Keeping on Running
Have you ever thought, “Stop the world I want to get off?” Or felt that life was a treadmill, which seems to insist on an ever-increasing speed. Are you always busy and like a whirlwind driving everyone else around you up the wall by your pace of life. Are you filling your life with activity?
I know that the New Testament uses the imagery that as Christians we are runners in a race but as I look at the Church, individual Christians and myself I sometimes wonder if the race that is being run is how it is meant to be.
Many explain a person’s activity level as being because they are a type A personality, others because of their work pressure, others still because of financial necessity or them being a workaholic or even because “God has told me to” yet as I look back on my life which at times reflects all of the above I am left wondering whether there is something more to my activity and busyness.
If a person is always running the question comes to my mind “Are they running to something or from something? Is the activity a positive one or an avoidance tactic? I have known a number of people who wrap up what they do in all sorts of positive and even spiritual descriptions when underneath I am left with the feeling that the activity is masking something deeper.
A former patient of mine spent her life running from that which was affecting her negatively even to the point of using self harm or considering suicide. One of her most insightful realisations was that however much she ran from her problem, the problem in the end was that she was unhappy with herself and so in fact she was always trying to escape from how she saw and felt about herself.
I truly believe that many of us who are tempted to fill our lives with activity and always seem to be on the run are actually avoiding have the quiet moments when we would have to face ourselves, how we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. We may have to cope with hurt and pain that is inside instead of distracting ourselves from it.
If we fill our lives with activity all we are doing is delaying the moment when we have to face up to what is within.
The trouble with activity is that it is not neutral, it can be very tiring, we can become weary in doing good things, not because the activity is wrong but because we are doing too much or doing it in our own strength. It also impacts those around us and can be ruinous to our relationships.
We need to take time out to face the issues we are running from, to deal with our insecurities, inner hurt and pain and then to prepare ourselves to continue the journey.
We are called to run a race but it has to be done in such a way to win the prize – we are in this for the long term and therefore we need to look to persevere and to endure, therefore the race has to be run with tactics, without distraction, at a pace which does not wear us out to soon, it is not a sprint but a marathon. We need a pacesetter who will enable us to fulfil our potential without exhausting us or others around us.
Jonathan Clark, 22/07/2009