IMG_0468I spoke to my son on the phone yesterday. After exchanging the usual pleasantries and catching up on life, I asked how his running was going, his training for an upcoming marathon. He told me about the twelve mile trail run he had done this past week end.

Sharing how he had found a new kind of soreness and pain, how he had fallen in the water, bruised up his shins, and generally took a physical beating. Bruised up and weary, with aches and pains he had never experienced before.

I reflected on my one and only true trail run, running eight miles with a dear friend, who by the way runs like a gazelle!

We were deep in the woods on a narrow path and I was following her since I had absolutely no clue where we were. How I was going to get out of there. Even if I would make it out. In fact, my Garmin seemed to be clueless as well, the woods so thick. As two runners headed deeper into them.

My eyes were glued to her back! Terrified to be left behind in said woods.

I had always been a road runner. You pick your focal point run towards it and continue mile after mile in the same manner. Eyes looking up. Looking ahead.

Let’s be clear on this. I. AM. A. SISSY. In the worst possible way. I have no use for bugs, critters, creepy-crawlers, or any variety of the slithering species without feet!

As my sweet man says, when I meet up with a species of THAT variety, out comes the “guttural cry of terror” from an otherwise soft-spoken woman.

Trail running is different. You better be looking down so as not to be taken down by roots, rocks, water, and other debris. And to be on the look out for the no feet slithering fellers. YIKES!

For eight long and weary miles, I was torn between looking up so as not to get lost, and looking down to keep from getting snagged up in, or on something and go sailing through the air. Or worse. Have a one on one run in with one of those critters that would elicit the “guttural cry of terror”.

A girl will do a lot praying while deep in the woods following a human “gazelle”, trying to look both up and down at the same time!

***

Running and faith have a lot in common.

When you take your eyes off The One Above, you will trip. Maybe even fall. Will likely wind up weary and bruised. Aches, pains, wounds so deep only the salve of grace and mercy from Above will fix you up. Set you back on the right path.

The only path.

Looking up will keep you from encountering the evil, slithering one who means to trip you up.

Where the “guttural cry of terror” will become a “guttural cry for help”.

…”He turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1a~nlt

There is a path, a trail, we can run that will keep us from encountering the rocks and debris of life that will cause us to slip and fall.

Psalm 18:36nlt says, “You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.”

Trails riddled with the rocks and boulders of sin and shame. Roots of evil meant to tangle you up. Hold you down.

Trapped.

Drowning in sin.

Separate you from God.

“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23nlt

Keeping to God’s path, giving thanks, honoring Him. Building a relationship with Him.

Entering His gates with thanksgiving.

Confessing sin and the things of life that so easily entangle.

Looking up to the The Only One who can save us will make the trail easier.

Less slippery.

With fewer entanglements that mean to kill and destroy all that is good and right.

Look up precious one. Not down.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn

“My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.” Psalm 17:5nlt