The "runner" that I am (insert chuckle), or at least the runner that I will be someday, wants to run a 5K this fall. I've gotten my brothers and sisters-in-law to agree to do it with me. So I've been trying to find a great location, between Philly and DC, on the right weekend. My mom had made the comment that it would start getting cold, and we should do it early. It makes sense, but I told her that runners do this all the time in chillier weather! We aren't real runners quite yet, but we can try to dress like them! I've known lots of runners and read a ton on running. Runners wear layers.
My friend, Suzanne, ran the Broad Street 10 Mile a couple of months back, and told me about this cool set up that they have. You can start in the morning with many layers, and then as you need to take them off, you drop them on the ground, to be picked up later as clothes for the homeless. I like that idea! Of course in the end you may have to wear a shower curtain, because you're just down to one layer of clothing (a shower curtain-that's what Suzanne's mom brought to wrap around her at the end of the race), but you do what you need to do to stay warm at that point…
This morning I woke up at 4:44am. To a handful of you, you understand the significance of that.
*Without going to much detail, a good friend of mine from Detroit, Alex, started waking up at 4:44am during a season of prayer and fasting in January. He shared the "this-in-not-coincidental" story of repeatedly waking up at this time to pray for different people/situations/etc. Then it has happened with a number of other people in our lives who have woken up at that exact time…so funny. One friend, Leah, was lead to Ezekial 44:4, which would actually make sense. (She did this after looking up Ezekial 4:44, which doesn't exist:) This whole waking up thing has happened to me a couple of times. When it has happened, my realization of the presence of God has become so much more real to me.*
I'm a skeptic though. I remember the first time it happened, I awakened with a desire to pray, but hadn't looked at the time. I'd said to myself, "Hah! I bet it's 4:44!" Then I kept my eyes shut until I couldn't take it anymore, and it was 4:45. Unreal. That's what happened again this morning, only for some reason I was even more skeptical and almost fell back asleep…then I looked at the clock….4:48. What do you do when you realize that God is waking you up? Well, I mean, you get up of course…but what does that mean for you? to you?
In those 4 minutes, between the time that I woke up and the time that I looked at the clock, I had this urge to throw off the covers. I wasn't too warm or anything, but I literally, with my legs, just threw off the covers. And at 4:48, when I looked at the clock, so many thoughts flooded my head, and one of them was this. It was a connection to me literally throwing off my covers, and for about 15 minutes I couldn't put the covers back on.
…let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…
What is it that I need to throw off? What is hindering me? I find it so inspiring that the author of Hebrews uses this metaphor of running a race, and throwing off the things that hinder us in running the race well. Physically, spiritually, emotionally…there are things that I wear or carry that keep me from running my race well. I could list several of them here! God woke me up this morning to speak to me about this-really, to remind me of this-it was very humbling. I'm so grateful that despite His BIGNESS, he spares a moment to wake me up and remind me that he is very aware of me.