Hello January! It’s a new year and that means resolutions and goals for the year. Many of those resolutions or goals have to do with exercising and getting healthy. There is nothing wrong with those. Being healthy is a good thing—an important thing. What about your spiritual health though? What are you doing to work on your spiritual health this year? What are some goals you can put in your life to help strengthen your relationship with Christ? It is different for each person. It may be reading through the whole Bible, or maybe just reading the Bible every day, or working on praying more, or praying for specific things. For me, one of my goals is to stop being a runner.
You might be wondering what running has to do with my spiritual health, but it has everything to do with it. I’ve realized that I’m a runner. It is what I do—it’s what I know to do when life gets stressful or overwhelming I run. It became so much a part of my life that I began to let it consume me. Being a runner became my identity. I spent lots of time mapping out routes and plans for my running. Even if I didn’t run, knowing that if life got to be too much I had a running plan in place gave me comfort. The problem with this is 1) I was running from God by not finding my comfort in Him and 2) My running wasn’t the throw on some running shorts run a few miles type. It was running in my heart and mind.
If you are confused it’s okay. I will explain. The running that I am referencing is my heart’s struggle to not trust people and get close to people who genuinely care about me. Specifically my church and even God. When life gets stressful my tendency is to hide away, to make plans for a sudden move in the middle of the night, or at least plan some trip randomly and just go without telling a soul. There is nothing wrong with getting away from things. Everyone needs a break, and I’m an introvert so I need time away from people. The problem is when I don’t spend that time away to be with God. Even when Jesus was on Earth He retreated to spend time with His father. The problem is when I’m mentally running from it all instead of mentally running to Christ. I need to be taking time away from everyone and everything to spend time plugging into my life source and growing my relationship with Him.
Running away from my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ has also been a struggle. Part of the struggle is my introverted tendencies. I get peopled out very easily, especially if life is stressful. And not running doesn’t mean I’m going to be with people 24/7 now. (See above paragraph) It does mean that I need to learn to just mentally jump in when I’m with my church family in particular. Most of this running is a mental struggle. It is very easy for me to keep walls around my heart and mind by mentally not being “all in” by questioning genuineness of those around me and by having my running plan mapped out. For me to stop being a runner I have to mentally crumple up and throw away all those running maps and plans. They don’t exist anymore. There is no plan B—only where God has me now in this time in my life. It means getting out of my headspace and taking on the mentality of, “I’m here with brothers and sisters in Christ, how can I serve them? How can I encourage them?” It means filling my head and heart with God’s truth and reminding myself that I’m not as weird as I think I am, not an outsider, and not as awkward as I think I am. Okay, yep I can be seriously awkward sometimes, but it’s more of being okay with that and not being so hard on myself. It means sometimes taking a deep breath and just stepping out of my comfort zone a little. It means not mentally freaking out when you start to talk to someone you don’t normally talk to because you’re afraid to be awkward or say something wrong. It means reminding myself that God gave me my personality, my quirks, and my awkwardness, and He thinks I’m okay. As a matter of fact I’m beginning to realize He thinks I’m more than okay; I’m perfect to Him.
My resolution, to not be a runner away from God and my brothers and sisters in Christ, but to run toward them if I must run.