Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Running Shoes

 
Once upon a time, I was a girl debilitated by doubt.  You know what I'm talking about.  The lie sneaks in, untruth weighs anchor in your soul and suddenly everything you thought was real seems slippery and indefinable.  I grew up believing in Jesus almost from the day I was born.  I could recite the books of the Bible, sing at the top of my lungs in a choir of children, and even beat the best at a "find that verse" contest.  But somewhere along the line I forgot to tend to my soul.

Or maybe I thought that part of soul-tending is soul-rending. 
So I walked away.  Actually, I ran.
Far away.

The funny thing is that you can't really run far when you're running from the Creator of the Universe.  He sees you more clearly than you see yourself, even in the darkest, dankest, deepest hole you can dig. 

I'm sharing this because I believe God creates beauty from the ashes of my life.  I know someone out there is trying to run as hard as I did and I want you to know my story.  

Fed up with the God thing, I strategically sought truth in my known world and beyond through religion, sex and drugs.  I traveled to magically mystical places and met authentically  wonderful people.  I was open to everything in the universe except God.  Finally the fruitlessness of my quest caught up with me.  It no longer made sense to exclude Him.

God. 

I was literally on my knees in the little cabin refuge my mother and step-father built for me, knowing I would find the path home.  

I know you're out there.  I just don't know who you are or what I'm supposed to believe.  All I want is the truth.  Please, please just give me the truth and the faith to believe in it.

There was no bright flash of light, no epic vision of angelic choirs, no face of Jesus appearing on my toast.  Just a calm sense that He heard me.  And He answered.

Try reading the Bible, again, I felt Him urge.

sigh.

Right...that dilapidated, broken down, conflicted, misogynistic old piece of...
OK.  I will.

From Genesis chapter 1, verse 1, suddenly I was reading the Bible for the first time, with fresh eyes.  A new perspective had been planted in my heart, like a seed in fruitful soil (there was plenty of fertilizer in there, believe me).  And the faith grew.  It didn't grow like a temperamental hothouse flower.  And it was no rose with hidden thorns.  Instead it grew like a sunflower; reaching for the sun so hard that you could almost see it gain altitude in your very presence.  Strong and sturdy against the most prevailing winds my faith grew, always reaching for the sun. I took off my old, smelly running shoes.  Time to stop running.  This was truly holy ground that could grow a faith like this.

Repentance means "to turn," and I wasn't just turning back around.  I was lacing up new running shoes and running like I never ran before.  Running home.  It was a short trip because for every step I took, the Father took about twenty to meet me.  And it was a sweet reunion.

So, I share this with the hope that you will reach for the sun, today.  None of us are satisfied to wallow in the shallow soil of a meaningless life.  Dig deep.  Then dig deeper.  But stop the running.  You might be surprised to find that Love is a free gift- for all.  Even to those with the most worn out running shoes.

This blog post was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. She's giving away a scholarship to the upcoming She Speaks Conference.  The conference is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God through writing, speaking and leading.  If your heart is to serve Him in this way, as mine is, please check it out.