Running is not like walking. When you run, there is a point in the stride when both feet are off the ground at the same time. When you walk, you’re always in touch with the earth. That’s the rule that applies for walking races in the Olympics – is there always one foot on the ground, the umpires ask? If so, good. The person is walking, not running, and can go on. The Olympic walkers contort their stride to get the maximum pace while keeping within the rules. They look in pain sometimes, or even a little ridiculous, to be honest, and while it’s a complex and skilled sport, it doesn’t look like the best way to move. Why not break into a run? Why not fly a little?
Because running is flying. You push off with one foot after another, propel yourself forward so that most of the time you’re not even touching the ground. You’ve lost contact with the world. You are pure forward motion.
The important thing in Olympic walking is the ground. Staying in touch with it all the time. Not being found to have broken away. The important thing in our non-spiritual lives is the world, keeping in touch with it, living out its expectations of us. But when you run – what matters is speed, pushing away from the ground, moving forward. That’s a walk to live, spiritually, too.
At a certain point, God says run. He says stand in faith, stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around our waist. He says walk in the way of love. And then, when the time is right, He says run …
I want to run. Lord, help me to let go the rules of the world that are always checking to make sure I’ve one foot in contact with the earth. I want to break free of that, and all the contortions that come from fitting the expectations of others while still moving forward. I want to make the best use of the time I have. I want to move as far and as fast as you have planned for me. I want to RUN towards you, in the path you have for me. Help me to run.
And you? Are you ready to run too?
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
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.