In this post we are discussing the temptation to run away from difficult circumstances and instead change our perspective so that we see that the Lord is pursuing us.
I’m a runner. I’ve been running since I was 14. It is a part of who I am that I love. It is my stress release, and my sanity. Trail running, road running, short, long, fast, or slow. I love being out there experiencing every inch of my journey.
I’m also a runner. I’ve been running my entire life. It is a part of who I am that needs to change. It causes stress, and threatens my sanity. When things get tough, I flee the scene. I hate putting myself out there experiencing the difficult parts of my journey.
When my husband and I moved away from our hometown, my mother was very ill. Fighting to stay alive actually. A month after we left, she was gone. Being in a new city, with a new job, no friends, my “therapy” was to run. That was when I trained for my first marathon. A couple years ago, after my second miscarriage, I told myself I didn’t care. That it was ok because there were other things I would rather be doing. I ended up running my 15th, and fastest, marathon after that.
Now don’t get me wrong, of all the things people can do to cope with grief, running is a pretty healthy one. But eventually I needed to stop running. I needed to deal with the pain. I needed to let God catch me before I totally shut down and shut Him out.
Disclaimer: There are times in life when it is necessary to run away. For instance, God told Joseph to get up in the middle of the night and to flee Egypt with Mary and Jesus. We are not always supposed to stand and fight like David did with Goliath. But even if we do need to flee the scene, we must allow our hearts to see that the Lord is moving us in order to pursue us and to bring us closer to Him and to believe that truth.
“Runners” are people who…
Avoid situations by removing themselves from people or places that make them feel uncomfortable.
This could be walking away from relationships that become too close (leaving us feeling vulnerable), or too difficult (not wanting to deal with the pain of solving conflicts). Or we stop going to church/stores/events/etc. because something or someone offended us. We can’t live life hiding from everything. Eventually we will run out of people to hide from and find ourselves all alone, with God still pursuing. Eventually we will come face to face with Him.
Stay busy to distract themselves so that they don’t use mental or emotional energy that will cause them to feel pain.
This could be letting ourselves be consumed with work, or hobbies, or even good deeds. This can be a fine coping mechanism for short periods of time, but running from pain and heartache will eventually leave us drained with nothing else to give. Eventually we collapse with exhaustion. Eventually we look up to see that God is holding us while we rest.
Try to answer their own prayers, being impatient with God’s timing.
This may seem like a way to tackle things head-on, but it’s still running. Only, instead of running away from God, it’s running ahead of God. We end up lost in dark, confusing places. Eventually we have to call out asking for guidance. Eventually we will see the path that leads to His peace.
When things get tough, instead of trying to escape, we stayed still and let the Lord meet us in our place of suffering?
When circumstances arise that feel like we are being attacked, we saw them as opportunities for Jesus to pour out love on us?
When matters seem to be forgotten by God, we waited (and waited, and waited…) instead of fixing things ourselves so that we could see His incredible power?
Does this mean that the pain we experience isn’t real? Nope. It means that that real, gut-wrenching pain we feel is going to bring us into a deeper relationship with our Savior if we allow it to.
Does it make it easier? Nope. At least not in that moment. But it does give us hope, and hope is a beautiful thing.
Do you believe that God is pursuing you?
Running…but God has pursued you.