I hate running. I’ve never had a “runner’s high.” I’ve had a runner’s dry heave, though. Nevertheless, I’ve started running in the mornings in downtown Jacksonville. If you want the experience of running in the mornings in downtown Jacksonville, just put a used trashcan over your head and run into a steam room.
Part of the reason I started was to get my dog Walter some exercise since he stays home while we go to work. I’ve never had a dog so I’m still getting used to what dogs do and how to respond.
Walter is still a bit of a puppy so he is in super “explore mode” constantly. He has to smell everything. And he’s got a crazy obsession of running after birds. If he sees one, even 100 yards away flying in the sky, he bolts after it with all he has and doesn’t care what’s around him or what is driving by. We’ve had to stop him multiple times from jumping into the St. Johns River, and he doesn’t even like water.
I was recently running with him and, again, he almost ran into oncoming traffic because he saw something across the street. I quickly pulled back on his leash and yelled, “No!” hoping that he’d get the message eventually.
I felt that still, small voice in the back of my head say to me, “You are Walter.” I wasn’t having an identity crisis. I think I was just being subtly reminded of how dependent I really am on God.
As I continued running I thought about all the distractions and shiny objects I’m so inclined to chase after in my own life. At any given moment, I could bolt out into oncoming traffic with complete tunnel vision. It’s because God loves me that he often has pulled back on my leash.
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it surprises me. Sometimes I feel like I could get to it if I’d just be given the chance. But the truth is, I need to be disciplined. I need to be reeled back in.
It’s easy to get excited and run into traffic. It’s hard to be disciplined to keep on the path that actually leads to somewhere.
If you’re feeling held back or frustrated, it might be a good chance to check on what your motives are or what it is you are really chasing after. Look back on what you thought you wanted five or ten years ago and see if it’s what you still want now. You might find you’re glad you’ve been pulled backed so many times.
Walter doesn’t realize it, but I’ve saved his life more times that he can count. In the words of Michael Scott…