Hand in hand

Lauren and I walk hand in hand.

Lauren and I walk hand in hand.

Turning to come back down the lane, the phone I was using to track my walk buzzed. I could roughly see the outline of my husband and daughter in the distance, and I knew the reason for the phone call. I had a little girl desperate to join me.

Sure enough, Lauren came running to meet me as I neared the house, her smile as wide as her outstretched arms. She quick grabbed my hand, and we kept walking back up the lane.

Our pace was much slower than my first lap. Not as many calories were burned.

But, I held my daughter’s hand for another 20 minutes. We talked and laughed and even chased the dogs for a while. It was just us girls.

We’ve walked together in the early mornings twice this week.

Rather than being frustrated my exercise plans have been hijacked, I am grateful for the time with my daughter. She is so thrilled to be with me, walking by my side. Her constant chatter is worth cherishing, and her little hand grasping mine a treasure.

A faster pace will come in time. My little girl’s hand, and heart, needs to be held now.

Winter motivation

Weather is one excuse I made this winter to postpone/cancel running.

Weather is one excuse I made this winter to get out of running.

It’s hard to run in the winter.

For the past few months, excuses have been crawling into my head and crowding out my good intentions. Sometimes, the weather defeated my plans.  I was sick, then my son was sick, then my daughter was sick, then my husband was sick. Other events became more important and ran into when I should have been running.

And then there is the monotonous running in circles around the gym that just doesn’t spark my motivation to get into gear.

For me, running consistently this winter has become a choice rather than an already made conclusion.

In my relationship with God, this concept is also true. It’s hard to run in the winter. When stressors come and storms blow in and life piles up and buries our hearts, my first reaction can often be to expend all my energy digging myself out, instead of digging into God’s Word. This past weekend was a particularly stressful one and I spent too many hours trying to figure out a solution, and not near enough time seeking wisdom from my Heavenly Father. When I surfaced on Tuesday, I opened up the Bible app on my Kindle to continue my daily chronological Bible reading, and I realized that I had neglected this essential time with God for four days – each day that I was consumed with a work project during the weekend.

Habits are not mindless, Pavlovian reactions to do what should be done. They are a result of thoughtful planning and consistent, ongoing hard work.

Running is my response to God’s challenge in my life for regular exercise. This week marks a new start and commitment to that routine. Instead of allowing my excuses to claim victory, I will get to the gym whether or not I feel like it or it is convenient.

Most importantly, my relationship with God must take center stage in my life. With God’s strength I will resist problem-solving urges and instead cast my cares on Him.

It’s hard to run in the winter. But, push forward, keep going!

Spring will be here soon!