God has a way of teaching lessons to me when I run. Yes, I do still run from time to time. Not like I used to years ago, but I run nonetheless. A couple of days a week, when the weather is beautiful, and I need the fresh air, I’ll lace up my shoes and head out for a few miles. Despite the fact that my body doesn’t really want to run most days, my heart and soul long for the outside. It seems to call my name. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, wind in my face, and good music blaring in my ears.

I don’t go looking for lessons, but God sends them anyway. I like running to be a time to clear my head, to think about nothing, to just enjoy the atmosphere, to unwind. But, God still speaks. He speaks even louder when I’m trying to tune Him out. I know that may sound harsh. But, some days, I just don’t want another lesson. I don’t want to keep circling around the same things over and over. I don’t want to feel any additional pain or hurt. I just want to move forward. Sometimes, God’s voice puts me right back to start and causes me to stop.

When you run on the open road, there are times that certain tiny pebbles from the road somehow manage to end up in your shoe. When you are a consistent runner, this has got to be one of the most irritating things to deal with simply because the tiniest pebble can ruin your whole run.

What I try to do is ignore the pebble. When you’re miles into your run and you’re at a good pace, the last thing you want to have to think about doing is stopping. So, I just keep running. The whole time I’m trying to finish this run, that dumb pebble feels like an enormous boulder with knives sticking out of it. It starts to really hurt and rub on my foot. At some point, I have to make the decision …. am I going to stop and get the pebble out of my shoe or can I make it the rest of the way with the pain of it in my shoe?

Eventually, I have to stop. I have to take my shoe off. And, I have to start again.

On my recent run, that tiny pebble caused an abrasion on my foot. It was hurting me. And, most importantly, it was going to make the rest of my run not enjoyable at all.

In that moment, God spoke to my heart about so many things in my life.

Each of us has things we have to deal with throughout our lifetime. Some things that have happened to us. Some things that we have caused. Just really hard things that make us who we are.

Most of us want to run through life ignoring the “pebble” or multiple “pebbles” in our shoe. And, by “pebbles,” I’m talking about hurt, pain, unresolved issues, and conflicts in our lives. The issues can only get repaired and resolved when we stop, empty them out, and start over. Otherwise, more discomfort, more pain, more hurt, and those abrasions will form on our hearts. We just can’t run with all that weighing us down and causing such discomfort and pain. We have to deal with them all.

There will always be those “pebbles” unfortunately, just because … well … life. Life is messy. Life is hard. But, if we take the steps to deal with them one by one, as they hit us, I think we will find that the run becomes more comfortable and definitely more enjoyable.

I am working on myself every day. I am working on dealing with all those pebbles that show up. I am working on not ignoring them. I am working on going back to the start. I am forever a work in progress.