Next Steps for the Necessity of Healing
A few weeks ago, I turned 23. Definitely one of those birthdays that’s in between all the big one’s and doesn’t really mean much in regards to change, other than you’re a year older. Despite the fact that 23 might not be a big deal, the people around me made sure to let me know that they thought I was a big deal. I felt so loved and cherished throughout that whole weekend, from my coworker, to my boyfriend, to my family – my heart was beyond full.
One of my birthday presents from my parents was a new pair of running shoes, which I desperately needed. I had been running on the same shoes since my freshman year of college. I had trained and raced in a half marathon in these shoes, went on numerous hikes, wore then around campus, and so on and so on. Needless to say, they were in rough shape, and honestly, I probably would have been better off running barefoot than running in those shoes.
I broke in my new shoes in by completing an endurance focused workout at the gym. Lots of running and rowing. It was one of those workouts that was long and forced you to put your nose down to the grindstone and not look up until you were finished. During the workout, I was becoming extremely fatigued – not just from all the running, but from life. The past few weeks hit me like a ton of bricks, making it feel as if I was carrying a heavy load on my back as I was making laps around the building. I had never had the instinct to pray during a workout before, but this time I did. I asked God to give me energy and peace during the rest of the workout, to just get me through without crying. But then the prayer went beyond that. I started praying over my life (again, I thought it was weird too).
Yet, I found it no coincidence that within those last few exhausting weeks, God had continued to press the idea of a ‘next step’ onto my heart. This theme appeared as He was also pressing the word ‘yes’ on me, as well (referenced in my last blog post). I also found it no coincidence that God was speaking to me about next steps while I was running (taking steps) in my new running shoes (what equips you to take steps). I saw the themes and patterns, I was reassured; so, despite that I thought it was weird that I was meeting God 1:1 running around a gravel parking lot at my CrossFit gym, I was affirmed that it was a divine appointment.
Typically when I think of next steps, I think of something grand – going out to a new adventure or doing something crazy brave that involves an immense amount of faith. And I guess that you could say the next steps God is directing me towards includes crazy bravery and immense faith, but not in the way I would assumed it to have been.
I realized as I was praying, God was giving me peace (which if you know me and my anxious heart, peace is often rare). He calmed and stilled me internally. I had a moment where I thought, not this again. Don’t just show up, give me peace, and then not provide an answer to keep me guessing. But that was it – the peace was the answer. I was viewing peace as God stalling, holding me over until He was ‘actually’ going to answer my question of, what’s next? When in reality, He was telling me: I want you to find me in the peace of healing. I want you to slow down and focus on you. There is a time to strive, stretch, and grow, and there is a time to be still and be healed (Note: Ecc. 3:11). And instead of racing towards the next big thing on the horizon, God is calling me to a time of healing and renewal that I “hadn’t gotten around to yet” (aka was running away from). Yet, I know that God cannot bless me in the things I am asking for until these roots of bitterness and pain are not only uprooted, but soothed, healed, and replenished with the loving touch of Jesus.
I find it no coincidence that also around this time I injured my back deadlifting. It has been right for almost two months now, forcing me to only slow down outside of the gym but inside it too. Training isn’t (and can’t be) super intense or consuming right now. Workouts are scaled; I go a little slower to focus on form; I do much more accessory and rehab movements rather than heavy lifting. God is weeding out the blockages that were keeping me high strung and continually moving. When at first we do not obey, God will continue to come after you as He leads you into obedience.
Thus, I’m taking it slow, taking care of myself. I am daring myself to touch the parts of my heart that are still throbbing, although the wounds may be years old. Because I want to receive God’s plan and blessings in full, not undermine them by my own fear and lack of trust that God will protect me and keep me safe within his promises. Not leave me stranded in the anguish of opening up with no reprieve.
This is an exercise of trust. How much do I trust God to rock my world and still hold me together? To heal and restore, regardless if a blessing is on the other side, for the necessity of healing?
I’m asking: how much do you trust Him with your heart? Are you clutching it with white-knuckles for dear life? Or do you pass it on to Him with soft, open hands?
It’s time to stop, mourn, and receive the healing that is due you. Here’s to heart transformations in the making.