Two women running in the wintery woods
I have a friend who makes me run in freezing cold conditions. Yesterday it was nineteen degrees outside and with the wind chill it felt like seven, as in single digits. And yes, we ran – IN THE WOODS - OUTSIDE!
I love to run outside, but come on. I get cold so easily. I’m currently writing this indoors with the heat on, wearing a jacket and sipping my Starbucks (which I just reheated). I have permashiver in my bones.
I’ve tried getting out of these runs before.
I’ve texted: looks too chilly for me
and my friend texts back: bundle up
I'll need to type frantically to finish my manuscript next week!
There are so many things that don’t seem doable, like running in seven degrees, who would do that? But there are bigger things too, like finishing the manuscript I’m working on by the end of next week or completely forgiving someone in my life, who I’m currently holding a grudge against, tightly. There are challenging moments in scheduling, everyday kind of life, like getting my four kids to all of their practices and games while my husband is in Sri Lanka or maneuvering the roads this morning after the ice storm that hit last night. (Did I mention I’m not that strong of a driver?) But with Christ all things are possible, and my friend pushing me to run outside on a freezing cold morning, is the perfect reminder.
One of my all time favorite Bible verses Phillipians 4:13
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Not some things, or the easy things or the convenient things, but ALL THINGS. So what things are you struggling with today? What seems difficult or inconvenient or tricky or down right impossible? There is a way around, through, over or under it. For me and my run, it meant wearing long underwear, gloves, “heat wear” and my Columbia. And you know what, our run through the woods was invigorating. I saw the beautiful patterns of water frozen in motion on an icy stream. I breathed in fresh, clean, crisp air after days and nights of stale air recirculated from dusty heaters. The cold breeze on my cheeks revived my senses. I shared laughter and stories with a friend and allowed my mind and body to fall into the healing rhythm of a run.
Not only is the impossible possible, it usually provides an invigorating path for discovery. What’s overwhelming you today? I’d love to pray for you to find your way through it.
runner in the winter
It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s gray. I’m chilly. I’m shivering.
I’ve traded tall glasses of cool water for earthen mugs filled with steaming H2O to warm my hands, throat and insides as I hydrate myself throughout the day.
Throws and blankets litter my couches, so no matter what room I’m in, whether I’m writing, reading, chatting, playing, anything, I can snuggle into the warmth their thick folds offer.
My fuzzy slipper boots with the leopard print haven’t seen my closet in weeks. They are either on my feet or next to my bed, eager for me to trade out my clompy boots at the end of the day and slide into their softness.
I am drawn by the warmth and dancing flames in the fireplace. I savor the scent of coffee, rich and strong in the mornings. I look forward to layering fluffy sweaters and fur vests over my body.
But part of me, something deep inside of me, longs for outdoors.
Like our tortoise, who revels in sunning himself under his heat lamp, but always seems to be planning his great escape, I want to bang my head against the windows and find a way out of my terrarium, aka my house, and out, where there’s air and sky and breezes and life.
So, today, I went running outside. I wore long underwear and a turtleneck and a hooded sweatshirt tied tight around my face. Thick, polar fleece gloves encased my fingers. But, I felt it. I felt Him.
Outside, I am always closer to my Maker and always closer to me, the person He made me to be. The park was desolate except for one person walking their dog and a pair of soccer players passing the ball back and forth, the leather echoing against their cleats in the stillness of the day.
I inhaled long and hard the cold, crisp winter air. It broke through my fog and stirred my lethargy and made me feel alive. The wind stung my eyes, making them tear up, but the tears were warm and wet and real, and seemed to cleanse a film off my lenses making everything more vivid.
The air in my warm nest of a home has become stale with the hum of the heater. But the air outside was as fresh as a farmer’s market, alive and new, just grown today, for my lungs to take in and push back out.
I returned home to a soothing warm shower, my favorite jeans, three layers of tops and of course, my slippers. As I sit here and write, I sip steaming water and intermittently clutch the warm mug to my chest. But my soul is stirred.
My eyes are wider. My heart beats faster. My mind races with ideas.
My cozy home is a safe haven for shelter and heat, but I do not need to hibernate. I will take the gift of life, the essence of the universe and infuse it into my very soul and all I do.
I will take the gift of creation and visit it again sooner, rather than later, to keep me in sync with my Creator and His plans for me.