Okay sisters its time for a "heart to heart/come to Jesus" meeting. This is a time when honest answers need to come out even if they sting a little. The following question keeps popping up in my mind as of late and I want to see where you stand as well.
Q: When times get tough where do you run?
Do you run to the pantry? Do you run to the gym? Do you run to the nearest Chick-fil-a and get yourself a #1 but substitute the fries with fruit so you don't feel as bad?
There is nothing wrong with Chick-fil-a, in fact secretly I hope there are a couple in Heaven. You know, at the corner of Glory & Eternity.
All joking aside, how many of us run straight to the Lord?
If you were to ask me this a couple months ago I would have honestly answered that I ran to the Lord.....as I sat eating my "healthy snack" or on my way to "work off some stress." But the Lord in all his faithfulness has shown me through a series of events and heart "aha" moments that I DO NOT run to him but I rather quickly chase things that can distract me for the moment but perish later and leave me devastated and looking for more.
One such moment came when I decided to fast so that I could hear the Lord's voice more clearly on certain events taking place. When I started to get hungry and my stomach started making crazy noises my first inclination was to run straight to the fridge and get something to satisfy me and my need. It wasn't until I was mid-bite that the Holy Spirit stopped me and reminded me that the Lord was the only one who could satisfy and that I needed to come to him and not run to attempt to satisfy the need myself. Then and only then did I realize my crumbling idol that I lean on during stressful times was food/ working out.
Now it may look good from the outside as I munch on my apples & PB or I go for a run, but we all know that the Lord knows our hearts, the inside. He knows that we are chasing after crumbling and vanishing gods that will NOT satisfy or dull the hunger we are feeling. The hunger for love, safety, direction and peace. These my friend can only be satisfied by the Bread of Life himself. When times get tough we are told that "the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." (Psalm 34:17) We are to come before him and let him fill us up, dull our hunger and thirst for more and find fullness of life in him.
How many of us have allowed such a wonderful provision of food, unhealthy and healthy, to become our idol? How many of us instead of running to the Lord when life begins to crumble around us, instead run to the gym or to a friend who will listen to us vent?
Food, exercise and friendships are all things the Lord has blessed us with but when we put those things above the creator of ALL things then they in turn become faulty gods who will always let us down. So sister, when you find yourself hungry and longing to be filled. RUN to a God who listens, cares, and fills us with unending joy and life so that we may never hunger or thirst again.
We are told in Psalm 34:18 that "the LORD is closer to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit". Also, in Psalm 25:14 the Lord tells us that "the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant". The Lord longs for us to run to him. In his presence is friendship, healing and peace. Here are some practical things I have found that have been helpful that keep me on track as I "run" after him.
1. Run/Walk & pray. This is a great time to be alone with the Lord and talk to him on-the-go.
2. Put scripture in places that you frequent. (ex. car visor, bathroom mirror, door to the garage) Let there be a constant reminder and prayerful attitude towards running after him.
3. Memorize scripture. Worthy of the Prize Fit Bands are great for this. They are easy to take with you and a great way to memorize and meditate on scripture throughout the day.
4. To stop yourself from only seeking crumbling idols in fitness or food, you can post scripture on the fridge/pantry or put reminders on your IPOD to show up when you are working out.
About the Author: Lauren Barksdale is the founder of Soul Fitness. She has a BA and Masters in Kinesiology from Dallas Baptist University . She coached volleyball at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills for the last 5 years. In college she played volleyball for Baylor's club team and at Dallas Baptist University. She has been married to Ben Barksdale for 5 years and has two children; Evie Grace who is 3 and Hudson who is 10 months old. Lauren has a passion for health and fitness and incorporating that into everyday life as a Christ follower