I love to run, but I hate running in the heat.
When the temperature gets over 75 and the air is thick with moisture, I have trouble breathing. My heart rate skyrockets with little effort, which, in turn, impedes my speed.
During a Southern summer, it’s nearly impossible to avoid running in these conditions. Rather than hop on a treadmill inside (my personal purgatory), I continue to train outside.
In the middle of such a run, lungs overburdened, I ask myself why. I know accepting and pushing through the heat is more than a desire to train; it’s an opportunity to build resilience.
Most of us having been building resilience in droves over the past six months. And it’s exhausting. As tired as I am of daily division and strife, it’s equally frustrating watching people use social media to put a filter on summer, as if to ignore what is happening in our world.
This past month has brought a lot of surprising changes in my life, including a rejection that felt like a personal shortcoming, a job layoff, and a family medical emergency. I’m grateful my family is safe, and that I don’t have to worry for my basic needs.
More than that, I’m thankful and even excited for the uncertainty of the next chapter.
I’ve prayed for the past couple of years with a specific word in mind: movement. I’ve felt static in my work, and sought guidance for what to do next. As I waited, I stayed put and tried my best to serve where I was.
I almost thought God had forgotten about my prayer.
When I found out I was being laid off, I knew it was my answer. Not the answer I’d expected, but an answer that provided much-needed clarity.
I am a planner, and don’t particularly like the idea of having to job hunt during a pandemic. But I’m convinced the removal of my comfort zone was necessary for my growth. It’s one thing to appreciate a regular paycheck and benefits, but it’s another to let those lull you into stagnation, like I’d done.
It often takes times of uncertainty to realize God is with me, in more than just a pie-in-the-sky sort of way. I’m at peace with the present, and I don’t fear the future. I feel God’s presence guiding me, as He always has when I’ve paused long enough to watch and listen.
Recently, my roommate and I converted our bonus room into a little study. When I sat down to work the next day, I noticed she’d tacked up “A Dangerous Prayer,” often attributed to Sir Francis Drake, but of unknown origins.
It goes like this:
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
Let us not lose our thirst for the adventure God has written for us, for the opportunity to serve Him with all our heart and talents. Fear of storms, of what lies beyond the coastline, is no match for His masterful steering.
Just as running through the brutal summer temps leads to better conditioning, going through a trying season of life always yields immense growth, if we lean into it.
I’ll end by sharing a prayer that actually has historical evidence to attribute it to Drake:
“O Lord God, when Thou givest to Thy servants to endeavor any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory; through Him who for the finishing of Thy work laid down His life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.”