YOU HAVE SET MY HEART FREE
Last night as I was falling asleep I told myself I’d run a 10k this morning instead of my usual 4-mile loop. I woke to a cold, foggy morning and a lazy attitude. It’s amazing how quickly I came up with reasons why I should NOT follow through on my plan. Even when I was in my running gear, headphones in place and at my imaginary starting line, I tried to talk myself out of exercising. It came down to obedience – I am not my own. I took captive the defeating thoughts and shoved off for my run. As I ran I prayed, and my soul connected with my Savior. Wind in my hair and feet flying down the rolling country road, I felt my spirit soar. For those moments, my body and mind were free from the weight of day-to-day life. It was exhilarating.
This week I read Psalm 119 slowly and deliberately and was surprised by the underlying theme of action. The author uses verbs like obey, meditate, follow, memorize and seek to describe his pursuit of God. Verse 32 says, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." My immediate thought was, “This author was a runner. That’s exactly how I feel when I run!”
When I obey Jesus, when I mediate on His word like the psalmist says and follow in the path of His commands, life feels free and unencumbered even in the face of suffering or trials. When I try to power through life on my own, wandering far from the pathway of Jesus’ commands, I find myself encumbered by disobedience and weighted down by sin. Stumbling through life is exhausting. Running isn’t even an option.
As I reflected on this passage, I realized I wanted to be reminded of the joy that comes from running the race of life with my heart set free. I pictured a little girl half running/half dancing down a sunlit, wooded path. Hair flying, arms flailing, huge smiling proclaiming, “I am free!” I used my daughter as my model and brought this vision to life. We blew up the photo, wrote the text from Psalm 119:32 on the mat, and hung it in our house. Every time I see it, I smile.
You may have joined Not Your Own as an established runner seeking friendship or as a non-athlete looking for motivation to start moving forward. Wherever you are on your journey, my prayer for you is that your heart will be set free today as you run in the path of God’s commands.
Persevering with you,
Now for a few logistics…
- There has been a ton of interest in wearing something on race day that identifies the Not Your Own group. Bright red wristbands are being made for each Not Your Own athlete. We hope you wear them proudly on race day.
- Mark your calendar for Friday, June 10th. Race packets will be available for pick-up at the Scholls Ferry Road location of the Portland Running Company and Paula Harkin, race coordinator, needs our help. She’s asking for volunteers in groups of 3-4 to work the tables and hand out race packets to participants. Hours she needs to cover are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you are available to help with this effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have a big Not Your Own representation bring the practical love of Jesus to the Portland Running Company staff.