This may sound crazy, but I like to run in the dark. Not the dark of the night, but the dark of the early morning, just as the sun begins to rise and the birds start to sing. There is a promise in the air that time of day and the calmness therapeutically prepares me for the chaos of the day ahead.
Fortunately for me, there are people who share my madness and are willing to meet me.
In the dark.
On the street corner.
These ladies are more than just my running buddies. They are my closest confidants, my biggest cheerleaders and my free counselors. Running wouldn’t be the same without them and they make every mile better because they are with me.
All of these women know that I’m clumsy by nature in the daylight so running in the dark does present some challenges. Rest assured, they all have seen me take a nasty tumble at least once. I’ve ripped brand new running tights, jackets and gloves. I’ve bloodied my knees and elbows. I’ve put my teeth through my lip and left my face raw from road rash. Perhaps it’s living with this tinge of fear lingering in the back of my mind that prompts me to run with my eyes down, focused on the road ahead of me.
While this may be the “safest” approach, I frequently get frustrated because I miss out on so much around me. In fact, I have one friend in particular who frequently catches a glimpse of a falling star as it drops to the horizon.
“Whoa, did you see that?” she will yell in a voice that makes me think God has just knocked her socks off by his display of glory.
The answer is always no, even though sometimes I try to convince myself that I saw the star’s reflection just before it faded. It’s a lie – wishful thinking. I don’t see it because my fear keeps my head down and eyes on the road.
Sadly, I do this in other areas of my life and I’m guessing you might too. The comfort of the known, even when it’s dark asphalt, lulls us into this sense of control and predictability that we like. So we stay there and in doing so miss the beauty in the scary things our Creator purposed us to do. And as much as we like growth and self-actualization, if we keep our head down long enough, that desire for growth gets replaced with stagnation. It’s this condition that author Gregg Levoy calls the common cold of the soul.
To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed –
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you’re looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself –
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.
Maybe it’s time we give some consideration to lifting our heads and overcoming our fears, and begin to live the life God created us to live. My guess is that when we do, God will knock our socks off!
And we might even get to make a wish on a falling star in the process.