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I jog on pavement wet from last night’s rain. Water drips from leaves overhead and a cool breeze drifts in from the woods to caress my legs. I follow the trailhead until it hits the greenway, like the stem of a T joining its top.
A glance to the right to make sure I don’t run in front of a bike or a dog walking its owner and then I veer left, following the path my kids’ cross country team took earlier and the woman who crosses before me as I approach the fork.
Since she looks neither 20-something nor in training for a marathon, I challenge myself to match her pace. I’m not a morning person—my name, Dawn, the great irony of my life—but I feel more alive during these early practices than when I sleep later, use folding laundry and cleaning house as forms of procrastination, and then force myself into the mid-morning heat to jog in my neighborhood.
Still, the beginning is the hardest part and I question the wisdom of choosing a wild card runner as my guide.
Before I started running two summers ago, I marveled at the number of devotionals and blog posts which center around it. Now I understand. It’s amazing how life experiences translate into running analogies.
One of our cross country coaches uses a C. S. Lewis quote in her email signature: “If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” Although I don’t fully agree—I want the satisfaction of a bone-deep exhaustion at the end—it’s no surprise that a gifted writer would also be an avid runner.
In that space where physical exertion and endorphins mingle, thoughts ferment, sentences string smooth, tangles unwind. My husband worked math problems in his head during distance runs in high school.
Mental distractions keep me from focusing on being tired and thirsty. Or wanting to quit. Or the fact that the woman ahead of me doesn’t stop to walk occasionally. Great, I chose to follow the Energizer Bunny.
I wonder if anyone follows me, but to look behind would feel like cheating. If no one’s there, I might be tempted to stop.
After all, it’s easier to push forward when you’ve got an audience.
This woman before me, unaware that she’s my leader, proves to be a good choice. We never know who, if anyone, follows us, who grits her teeth and says, “If she keeps going, I can, too.”
Seek wise examples but remember that human ones may fail. Will fail. Wisdom tell us not to follow a man, but to follow that man’s God.
Pink highlights cover the pages of my copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. It’s full of helpful, memorable ideas, but this one has affected my thoughts since I read it: “We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.”
What do you think? Where does wisdom gather? Where does it scatter?
I’ve noticed how wisdom gathers when I sit down with Bible and journal, digging for wise words and writing them down, or when my husband and I talk about the future and examine where our choices might lead. But wisdom scatters—no, it’s tossed far and wide—when I get sucked into a debate with a willful and illogical teenager or play a game of Bejeweled Blitz when I’ve got a writing deadline.
Smart decisions can be difficult to make in stressful situations or under pressure. Lysa provides solid processes and practices for discerning your best yeses while saying no with less guilt, freeing you to use your time and resources in the wisest ways.
Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman.
It will make me a worn out woman. ~ Lysa TerKeurst
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