Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Long Road to the Point

I am not a runner. No way, no how. I have in ingrown fear of exercise -- I fear losing weight.

Stay with me.

I've been a skinny minny all my life. I routinely add 5 pounds to my weight on my driver's license. I'm now at that age where I'd love for someone to cut a few slices off my muffin top, but leave the rest, thankyouverymuch. What if I set out to do myself some good and in the process, my arms get skinnier, and my hip-section retains its own personal hour-glass figure?

Still, in one of my favorite recurring dreams, I am simply running. It feels so good and I'm always amazed at how far I can run. Now Cory is training for a half-marathon and I'm freshly inspired, theoretically speaking.

I have a bucket of excuses at the ready, but tonight - I ran. And I walked-walked-walked-walked-walked and then I ran a little bit more.

I was alone. On the road I grew up on. The rain misted just enough to capture a muddy rainbow. I passed an old farm and saw my high school band teacher standing in the field. I passed by row upon row of field corn that dwarfed me. I heard nothing but my shoes on asphalt.

Before long, the rain came down harder - dripping down my face, soaking my t-shirt. I thought to myself, "I should cry!" In books the girl always cries in the shower or in the rain, "where no one can see my tears" (cue violin). It struck me - I have not one single thing to cry about. Dang! I was itching to try on some faux angst. Nothing sounded more sensational than a girl running on her home-grown road, two kinds of drops coursing down her cheeks, dripping from her chin.

Slowing down at the telephone pole, my near-miss with roadside drama averted, I was seized by the irrational fear of my High School boyfriend driving by and laughing at me. (It is clear even to me that should I opt to make walking-walking-running a regular part of my life, it would be wise to invest in a music-playing device or similar mind-wandering-restraint.)

I soldiered on, wishing the whole experience were half as euphoric as my R.E.M. version.

I was stared down by a herd of cattle who were largely unimpressed with my efforts.

I was so utterly content. Breathless, too. But mostly - content.

I started complaining to Jesus about Cory's job situation. Without weighing the truth or calibrating the consequences, I blurted out, "YOU choose!"

I was an exasperated child, tired of trying to figure it out.

You choose.


For the past two months, one of my fears has been that we would make the wrong choice.

I have no idea when I decided that this was up to us. I know better. I thought I did.

With rain in my eyes, with my ratty t-shirt stretching heavy, I came face-to-face with Epiphany. I was quiet enough, tired enough to hear the Truth.

Go on ahead, God. You choose. I'm just along for the run.


  1. There is so much comfort in knowing our lives are in his hands, and he already knows our future isn't there?

  2. love how you mix "hilarious" with "profound." hope you hear the Lord's call soon... and that everything will be clear and you'll think, "of course."
    i, too, have despised running all my life and then found myself going out to jog in the heat with the little one in the stroller. not once. not twice. but 3 whole times. something must be in the water, friend. :)

  3. I love this post. Your mind goes on crazy rants in all directions just like mine. And you got an epiphany. That is my favourite word!

  4. Oh darlin', just when I thought I couldn't love you more, you go and do this. Sigh. As always, love your posts, love your thoughts - xo.

  5. You had me from "I am not a runner.." I am always amazed at how profound your posts are. You always seem to speak directly to my heart, even if I had no idea that I was dealing with a similar thought or problem. I love how you mother, I love how you talk about and treat your husband, and I love how you wrestle with life and God. Thanks for the encouragement today! Praying for your fam.

  6. You always have so much going on in that head and heart of yours, and I'm always so glad that you share a little bit of it with us in your unique and really special way. Oh, and, I'm SO not a runner either. And hubby runs long distance. Go figure.
    Heidi - Heart and Home

  7. You're pretty much my favorite person right now! I relate to you so much! We've been planning a move, knowing like you that we needed to go but didn't know where. Now after months we finally know where. But along the way all we heard about was "God's Will, God's Will." In the form of "just make sure what you do is God's Will!" How vague is that for advice?! Vague and threatening! We sought out wise counsel who told us that really if you're motive is to bring God glory you can do many things and be in God's will. Also it'll be clear what to do when the time is right! Thank you so so much for writing and sharing with me! It's more of a blessing than you'll ever know!

  8. You know I was intrigued from the git-go when you talked about running. I wish I could have been with you! But I'm certain you wouldn't have had those revelations, and I'm happy you did. (And, for the record, all these years I've been a runner, I've never been able to conjur up those tears in the rain either!) I love you, Shannan, and am so glad I read this post first thing this morning - you've given me a lot to think about today. -Holly Y.

  9. *sigh* I love you. I'm kind going through the same kind of stuff reading crazy love right now. Doesn't it feel so much better when we finally let go and let God? I think so too.

  10. You know the best part is that the FINISHED LINE is already in place.

    Proverbs 4:11-12 (but you can keep reading down to the end of the chapeter) came to mind as I read your post and it says.

    "I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble".

    Keep going... and He will guide (choose) as you go, in faith.

    Saying a prayer for you and your family, today.

  11. I'm not a runner either, but my Hubby is so I'm trying to be. On another note - I kind of feel like I'm in the same place with the Lord. Hubby and I are getting ready to start a house hunt and often I get overwhelmed by the process, fearing we will make the wrong choice. But the answer is - as it always is - to seek His wisdom. To turn to Him and say "You choose." Thank you for speaking His words to me today.

  12. The kind of clarity that comes from runs is unbelievable. Last summer, I fancied myself a runner. My T.A.W.G couldn't have been better. I'm a bit ashamed to say that my running has all but disappeared this summer... and besids my waste line missing out on the inches slowly falling off, I haven't had my time with God... for those moments when I go, DUH! This is all His anyway! Beautifully written... again :)

    Ps. Finished my Elizabeth Berg book. Very good. She had some lines that reminded me of your writing.

    Pss. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It gives me a strange excitement when I see you've commented. (Ok. That was to much. I'll stop now.)

  13. awesome
    i love it
    i love your words
    you should write a book girlie

  14. You have a gift with words. There are few women within the blogging world who are able to entice me with their words alone. You do it EVERY TIME! Thanks for painting the picture :) If ever Jesus chooses for you to write a book, I will read it. And publicize it heavily. Just sayin'.

  15. This just further solidifies that I want to be you when I grow up. Yeah, and what Em said. You + Book = Awesomeness.

  16. I am so with you. I've felt the same way recently, like I have a bigger part in this than I actually do...what if I miss it? Then the Lord revealed to me what He's revealed to you...He is in control. Praise Jesus!

  17. I can totally relate! You have such great posts and I always look forward to reading each and everyone.


  18. I can so relate to this. I am so busy flapping my jaw or mental jaw, I forget to be still and listen to him.
    I love how you wanted to cry and couldn't conjure up(love that phrase!) a reason. I have done that before only to later cry at a stupid commercial! Your blog is my favorite right next to my daughters' blogs. I check it every night before I turn in , but you are a night blogger and sometimes I have to wait til the morning :( Ah oh I am rambling again... I forget it is your blog not mine!! Thanks for the entertainment! I'll be back tonight!!

  19. Wow! This really resonated with me as we are in the midst a big decision right now. I have supposedly given it over to God, but I notice I keep gnawing on it instead of relying on faith that HE will make the right choice. Thank you for putting into words EXACTLY how I feel!

  20. i hope you are submitting your beautiful writing to publishing companies.... i think you have something special! thanks for the constant smiles!

  21. Girl I just love you. Thank you for letting me see what's in that lovely head of yours every day. I should cry...seriously that is the funniest thing yet!!! Hang in there. He's got it all worked out.

  22. Running in the country is my favorite - always a great chance to think.

  23. HI! Everytime I read your posts, I feel so incredibly encouraged and calm. I can always relate what you're saying to something in my own life and your words are very helpful. God is taking care of you...remember, you didn't have anything to cry about. I think you should cherish this time right now...you are very blessed. Thanks for all the support you give to us through your thoughts and writings!
    Have a wonderful day! Next time it rains here, I'm going to go for a run.

  24. What a great post. You are more wise than you give yourself credit for! I needed these words today. Thank you!

  25. Very poignant, Shannan.
    Yet I am stuck on the part about running by the herd of cattle and then you feeling utterly content.

    ~Andrea in NH

  26. But if you take along the music player next time, you won't get quiet enough to hear the message. :)

  27. Great post. When we were trying to decided whether or not my husband would take a job in a different state I was so worried about making the wrong decision. I even had those irrational thoughts of bad things happening because of the wrong choice (fortunately they were fleeting thoughts). But isn't it great for those of us who truly rest in God's hands and to know that He makes no mistakes or wrong choices? :)

  28. Sometimes it is so hard to let go, but letting God choose is always the right choice. Every time!

  29. Some of my best decisions, even if that meant letting go of something, came while running or walking. It's a great time to contemplate anything and everything.

    Your posts are so encouraging and make me smile.

    PS - I agree with Mindi Jo from ramblings from a ragamuffin, I too was surprised and tickled pink (or maybe fucshia) when you commented on my blog!

  30. I'm just on the other side of a "you choose" moment, myself, so I hear ya, girl. And isn't it funny how much weight and stress the illusion of control gives us until we realize that we aren't really in control of anything anyway, and the things we DO control, we shouldn't. Amiright?

    Anyway, just a word of encouragement for ya. "You choose" is always the right choice. <3

  31. I am a big fan of walking, never was able to train myself to run. I always envy the runners I pass and wish I could do it, but I'll just stick to walking--you can see more things at the slower pace!

  32. Shannan, I love this post! It's so easy to forget that He is in control and we are just along for the ride. We try to control our lives, when if we would just let God do his job, life would be so much easier! Thanks for reminding me of this :)


  33. thank you. again.

    send me a bill

  34. oh that was good. really, really good.

  35. Would that be Mr. Jenkins? This post has made me miss Hog Path, Horseshoe Bend and all other local gems that I forgot to take note of when it was my home too.

    Speaking of highschool - did you get a lump in your throat when you saw nothingness for the first time where once stood the school?

  36. EEK!
    I love this so much.
    okay so, I've had this sneaky feeling that people who write about God have their sense of humor sucked out first. Because God is serious right? It's actually given me a complex, because I have a pesky sense of humor that will NOT leave me alone, and I fear irreverence.
    You have given me hope. You have inspired me. You have made me laugh.

    Keep it real! Have fun running you skinny girl.

  37. I hear what you are saying, Shannan. Sometimes I act as if this life of mine is just that...mine. In reality it is God's...and I know that if I can quit leaning on my own understanding and trust Him His choice will be evident. Thanks so much for sharing.

  38. utterly content ~ that part made me giggle! =)
    Your thoughts come together brilliantly! Trusting is the hardest thing in the whole world!! I am an expert at trying to trust... ha ha!

  39. ...and now Jesus can work. Isn't it funny what we go through until we get to this point of surrender? I am so with you, Shannan.

    I completely understand. blogged about my trust issues today. you're not alone.

  40. Trust and believe in his plan (even when it all seems to make no sense) That muddy rainbow you passed was his promise to you.

    This is my first visit to your sweet blog via our mutual friend, Jayme! I will be returning -- so many good things here to take in.


  41. Oh girl, if only you could record each and every thought that comes out of that wonderful head of yours! ;o)

    You make me smile. Daily.


  42. Profound and inspirational. I love a peek into that head of yours!

  43. I am not a runner these days but I used to be one. I always felt it was the best brain therapy. When things were on my mind all I seemed to have to do was run and either they would sort themselves out or else I would become more calm about it. You're doing great!

  44. I agree with what so many of the other girls said. You really do have a gift with words. God is using you! I always appreciate your heart and you always make me laugh at the same time. We just moved but our old home still sits unsold. When it all starts to stress me out and weigh heavy on my shoulders, the Lord gently reminds me that I am trying to hold this "burden." He has got it all under control. I am convinced my job is just to get out of the way, relax in His ever capable hands and be thankful. I love HIM! I love you too sister! Keep on seeking His face. He's got exciting things in store!

  45. Oh man, this is good. Really.really.good.stuff. that I absolutely needed to hear today. Thank you.