Guide Rails

 I’ve been long distance running for 6 years now. I’ve completed several half marathons, 5k’s, 10k’s, and completed the 1000 miles in a year challenge. I love running so much that I will run through almost anything. But lately I’ve been having some hip pain and have been doing more walks at night instead of running. This is thirty, friends, when things start to hurt, and ache, and swell, and break. I worried about what could be causing my hip pain, and thanks be to Google and WebMD, I decided I probably just needed new running shoes.

So over the weekend I bought a new pair of running shoes. I asked the salesman for a pair of Brooks that were supportive and comfortable. He came out with only one box of shoes and went on to explain all the levels of support and the addition of something called Guide Rails on the midsoles. He laced them on my feet, I stood up, took a little walk around him and said these are comfy, I’ll take them! Out the door we went and I made a mental note to Google Guide Rails.

As I think on it now it’s kind of funny. How I worried over this pain and pushed through it to prove nothing other than I was stubborn. And all I really needed was a more supportive shoe. But isn’t that what we do so often when we feel aches and pains in our lives?

We worry, we stress, we crumble, and then we try to push through, we hustle, we persevere, and we fight. Sometimes we succeed with these patterns and sometimes we fail, but let me ask you something? Could the pain have been more bearable if we had more support? If we had a guide rail?

According to the Brooks Running website, “GuideRails® allow your hips, knees, and joints to move within their unique motion path while you run – all without traditional posts. This innovative new form of stability doesn’t “correct” your stride. Instead, it assists your body in finding its natural path, or Stride Signature.”

I LOVE this definition. You know what this is saying? It’s saying it’s ok to ask for help when we need it friends, and just because you do it doesn’t have to correct you and say you were doing it all wrong. Instead it redirects you and says let me just run right here with you.

God provides Guide Rails in His word, in our relationship with Him, and in people He sends our way. So stop being afraid to ask for help. Stop walking with a hurt hip. Get support. Find your Guide Rail and run in faith.

Give Me Both

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” Oceans – Hillsong UNITED

I’ve sung this song so many times and prayed this prayer over and over again. I’ve asked God to use me. To let me be a part of His plan. To give me words to speak, words to write, and songs to sing that mean something. I’ve asked God to give me a purposeful life that brings others closer to Him.

And then He did.

God gave me the desire to start this blog and gave me words to fill posts. God gave me the opportunity to go back to school to pursue a degree in English. God gave me stages to sing on. And God gave me a women’s ministry to share in leading. God delivered my Oceans.

God called me out into every ocean I wanted to walk upon, but as soon as I looked down to see where I was, I started to sink. These were new waters for me. These were deep oceans full of unknowns and I quickly found myself very afraid. I could no longer stay above the waves that all seemed to hit one after another. I began to choke on my words and my prayers and doubt the depth of my faith. I was afraid that my words weren’t enough. I was afraid going back to school was the wrong decision. I was afraid my voice didn’t need to be heard. And I was afraid that I wasn’t qualified to lead women. I was letting my lungs fill up with the ugly lies that float all around us. These lies tell us that we are not who God says we are. And I was so afraid of the unknown that I believed them. Finally, as the lies kept flowing in they were building and building, and soon they began to choke out my breath of life.

You see in my desperation to stay afloat I had missed the whole point.

My struggle to swim was necessary.

Joseph Habedank sings a song called, “Deeper Oceans,” and the lyrics reminded me that God’s love is hard to believe and it’s hard to explain because He can use both. He takes both sin and strength to deliver a blessing. God’s mercy is sweet and His forgiveness washes over us with waves of His forgetfulness. He is the God that digs deeper oceans that carve out a way for us. No matter how deep, no matter how dark, He goes lower and He shines brighter. So what if I’m in deep. God is not surprised when I sink into the Oceans I’ve prayed to walk on. He’s got me. In fact, He’s digging my ocean even lower now to hold me, grow me, and show me that only He can bring me up when He says it’s time.

What this time of questioning and uncertainty has taught me is that we need both. We need the setbacks to forge on ahead. We need suffering to experience joy. We need criticism to champion life. We need the heartbreaks to love others well. We need to fall down so that we can help others up. 

So now I’ll take both. Give me the uncertainty if it means I’ll know God more. Give me both.