I ran hurdles in high school.
My favorite was the 100 hurdle relay. Coach trained me to be a three stepper and a four stepper. When you are a three stepper, it means you take three steps between the hurdles and always jump with the same leg going over. When you are a four stepper, it means you take four steps between the hurdles and can jump with either leg going over.
Why does that matter?
Because a relay means that someone always has to run against the wind. Some people run with the wind at their back and it helps push them forward. They easily take three steps and jump. But when you run against the wind, the three steps are harder to take. You take your three steps and are still too far away from the hurdle to leap, so you stutter your steps until you are close enough to jump with the only leg you know how to use.
Being able to take four steps and jump with either leg meant I had more flexibility to change when the moment called for it. It meant that I would jump no matter the conditions. Running against the wind, facing the harder conditions, didn’t matter. I always jumped.
Today, as I was laying on the couch, tired, sick, listening to the rain hit against the windows, I had a moment when I wondered…
…will I ever get a break?
Chronic illness is constant. You are always running against the wind. Hurdles don’t get cleared and put away. They just continue to get lined up and you get in the rhythm of jumping them. Pushing forward.
Alone, without a Teacher, I would stutter my steps. I would try to lead with the only leg I knew how to jump with and I would hit the hurdle. I would fall. I would never finish this race.
God has taught me to be flexible. He has taught me that the conditions do not matter. He has taught me that… easy or hard… with the wind or against it… I can jump. I can keep running forward. I can run and not stutter or stumble or grow weary.
I don’t need a break. I don’t need the wind at my back. I only need what He has taught me: To hope in Him. To love Him and to love others. To trust that, regardless of circumstances, He has given me all I need in order to jump any hurdle life puts on my path.
All I need, I already have. It just requires me to be flexible enough to put away what I believe to be the simplest path, and be willing to lead with either leg.
All He asks is that I trust Him enough to jump.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.