So I’m training for the bridge run. I know it’s four months away, but I haven’t been able to run in quite a while. I’d started training last spring when my diseased gallbladder forestalled the process. Now that I have recovered, I’ve started running (jogging, for all you REAL runners) in intervals with my power-walk schedule. And I’ve begun to run for endurance and distance one day each week. Barring any unforseen injury I should be ready by March 12 (Flowertown) and April 2 (Bridge). I was discussing this with a friend and she mentioned that she may sign up for the YMCA training program. I responded that I prefer to create my own training schedule. I have always marched to the beat of a different drum, hearing a rhythm others didn’t necessarily hear, pressing on without a map. And as a woman, I’ve always felt a little bad about it. I grew up somehow believing that a godly woman isn’t an adventurer, a leader, or someone who challenges the status quo; she follows carefully laid plans. Yet as I look back on it, had I not been driven by the need to listen for a different voice other than those around me, I would not have made it out.
The most consistent question within me is why some people are strengthened by adversity and others are sidelined by it. I am passionate about encouraging people in their journey with God. What intrigues me most is what lies within a person that prevents them from making the journey. The challenging circumstances do not determine the outcome. They are never the course or the destination; they are only the light that illuminates the mountains that already stand in our path, mountains within our very being. And ultimately, only God’s help will empower us to make the climb over and past them. We are all drawn to a story where an individual triumphs, and by definition it isn’t a triumph if the odds are not stacked against them. Yet throughout history, some of the strongest, most courageous folks have stood alone in their vision of a better life. It was after they plowed the way that others followed. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one such man and I’m looking forward to reading the new biography about him.
Which led me to think again about how people grow and develop in different ways. There is the question of whether a person prefers a process of discovery or a well-proven process. All of us use both in our daily lives, but we are also each drawn to one particular bent more than the other. I rely on proven processes all around me and I ravenously read others’ accounts of their own process with God. Even so, God consistently leads me down paths of discovery that are not led by one specific teacher or mentor, but are rather like clues to a mystery, twists and turns on an adventure, pieces to a puzzle. And He always brings me to a point of resolution so that whatever primary concept He has been hammering out within me actually becomes concrete and most importantly, becomes mine. This process takes time and cannot be rushed.
Which brings me to what I felt God impressing upon me today: He created me to revel in the process of discovery. My hunch is that more folks prefer the safety of a proven process rather than the risk of discovering one. But if my process of discovery can clear the path for someone else to more clearly hear what God is saying to them, then isn’t it worth it for me to get a little bruised and scratched as I cut a path? If my thinking out loud helps another person better discern their own thoughts and feelings, then aren’t I serving them in some small but important way? I’m understanding better every day why His design of me was really a good thing, how I haven’t ruined it at all, and how these scattered pieces within me fit together quite beautifully. I’m understanding better and better that His plans for me are far more wonderful and adventurous than I could have ever dreamed, and I DO love an adventure. He is just extravagantly generous like that.