I used to be a runner.
I took great pride in uttering the words, I’m going for a run. Or, I ran 6 miles this morning. Alas, I enjoyed being able to say I did it more than actually doing it. Plus, running meant I could enjoy my favorite foods relatively guilt free. Score.
While I was only a sporadic physical runner, I was a consistent ‘emotional’ runner. Depending on the situation, I’d run very fast, very far, or both. Looking back, it’s a miracle that some friendships have lasted more than half my life. I wasn’t always good at being a friend. I strived to keep my heart pure and my mistakes weren’t intentionally malicious. Yet, I graduated summa cum laude in self-sabotage and I’m not proud to have taken some relationships down with me.
These days, I’m not doing much running physically or emotionally. Growth. I allow others to be themselves, even if it suits us better for them to do so at a distance. I learned that others struggle to stay balanced in some areas, just as I did. Before, when they struggled in areas that came naturally to me, I couldn’t fathom why they didn’t “get it.” Until I had a ‘rock-bottom’ period some years back. When I hit my emotional bottom, I laid there a while. Looking at life from underneath it gave me the perspective I needed to dump many self-righteous tendencies.
The deal with self-righteousness is that the grace and forgiveness we withhold, we also don’t give ourselves. That’s a part of the trick of pride. On one hand, pride screams you are “better” than others, worthy of praise. On the other, it consistently whispers that you’re less. It draws your attention so you constantly focus on you. Comparison and envy become your besties, but on the outside you look like all is well. It’s hard for someone to help prevent your fall when you paint a picture that all is well!
How did I get free of depression and finally stop running? By confessing I had a problem! And I had help allowing God’s love to retrain me on how to apply grace. I resigned the belief it was possible to please God and serve people in my own strength. I relinquished control and employed grace in ways I never had. I learned to love myself enough to have hard conversations and to allow people to show me my position in their life and accept it. I stopped running and stopped forcing. It made me a better friend, minister and eventually, wife.
Now, when I stopped running physically, I gained weight in all the wrong places. But when I stopped running emotionally, I gained weight in all the right ones. My relationships have new substance. Ironically, at my new weight I’m lighter and more free than ever!
Would you like to drop some emotional weight this year? What’s your plan? Let me know in the comments! If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.