This morning my almost 15 year old son and I left the house for our run with a new plan. For the past month, we’ve had to go out and map the length of the course we wanted to do before we actually got down to the business of running. But with the awesome new app on the iPhone I sweet-talked my hubby into letting us borrow, we set off knowing only which direction we were headed. It was exhilarating to know we weren’t at the starting end of a run that would take us in circles, repeating stretches 2 and 3 times in the following hour. We were thrilled, having been set free from the captivity of redundancy.
Until we hit the first big hill, that is! Then reality set in.
Yes, we were seeing new scenery. Pounding new pavement. We’d broken out of our rut and gotten brave enough to tackle the mountain road in all it’s mountainous splendor. But we hadn’t realized just how up-hilly it would be. Or how many more cars would be passing by to witness our self-inflicted torture.
It wasn’t the most pleasant reality I’ve encountered and it was very tempting to turn around and stick to our more level, usual path. But we plugged on, determined not to be defeated.
And then that ridiculous new app decided to start talking. Apparently, she thought we’d like to know that we’d only covered a mile and it had taken us over 10 minutes. Granted, we were on the upward climb but still, our pace was pretty sad and I felt like she was rubbing it in. So I picked up the pace a little, and a half mile or so later was pretty sure my son was going to have to run for help to drag his collapsed Mama off the road.
Pride. He’s a vile companion who pokes his ugly head up at the most inopportune times, don’tcha think? In this case, he was trying hard to kill me!
The next mile was actually worse as the hills were endless, not to mention at a steeper incline. All I can really say about it is that I kept running. Not fast and certainly not pretty, but I kept one leg moving in front of the other as I traded in Pride for Stubbornness. And that’s when it hit me.
Stubbornness isn’t always to be avoided. Even Jesus hung around those of ill-repute. He allowed them to linger in His presence and be changed by His passion. It was never a concern that they’d soil Him, but always a desire that His unwavering faith and peace would pervade their spirits. And so it was this morning when I allowed the often scoffed at Stubbornness to run along with me.
I realized he was actually encouraging me to keep going when I thought I had nothing left. His commanding voice was screaming at me that I hadn’t dug deep enough yet. My reserves weren’t gone, though I was inclined to believe they were. And as I listened to that voice, it suddenly occurred to me that I recognized it from somewhere.
Indeed, it was the same voice that whispers gently to me when the babies are screaming and 5 big kids are wanting me to do 50 different things at the same time. And if I listen closely, I’m reminded that I don’t have to give in to the temptation to cover my ears and run screaming from the room.
It’s the same voice that prods me to finish the housework when all I want is to collapse on the couch. I’m always so glad when I heed it, offering my family a peaceful place to rest in the evenings.
Like most of us, though, this well-meaning friend can sometimes forget his manners and attempt to lead us astray. At those times, his words encourage us to be self-serving and unforgiving. Or tired and lazy and determined that we deserve the break. But with gentle guidance, this valuable companion points us straight to the Source of all true power, and we are able to do (and tolerate!) far more than we dreamed possible.
Today, I choose to walk…and run…stubbornly. I will keep intentionally recharging at the life-giving waters found at the well where my Friend not only waits, but also beckons me to come join Him!