“My mama always said you gotta put the past behind you before you can move on. I think that’s what all my running was about.” ~Forrest Gump
Have you ever found yourself running as though you were fleeing for your life, fleeing for your safety? Maybe you didn’t realize it until you stopped running… Maybe you’re still running… Maybe you’ve blessed to never have to run…
I’m a runner. The Army turned me into one. I run to release the stress day. I run to begin the day. I run because it feels good! I run.
I’m a runner. Sometimes I towards trouble – the Army did that to me too. Sometimes I run away from conflict. Sometimes I hide behind this mask or that mask to hide my true feelings. Sometimes I hide behind this emotion, that behavior. Oh yes, I’m a runner. On really good days, I fool not only everyone around me – on good days, I very nearly fool myself. I may be one of the best runners.
Still, after all that running, eventually, you have no choice but to stop. Today, I was running, full speed, only to be stopped, dead in my tracks. At first, I was relieved! Then, I realized WHO stopped me…
He stopped me dead in my tracks you see, showed me a mirror so I could see exactly how I looked. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t recognize the person peering back at me. “Some mirror,” I thought, “He’s full of tricks.” Beckoning me to peer closer, I began to see flashes of my life, my hurts, my pains, playing like a movie, for anyone to see. Trying to turn away, yet glued to glass, tears streaming down my face, I found myself unable to turn away.
“No more running.” Is that really what I heard Him say? Shaking my head, there’s no way. No one would be so bold as to stop me in my tracks, show me such a sight, and give me such a directive.
“No more running.” I heard it again. “Stop running from the hurt, stop running from the pain. Stop running from the past, stop running from yesterday.”
He began to read me like a book. I longed to cover my ears, shut out the words. Was it the shame? Was it the pain? But I couldn’t. I didn’t dare. His words soft and loving. I knew that to move into the future, transition into my destiny, I had to cleanse my heart. I had to forgive. I had to forget. I had to release. That place in my heart, that no one knew existed, that place I reserved for “just in case” I had to remove. There was no longer a place for “just in case.” For that door was closed years ago.
There are some things we must let go of, some things we must cleanse ourselves of in order to be made whole. Of this I found a simple truth, the very thing from which I was running, I had made a home for inside my heart. There is no wonder I could never escape it. There is no wonder I was running, running, running, becoming so very tired, losing even myself.
Ever since he left, all those years ago, I made him a home, inside my heart. I tucked away the memories. I hid away the pain. I clinged to it for dear life. Because, one day he will return… He is not meant to return to me. Watching my life flash before my eyes, I see this ever so clear. I had not realized how fervently I awaited for him, closing off my heart. I release him from me. I release myself from him too. I have cleaned out that secret room in my heart and let him go for good.
Had I not been stopped in all my running, how far would I have gone? I am thankful for a God who loves me, and won’t let me go. With part of the battle down, another part to go, I won’t look back, I can’t look back, no matter what.
Yes, I’m a runner in some ways. In other aspects, my running days are over!