There is a part of us all that has the instinct to either fight or flight when we go through any hard difficult situation. In the moment, we make the unconscious or even conscious decision to fight or flight. To stay and deal with whatever is difficult, or to run away.
I am starting to see there’s a part of my body that taps into both instincts. There is an external side of me that wants to be big, bad, strong, and tough and wants to fight. But there’s another part inside of me, this smaller little girl that when she goes through something hard, she wants to flight. A little girl in me that remembers the movie Forrest Gump who closes her eyes and says “dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away”.
She wants to run away as far as she can from everything that’s hurting her and all the regrets, sadness, and pain in her life. A girl that wants to run with the wind and get carried away from whatever she feels in that moment.
I want to run. To run as fast as I can, to run as hard as I can, to run until my breath gives outs, to run until my legs feel weak, to run until my body matches my emotions. I want to run away from the feelings I have in that moment. The moment when my heart wants to scream, and the moment where my eyes are swelling up fighting off tears from flowing.
What do I do in those moments?
I run. I literally run. And then I run and I run and I run until the sweat allows my body to cry the tears my eyes are fighting back.
I run because it makes sense, I run because it makes me feel better, because it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something when I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything.
I run because I want to escape, I run because I want to hide, I run so that my heart can beat so fast that it feels like it’s going to explode. I run because I want that feeling, I run to have a reason for my body to be out of control, a reason I can control, since I don’t like the real one. I run because I am overwhelmed by the emotions I don’t want to feel. The running feeling I know too well and believe in, this feeling just makes sense.
I run. I run as far as my body will take me. I run away and it feels good to just run. But somewhere in the running, somewhere in the motion of flight, I stop. I stop and think about turning around. I don’t know why, I just know it always happens. I always turn around. I always end up back where I started.
I turn around, I always come back even though I think the run is done. I stop when I can’t run anymore, but I realize I’m not done running even though I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to stop. I can’t stop because I’m not home yet. I can’t stop running because I’m lost. I’m not home, I’m not safe, and I’m not where I want to be. I’m not comforted, everything’s not better, I’m just…Away. That’s it. I just feel a few miles further from my problems, but they are still there.
I turn around, and even though I don’t have any energy or any strength left because I ran until I thought I was done, it’s not done, the run isn’t finished yet. Instead of this being the final destination I realize that I have only run halfway. It’s time to run back, a different person than when I started. I’m being taught that what I thought was the end of my run is only the halfway point, that I still have more to go.
This next part of the run I didn’t anticipate, the running back. I was planning on just running away, that was the plan at least. The girl in me that wanted to run “far, far, away”, but now, to get back, this is the part where I have to listen since I am too worn out to speak, gripe, and complain even in my mind. This part is when God knows He can speak to me because I am forced to shut up and listen. I have to see if my body can do something it doesn’t want to do and is incapable in my mind of being able to do, to run back. This is the part of the run where I have to rely on something outside of myself if I want to get home.
I can stay lost in the endpoints of a destination I’m not comfortable with, or I can rely on God fully, completely, arms open, and whole-heartedly to give me the strength to make it the other half home.
This is where He calls me, this part is where my God teaches me, this part of the run my body can’t do on its own. This is where I learn who He’s creating me to be instead of the first part of the run where I was just relying on me. Now He calls me and tells me to keep going, now is when He tells me I’m not done. Now is when I start to realize that if I can follow, if I can trust, and if I can obey, that He can keep me going.
I’m in the part of the run I didn’t want to run. I tried to run away.
My life verse has always been Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I’m still learning why that verse has been impressed on my heart. He is still teaching me and He’s not done with me even when I say “I am done”, even when I say “I can’t go any further”. When I feel like I have nothing to offer he offers Himself to me.
I’m heading back, running the part that is the hardest, running the part that feels impossible. I am running back home, but I am going to get there a new creation, with a refined sense of who I am and how powerful my God is.
No matter the instinct, to fight or to flight, my God is with me, He is for me, and He doesn’t leave my side. He runs with me, even when I try to outrun Him.
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