The hubby has joined me in my goal to run a marathon by the time I am fifty! I am thrilled he is running again, but it is kind of a good thing/bad thing for me at times. Sometimes it is frustrating, as I find it impossible to keep up and he ultimately ends up waiting quite a bit for me to finish, but I love having a common goal and he is always encouraging.
One Saturday we went for a run together. It was a new route for us and we had not communicated exactly how we would go. We started up a 1-mile steep road and I watched him, as usual, pull increasingly ahead of me. No problem, I usually see him on the return as he passes me by. When I got to the top of the street, I realized I could no longer see where he went. I was not sure if he took another street or if he turned and followed the intersecting street. I paused at the top of the hill for some time straining to see him in the distance. At last, I saw him far away, bobbing up and down in the rhythmic pattern I recognized as his running gait. I turned left and followed him.
I was glad to be running down a hill at this point, but it was a loooooong road. It seemed no matter how fast I ran I was not catching up. He was just a distant figure in dark running shorts and white tee- shirt. Eventually he slowed to cross another street and I was able to gain on him a bit….that is when I realized this WAS NOT MY HUBBY! Yep, I was following a stranger for almost a mile! Fortunately, for all involved I discovered this from a far enough distance away as to not embarrass the family too much.
I quickly veered from the path he was on and headed back to the place I began my run, certain my hubby would meet me there. He did.
How could I have mistaken a stranger for a man I have been married to for almost 28 years? I will tell you how….distance. Oh, it was more than that I am sure…the guy had on similar clothes, was a similar build and pretty sure respiratory distress from running also blurred my vision…but without a doubt the number ONE reason I made such a mistake was DISTANCE. If I had been closer, there is no way I would have followed this man for that extra mile. This week “distance” has been on my mind a lot.
I feel certain that I am not the only believer who struggles to keep closer to the Lord. I am saddened by how frequently this weakness presents itself in my life. At times, it is as if the Word of God is like oxygen and I cannot get enough from it. I take it in every chance I get and it gives life to each step of my journey. However, there are times, of which this has been such a season, when I lean solely on a past closeness to God. I find being a good person is easier than being a Godly person and yet there is a HUGE difference.
While my long relationship with my Heavenly Father continues to buoy me up, I neglect seeking Him in all things. I find myself striving under my own accord and not within His will for my life. Recognizing His direction for my life becomes increasingly difficult and I practically putter to a stop like a car out of fuel. (It has been some time since I felt lead to post a devotion, when usually I cannot keep up with the lessons I wish to share…all because I let myself drift away from the One who leads me.)
The less time I spend in The Word, the further I drift from my God. He, of course, does not lose sight of me…but my lack of closeness to Him influences all parts of my life almost instantly. The further I get from Him, the easier it is to follow the wrong lead, mistake my personal opinion for wisdom, and accept less than He has planned for me.
While it was surprising that I could have mistaken a stranger for a man, I have loved and known for more than half my life….it was a striking reminder of how important it is to follow close for clarity.
Today I went on a run alone. I had no one to look for and no worries of catching up…but I felt driven to close the gap I created between God and myself. My prayer today is that God will draw me closer to Him and that I will regain my hunger for His Word. I pray we will all be challenged to draw closer to God, mindful that He waits for us and will meet us with His mercy and grace.