With only two weeks to go before my half-marathon, I may not be as healthy or physically trained as I want to be, but my mind and my spirit have been running wild. For every obstacle I have faced, there has always been a way through it.
Every time I run outside, I don’t know exactly where I’m going. On one run, I came to a dead end and had to turn around. On another, the sidewalk ended and I ran on grass next to the road. This is a lot like Life, not always knowing where the road will take you or where to turn at a dead end. As I have experienced during my training and over the last three years in general: I don’t need to know where I’m going and I don’t want to.
Whether you believe in “God” or not, we all have Ups and Down. We all have struggles, fears and problems that we deal with everyday. But for every challenge you face, peace, rest and joyous satisfaction are usually waiting for you on the other side.
We all have “turning points” in our lives that may have already happened or that will happen someday. (Where you are at a serious roadblock and can either make a sharp turn or continue on the bumpy path that you have been on) For those of you who have experienced this before, you know what I’m talking about.
Three years ago, my crossroads came near the end of my second college basketball season. Basketball was always part of my life, which is why it was so hard to even think about turning away from playing competitive basketball again. I had been playing through injuries for two years, I didn’t have the best relationships with coaches, and I didn’t have the strong friendships that I needed. I was lost, and so was my love for the game. Like with running, I had to make a sharp turn back onto the narrow path, so I did.
I was led to email my church’s youth pastor, Keith, whom I had never met. I asked if I could meet with him about some things that were going on, and he graciously accepted. We met about four times that month, about the faith that I had lost. As I made the sharp turn, I was ultimately giving up control of my life and not worrying about where the new road would take me. It’s not like we have control of the very high and low moments anyways, right?
After meeting with Keith, giving up control, admitting mistakes and repenting, and trusting/having faith in The God that I know to be Real, here are a few things that happened in the next two years:
- I had the opportunity to study abroad in Wales for a month with strangers, which included surfing and a weekend trip to Dublin. More importantly, many of those strangers have turned into very good friends. Going to Wales turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
- I spent my last year of college at Oklahoma Wesleyan (childhood friend Adam Wilhelm was there). Received a great education, had fun and met so many great people, including my wife Winter (her fam is pretty sweet too). Three guys I met were groomsmen in our wedding. Two professors and one youth pastor have turned into good friends and mentors. The decision to go to Oklahoma Wesleyan was definitely one of the best decisions ever.
- I have been blessed with my current job in West Des Moines, Iowa
- I was completely set free of past mistakes, guilt and burdens (and still am today)
- Keith is now one of my closest friends, as well as a great mentor.
Coincidence or Fate? I think you know which one is True. This real-life example is proof of why “I don’t need to know where I’m going and I don’t want to,” because I never could have come up with something so special like this on my own.
As I have experienced over the last few months, running is a lot like everyday life. You don’t always know where you are going, and sometimes you come to a dead end. But you can be given guidance to make it through to the right path if you ask for it. Not because of what you see but because of what you can’t see, through faith.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21