Wandering But Not Lost

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Starting Over

Starting over sucks!

In the month of December\early January I was running almost daily. I was seeing weekly gains in speed and distance. I was actually feeling the "runner's high" and each day became focused on when and what to run. Then I hurt my foot. I don't know how really, but it was after an ambitious treadmill session. Each morning when I wake up, my foot lets me know it still hurts. As soon as I could stand it...I tried to run again. I felt the twinge in the bottom of my foot but decided it was bearable. My biggest problems were with other parts of my body. My back was tight and uncomfortable, my lungs felt like they could hold no air, my legs decided that a steady pace was too much to expect. I ended up walking most of my 2 mile course. And the next day...wow...that twinge in my foot exploded into a major ache.

Next week, I'm supposed to run a three mile race. I registered at the height of my December experience, when not only running the race would be enough, but taking major minutes off of my personal best was the goal. I may still go and run since I paid for the race and would like to get the shirt. But I haven't been able to run, I haven't been able to start over. It's hard, it hurts, it sucks!

Similarly, my devotional life with God follows the same pattern. I find myself starting over yet again, after a particularly acute period of dryness. I'm hurt and wounded from where I have let myself go. I have new questions and doubts as life's experiences have turned from a twinge to revealing major aches - both in my life and in the lives of loved ones. For awhile, I didn't even want to want to trust in God. Now I'm back where I want to trust, I'm willing to trust, and I'm trying to begin the relationship anew.

It is Lent and I'm trying to take seriously the tradition of preparing oneself for Easter. So for Lent in amongst the things that I am trying to give up, I'm also trying to do some things that I've fallen out of practice of doing. Daily scripture reading is one of those things. I'm working my way through the Psalms and Provers during Lent. It's hard, sometimes it hurts, and yes...starting over sucks!

From Psalm 1
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields his fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

I want to be the like the tree, planted, rooted, in the right place to be nourished. The tree has its yearly cycles where periods of fruitfulness are followed by periods of rest, even death, followed again by renewal. However, I don't think the tree has that sense of starting over, it is its natural way of existing. I want my relationship with God to be my natural way of existing, even though my human nature, my selfishness, my sin interferes with that. Even though it is hard and starting over sucks, to be planted and rooted in the place of God's protection and provision is worth it.

In all areas of my life, I want to run the race. Even if it means starting over.


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