Over the past few days, I have finally ventured out into my local suburban landscape to find a suitable path close to home that I can make my running track. Running is not something I love but something I have found dependable and essential to keeping fit and healthy…so I choose to run. I often get a surprised look when I say that I run…maybe because nothing about my appearance or person would make you think ‘runner’.
Since moving to Bendigo, I underestimated how much I would miss my FAMILIAR running tracks in Melbourne. I am having to not only find running tracks but the reality is that I am going to have to run often if I want these track to become FAMILIAR. There are some things that frustrate me about a new and unfamiliar track.
My Birdlands track is pretty and I knew exactly how many times to do the circuit in order to get a 5k done. I had familiar landmarks and trees that helped my mind keep pace with my feet rather than sabotage my efforts. I tend to have this stupid internal dialogue that sets in about 100 meters into every single run and it doesn’t let up until I head indoors and fall in a heap on the couch. So having landmarks I recognise on my run helps me ignore the rubbish inside my head …but…. without them, my internal dialogue is alarming and cause for concern.
Familiar tracks help me pace myself and push myself because I know how far I have to go and how my body should respond to certain aspects for the track. The unfamiliar track gives me no guide on my own capacity and my own intensity and I am completely reliant on my Fitbit or phone which is just plain annoying. I have to put my faith in external measures.
As my feet hit the rise of 2017 on this path I call life, I am keen to take what is happening in the natural and apply it to my spiritual ‘run’. I don’t want 2017 to be about hankering after old pathways and the familiar tracks. Actually that is not true. I do want that but I have no choice. When I said ‘yes to adventure’ I forgot how much I would miss the cadence and stride attached to running a familiar and well worn path. The familiar tracks of my walk of faith are now behind me. Wishing I had them, just like wishing I had my old familiar Bird Lands track or bike track near my home doesn’t change the reality of the path I am now on. The spiritual track before me is brand new and it is going to take running on it day in and day out consistently, intentionally and methodically, that will make it familiar. The only way that these new tracks and pathways will become familiar is by making them familiar. I am prepared that in the process, my heart will hanker for the old and it will take time to get my mind to keep on track with my feet.
Isaiah 43: 18 -19 Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. 19″Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway (running track?) in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
I love the prophetic nature of this verse. It speaks instruction and promise. When it comes to my spiritual running track and the new paths ahead, I am assured that regardless of the landscape …there is a track to follow..I don’t have to wonder aimlessly and nor do I go through with a river of grace and provision…not the provisions of my past but new rivers…. I will not be lead to a landscape to find my own way and be left without provision.
I am being instructed here to be deliberate in what I choose to ponder on and call to mind. I don’t want to miss what he has set before me because I am still ponder what he set up behind me.
Do not give thought to, consider, review, reflect on, mull over, contemplate, study, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, cogitate on, dwell on, brood on/over, ruminate about/on, chew over, puzzle over, speculate about, weigh up, turn over in one’s mind the familiar and former things, the old former things….pretty deliberate disobedience if I do….
God has new paths and roads for me in the arena of friendships, calling and ministry, my parenting, financial investments, my marriage… Take parenting…. This year my kids are both in high school. My parenting has to change and I have to rethink how I do motherhood in this new season. I like the old. I liked how I could gauge how I was doing and trust my capacity and my own ability but as I run this new road, it will become familiar simply by running on it. I must guard against pondering on what worked before and I must guard against the internal dialogue that is unreliable, especially when it comes form a place of exhaustion, frustration or self doubt.
It won’t be long before the path I am on will become familiar but I am also prepared that when it does, God will say again …let that go …I have new roads…and we’ll start all over again and I will once again hanker for the known and the familiar and seek to ponder on what was. I don’t ever want the track to define how often I run and how well I run nor do I want to let the internal dialogue to outweigh the voice of of the coach who urges me to press on and finish well. 2017 is for me, making new tracks become familiar and well worn both.