Any good story can’t be told quickly, for there are too many juicy details for that. Therefore, here is Part 2 of the story about my transition from Couch Potato to Rockstar Runner to Couch Potato – AGAIN! If you’ve not already done so, I encourage you to read Part 1, published on May 27th at www.earlgreyandyellow.com, because it is the backstory that leads to this installment.
As the stupor of self-pity and a brief Cheez-It addiction wore off, I began to realize that perhaps there might actually be some silver lining, some hidden benefit to my unexpected physical dilemma. It was difficult to imagine what it might be, but as someone who professes Christianity, I had to acknowledge that complaining and trying to draw others into my pity party was not a good witness to the joy of The Lord. But it was difficult! I was in pain, disappointed and bewildered as to why attempting to improve my health would result in worse health. It just didn’t make sense or seem fair. But, Romans 8:28 continued to resonate in my mind, forcing me to seek the Lord about how it could possibly work out for my good.
At that point, I was seeing the chiropractor three times a week and was often leaving work in pain, sometimes in tears, as I drove to pick up my children. In addition to the physical discomfort, I was definitely feeling the psychological effects of not getting those exercise endorphins. I was miserable. In the midst of this, my husband helped me to organize what I affectionately refer to as my Prayer Lair. The story of this space in my home is an extension of the About Me section on the website. You can read more about it here if you like – Earl Grey and Yellow: Sacred Space in a Busy Place. In short, it is a space I can go to early in the morning, or slip away to when the children are occupied, to seek God and reflect on life.
Psalm 32:7 says “You are my Hiding Place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance”. It was in this physical quiet place in my home that the Lord reassured me that not only was He my Deliverer, but that He had a plan for the situation. Thankfully, He allowed me to come into a spiritual Hiding Place as well. It was then that a long-dormant dream of writing was stirred afresh in my heart. Long ago, I had dreams of writing and sharing my work with the world. As someone who had loved reading and writing all throughout school, this seemed a natural aspiration. However, the demands of family, work and school slowly crowded out the time and opportunity required for that kind of endeavor.
Due to my spinal condition, a whole lot of extra time had suddenly been freed up in my schedule. I had been running prolifically, training throughout the week with shorter runs, and then doing long runs on the weekends that eventually got up double-digit mileage. I am not a fast runner, so long weekend runs could take up to two hours, depending upon the distance. By the time I added in cool-down stretches and shower time, it was often a three-hour event. The same went for weekday runs, which always happened after a long day at work and also required cool-down and shower. They were usually an hour apiece, from lacing up to toweling off.
Running had consumed my heart and mind in place of God, which isn’t easy to admit.
What I slowly came to realize was that although running was good for me physically and mentally, I had unwittingly turned it into an idol, making it not very good for me spiritually. I was always worried about when my next run would be, what my route would be, what I would do if I missed a scheduled run, and so on. Running had consumed my heart and mind in place of God, which isn’t easy to admit. Sure, He was getting my early morning prayer and devotional time, but not much beyond that. Of course I gave Him all the praise and glory that I was able to finish my races, but I did enjoy the attention and sense of accomplishment more than I probably should have. I had allowed it to become a bigger part of my identity than that of being a Christian. My husband and family were getting short shrift also. And the worst part is that I didn’t even see it until I couldn’t run anymore.
I understand now why the Lord allowed this – not caused this – but allowed it. This is always a tough one. God doesn’t cause difficulties and disappointment, but sometimes He allows them in order to fulfill a purpose that is beyond our understanding and vision. In Isaiah 55:8, this idea is made clear. The text reads “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’, declares the LORD.” There was no way from my limited vantage point to explain how my injury and the loss of something I loved made any sense. I was angry and offended that God would allow it. As I am learning, that is clearly because something was out of joint with my attitude and behavior.
Indeed, His understanding of this was much clearer, because He has an eternal view of my life, not simply the present circumstances. With increased time at home, I began to pray more, study the Word more, and give more time to my spiritual pursuits. I also considered buying a website domain and starting a new blog, more in-depth and serious than my previous one on Blogspot. The idea took root and I became reinvigorated, excited that this unpleasant situation was going to yield something even better than what I had been forced to lay down.
…to listen to His good counsel helps us avoid undue heartache and disaster.
There was just one problem. At the outset of this injury, the Lord clearly admonished me that He needed to teach me obedience through the process. Some people view this as the primary reason they don’t want any involvement in Christianity. They don’t want a God with rules and regulations who ruins their fun and makes life boring by asking for obedience. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, so to listen to His good counsel helps us avoid undue heartache and disaster. Obedience is beneficial and is actually freeing, as I am learning. It produces joy and contentment because it allows me to stop attempting to be in control of everything and failing miserably. It also prevents me taking credit for things for which I should be ascribing honor to God. As a formerly self-deceived “Good Christian” who for a long time didn’t practice spiritual obedience, I am amazed at how much it has improved my life.
That said, I was ready to jump right in and buy a website and get down to business. In fact, I had settled on my domain name and found it to be available. So naturally, I had to pull the trigger, since I’m an impatient, do-it-now kind of person (when it is something I really want). Wrong. The Lord showed me through a very odd dream that the idea was good, but the timing was wrong. At the time, I was taking steroids for the inflammation in my back, which can cause vivid dreams. I realize it sounds like crazy-person talk that God showed me all this in a steroid-driven dream but He did and I’m unapologetic about it. In short, He was again trying to show me to honor His timeline, not create my own. So I did honor Him. I didn’t purchase the site and domain as I had planned to. I wasn’t sure how long I was to wait, but about 5 weeks later, I felt peace about moving forward after seeking the Lord.
I purchased the domain name, web hosting for a year and the Genesis Platform for running the blog through WordPress. Frankly, that all sounds very technical and fancy, and I can’t say I really understand the complexities of it all. However, I figured out enough to put together this website and blog and get it launched. There’s definitely more to the story, which I will share in the third and final installment of this series. I’m amazed at how much I was able to learn about myself and about God once I slowed down and listened for a moment. It has been nearly six months and my mind and motivations have been transformed, all by something that initially seemed a terrible and unfair situation. But, the promise of Romans 8:28 proves to be exactly right. It is amazing that God is so personal and uses our individual circumstances to bring about His plan.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How I Became a Couch Potato – AGAIN! (Part 3)
Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.