Running has become such a place of solace and strength for me. This, however, often found through pain, weakness, and exhaustion. As my body strains beyond what it deems possible at the moment, while it wrestles with its mortal limitations, while it fights to breath and expend energy that seems far too limited for the task, and while my mind wrestles with each hill, thinking about each stride of the past and the hundreds that have yet to be taken, my spirit is often found fighting as well. It is in this place of complete vulnerability, when all my physical and mental strength seems to be focused and intent on one thing, that I find myself defenseless in the deepest areas of my soul.
It has truly been a wonderful experience to allow the Lord to utilize this time of vulnerability to shape my heart and soul. Although often painful and paralleled with the physical and mental struggles of the moment, the workout my soul gets is much more intense and thankfully, eternal.
I experienced this quite a bit over our trip to the Adirondacks last month. I took a few runs from the campground around Schroon Lake (part of the way) and back. It’s such a peaceful run, through a shaded seasonal, camp area near the lake, offering both wooded and lake views. It really has become my favorite route.
I had been running for a few miles, and God really got a hold of my heart. I felt super-convicted about some way that I had been a less-than-stellar wife and in my conviction, I ran a personal PR back to the camper to talk to Adam.
As we proceeded through the week and began the Ragnar race, it was cold and dreary and wet as I started the first leg of my run, but honestly, I didn’t care. Ray handed off the baton to me, and I took off running, whispering as I did, “Okay, Lord. Here we go. It’s just you and me.” While I had thought I would be nervous and overflowing in adrenaline, I actually found all three of my runs were filled with singing (and my mind only comes up with slow songs to sing to myself during a run…what??) and praying and true conviction.
Although this in itself could take up a whole blog post, I want to “get to the point”. During that weekend, the Lord really impressed upon my heart the need to communicate better.
I’m such a writer. If you’re also a writer, you can understand that with that talent often comes a natural inability to communicate verbally. It’s not that we don’t or can’t. It’s just that verbal communication doesn’t come easily.
As a result, we find ourselves gathering our thoughts best on paper, where we can formulate what we intend. That being said, I find myself humbled by the necessity to learn what does not come naturally to me.
So often as women or even just writers, because we do not communicate verbally as much as we’d even like to ourselves, serious conversations come hard, and tears find their way into topics that should be easy.
Openness comes easy on paper –on a blog– but looking someone square in the face to have a serious, relationship-altering conversation or talking on the phone freezes me to a level that often causes me shame. For example, I hate the phone. I’ll admit it. Sometimes when I make a phone call, I pray it goes to voicemail, so I don’t have to talk to anyone. Some would call this a phobia–telephonophobia, it’s called.
I mention this not so you think I’m weird (you probably already know I am) and not so you understand if you get my voicemail (ha ha… I’m really joking. I do answer the phone.) I say this so you understand what a conviction I experienced in the middle of the night, on a dark road, with 2 feet of white line and nothing else visible.
It wasn’t a revelation. It was a wrestle.
Earlier in the week, I had dropped random hints to Adam of a purchase I wanted to make. I was sad he hadn’t caught on. Then, as I ran my last 6 miles in the Ragnar, I texted him that my knee was killing me. I thought he’d stop the van and check on me at least half way. He didn’t. [Side note: I later found out he was actually sleeping the whole time and never saw my text.] Good night, I thought! This is ridiculous. Get a clue!
Later that day, on one hour of sleep, we went to a store to get some lunch, and I didn’t pick out anything to eat (I couldn’t decide what I wanted) and I was mad that he didn’t ask what I wanted. For real?!
I have to laugh when I think of all these things I was so upset about….
I “made hints”. I “texted him that my knee was killing me”. I “didn’t pick out anything to eat.” Not only are these statements all riddled with me, me, me, but if you look closely, they’re not really communication. I made a comment in a store, but I didn’t show an interest in buying anything. I sent a text message about a fact, but I didn’t ask him to stop. I didn’t pick out any food for myself, but I was mad he didn’t pick anything for me. What??
Here I was so non-verbal, so focused on my own needs, and so not even giving him an opportunity to respond in the ways I desired because I never communicated that I had a need.
Wow… feeling convicted? I am again as I type up what God is teaching me about communication. I can’t assume he knows how I feel, what I want, what I’m thinking. I have to learn to find words on my lips, not just my fingertips.
How is your communication?