routine.
Feel free to hold my hand on this trip.
We're heading north to find streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43).
(Thoughts? Comments? Every blogger appreciates feedback.)