So here I am again, less than two weeks out from my second relay and I am stressed. I found myself up in the woods, running on some trails yesterday. The kids were playing in a meadow, and wildflowers were blooming everywhere. But as I ran I was blind to the beauty that surrounded me. With every stride, a thundering storm of thoughts pounded in my skull. "I should have trained harder, I had no business even attempting this race. Is it too late to back out? I can’t run six miles uphill in the middle of the night. Anyone else could, but I can't. I hate this."
And yet, in the midst of this storm, the gentle voice of the Lord began to tug on my heart, reminding me in whispers of a little sermon I preached not twenty-four hours before to my Sunday school class. It was from Matthew, on worry, on the flowers of the field. I talked about this day being enough to walk through and not borrowing trouble from the future, and how we are seen and known by a Father who loves us and delights to give good gifts to his children.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers--most of which are never even seen--don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to say here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:25-34 (The Message).
As he whispered these gentle reminders into my heart, I could see how this wasn't just about a relay. How often have I borrowed trouble and worry daily as I looked ahead to future “races” I anticipated with my kids? I worry about their salvation, ability to graduate high school, poor life choices, future spouses etc, and they are little! Those legs of the journey are not upon me yet, nor may they ever be. Internally agonizing, and chewing at the inside of my cheek over worst possible scenarios isn't helping anything.
“Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 (NLT)
“Do the next thing.”~ Jim Elliot
“Live the life that unfolds before you.” The Bark of the Bog Owl, Jonathan Rogers
I reminded myself of these truths and let them pound in my head with each stride. The storm of doubt and fear began to quiet and as I ran, I could see splashes of orange and yellow from the Columbine, pink from the wild roses and Sticky Geranium, purple from the Lupin and yellow from the Field Butter Cups. The sky was the blue of a spring Robin egg, the tips of the wild grass danced and softly reflected the cool light of the sun. This moment, this place is gift and grace from my Father, and I accepted it.