Are You Ready to Run?

Jen’s Gem: It’s ok to ask for help.

For the past few months, I’ve been walking each morning in an attempt to add some exercise to my somewhat inactive lifestyle. It’s had a variety of benefits, including better sleep (sometimes) and helping the scale move downward toward my weight loss goal. It’s also enabled me to spend a bit more time in nature during my favorite season.

However, after two weeks of the scale not moving, I decided that I needed to up my game and add another walk to my routine in the evening. Yesterday, I decided I need to kick it up another notch.

Recently, I’ve noticed that my near-daily constitutional was becoming quite easy. In fact, some days, despite my fast pace, I barely broke a sweat. Could this be the reason the scale has been stuck? After speaking to a friend of mine, she suggested that I might want to consider adding an interval or two of running. She explained that the short bursts of heightened activity might burn a few more calories.

I knew this to be true as I’d done this on my treadmill years ago. Yesterday, I decided to give it a try. As I approached a stretch of flatter pavement, I began to run – not a run for your life type of run, but a light jog. I gave myself a short-term goal to run to the stop sign.

That first time was a little unnerving. I could feel my feet pounding the pavement a bit harder. I could sense my internal radar was up a bit as I scoured the walkway for bumps that could cause me to trip.  Sadly, I could also feel parts of my body jiggling a bit more than when I was just walking.

I passed other runners who clearly were more experienced (and had no jiggly parts!). They gave me a slight wave and moved on. At each interval, I’d return to my walking pace, breathing a bit heavier, heart pounding a bit more, but elated that I did not fall, or worse have a heart attack and be left for dead in the street.

Along with this euphoria, I also got a boost of confidence. I could hear myself saying “I did it!” “I did it!” I wanted to text my friend and share the good news. I’m certainly not ready to run any races, but I accomplished something I didn’t think I could.  However, I had some help along the way.

Every now and then, I came across a marking in the road or an unusual formation on a sidewalk that  provided me with encouragement. Call it what you will, but I believe the arrows and crosses photos in this post were God’s way of saying, “I’m with you on this new endeavor. You can do it.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) is a Bible verse I often recite during my daily walks, especially as I near the end and have to face the final hill. (Let’s just say it is recited more than once!)  I certainly could’ve muttered this popular verse during my sprints, but I think God wanted to kick it up a notch.

While I know that God is with me 24/7/365, whether I’m out walking or writing content for clients or driving to the grocery store, sometimes I’ll admit that I forget this truth and think I have to do everything on my own, in my own strength.

Not only does this rarely work, but it’s not what God wants. He wants us to ask Him for help. That’s His intention for all of His children. We were not designed to go it alone.

As I rounded the last bend of my walk, one of my favorite songs began to play – “Keep Your Eyes on Me.” I love this song. I love the melody, the lyrics, and the harmonies. Every time I hear it, it makes me smile. This tune, along with the myriad of other signs along my walk yesterday, reminded me that God is always with me. In fact His Word says He will be with us until the “end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20)

But I have to do my part too by speaking His Word, which are His promises to us; by taking those leaps of faith, knowing He’s with me; and by keeping my eyes on Him – not the challenge du jour.

You may be at a crossroads in your life or perhaps you are dealing with a particularly difficult situation. You may be struggling to figure out what is the right path to take or you may not know how to begin. I would like to assure you that you are not alone. You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself.

You have help – the best help actually. Who better to hold your hand through this trial than your Father in heaven, who created you, who knows you inside and out, and who is waiting for you to take His hand?

I’d like to encourage you this week to ask for that help. A simple, “God, I don’t know what to do and I need help,” request will do. There’s no need to tell Him all the details of the situation. (Spoiler alert – He already knows!) Just ask and then…listen and watch for signs along the way. If you’re not a praying person, you may not hear or see something right away, but don’t give up.

Just remember, we all have to walk before we can run.

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