My grandpa used to stop by our house and ask if anyone would like to join him for an easy jog. I jumped at the chance as a young girl, at the age of 7, with not much of a social life or major responsibilities. Our runs together got me out of the house without my siblings or parents, kept me out of trouble, and helped to grow a very endearing relationship with my grandfather. I continued to run through school and years of competitive teams and races. I learned many strategies of successful running from my grandpa.
One thing Grandpa always taught me was to lean into the wind. I was out for a run last week, heading uphill, when the wind picked up. I had a choice, as we all do when challenges pick up and confront us head on. We can lean into the wind, making ourselves more aerodynamic to lessen our burden. Just like when we lean into our relationship with Christ, when obstacles arise, to ease our burdens.
In high school our home cross-country course was made up of hills. Though tough, the team loved it. We knew that as long as we practiced on these hills, we would always have the advantage on our home course … particularly with the tough inclines. I learned to surge on the uphill. Lean into the climb. Push harder when resistance reared its head. Little did I know back then, I was learning a spiritual lesson that I’d carry with me for life.
Through my years of running and mentoring from my grandfather, I have learned how to push harder into my relationship with Christ when the going gets tough.
When our family suffered a devastating house fire, years ago, I knew that we had to step up our game as a faith-filled family. With the daily inundation with insurance details, seemingly insurmountable bills, maintaining our temporary homestead and ensuring the kids were emotionally healing appropriately, I clung to my relationship with Christ. I prayed more often. I fasted. I begged God to guide me and invited the Holy Spirit into my every moment. I also put more effort into learning about our Blessed Mother. And I remember thinking, if the fire never happened, I am not sure I would have made this spiritual growth a priority. Hmmm, when the going gets tough, lean into your faith.
In the middle of a run, I at times, get lost in thought. I do not realize that maybe I am not pushing myself as much as I would like, since I am running on autopilot in that moment. When resistance confronts me, it wakes me from this slumber and points out that I need to push it a bit more. A fierce incline? A sharp wind? No problem, just a reminder to this runner to lean in, push a bit harder, dig a bit deeper. This is exactly how I see challenges that creep into our lives. What if the stressors we face, as serious as they may be, is just God’s way to forcing us out of autopilot? It is as if He says, “My child, you have been coasting for a while, and it is not healthy for our relationship. … Give me some of your time today. Rest in me. Come closer to me.”
How often do we hear people, some whom do not consider themselves active Christians, clinging to prayer when a loved one experiences a life or death situation? It seems that we all might have an inclination to turn to our Lord when the going gets tough. Hmmm, maybe we don’t have to wait until a crisis or challenge occurs to deepen our faith.
Whether you are fighting resistance today or not, what can you do this day, that you have not done in a while — or ever, to move closer to Christ? He is waiting for you with open arms saying, “Give me some of your time today. Rest in me. Come closer to me.”
Copyright 2018 Meg Bucaro