I stepped out the back door onto the damp ground. The sky lightened as I turned left onto the main drag. Up, up the hill and then straight on until the road ends.
My legs kept up. The hitch in my right hip made a brief guest appearance, then bowed and left the stage. I realized, not for the first time, how fully integrated running and mental health are.
The sky to my left turned a mesmerizing shade of blush. I passed McDonald’s, Oil Can Henry’s, Happy Teriyaki. I ran up the slight hill to where the highway meets the road. I stopped for a moment to breathe and to think.
I haven’t been surrendered. I’ve wanted things my own way. I haven’t responded well to criticism, justifying my response due to its harsh delivery. But in the end, does it matter? Does someone else’s opinion of me change who I am in Christ? Does it negate the gifts He has given me? Do I trust God to keep me in the worst circumstances, or do I try to fix things? “God, I don’t like the direction we’re heading. Here, I’ll take the reins. I know a better way.”
No. I can’t do that.
Yes, I can pray for things to change. And I do that. I seek His wisdom and understanding all the time. I want to speak words of encouragement and kindness. I want to call out the good. But I can’t change people. That’s not my gig. I can’t manipulate scenarios and force people into my mold, good though that mold may be.
I let it all go – the misunderstandings, the bad attitudes, the ugly accusations. I breathed it all out. The air, laden with fragrant flowers, filled my lungs as I inhaled. Peace accompanied it. I put myself squarely in God’s hands, the only truly safe place. I ran back down the hill to home.
By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16