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Grounding Presence | Run Your Race - Part One

2020 has floating days that pass, unharnessed, like so many dandelion seeds in the breeze. Unruly thoughts swirl just out of reach—of no use to me or to anyone.

My fast-growing, career-choosing baby girl is enamoured by space travel and astrophysics—by too-big words describing too-far places—and she tells me how much fun they’ll have up there. Look, Mum, we do pizza nights once a week! She interrupts my unfocused gaze with a video of weightless ingredients floating about, being caught and stuck onto tomato paste-lathered pizza bases. The video rolls over to hair-washing night—astronauts spraying heads with pump-bottled water; droplets caught in cupped hands as they float away, and slapped back onto heads in need of washing.

The unruly droplets metaphor my floating thoughts, illustrate my need to capture them in cupped hands and train them back towards my own head sometimes. 2020 has us all out of routine, out of shape, and a little unhinged.

But open churches offer hope to open hearts and we gather again on Sundays to feast on life-giving truth. My pastor-husband preaches about Jesus setting his face toward Jerusalem, of his stamina to run his race and his determination to meet his destiny. Feet firmly on the ground, he is self-trained towards obedience—obedience unto death, even death on a cross! And he points out that Jesus' success was not a foregone conclusion. It was as a man that Jesus had to die, as a man that he had to walk the road to get there. I picture him straining towards his purpose, throwing off distractions and tempting prospects of preferred destinations, digging in his heels against the backward pull, digging in his toes as he propels himself forward. Have I yet resisted temptation to the point of sweating blood?

How did Jesus do it? How did he keep going?  It strikes me somewhere deep inside when I consider that he might not have. His preparedness for his race and his follow-through to the end changed everything.

And I wonder—who or what rests its existence or redemption on the hope that I will dig toes into the ground and run my race? 

What depends on it? How might history be swayed this way or that way on the mere detail of me being grounded by the weight of the presence of God and running at the plans God has intended for me?

Without gravity to hold me, there has been no feet on the ground, no ability to exert resistance against the ebbs and flows of societal currents, against the backward pull of my own unrestrained nature. Friction needs weight; resistance needs weight, physics tells me. And I determine not to wait one more day. I dust off the rusty alarm clock, and resolve to rise before my sweet sparrows start chirping for breakfast.

In the morning, I do this one thing right. I set my face towards the rising sun, and the room slowly fills with his presence. As my awareness of God-in-the-room grows, there is a gravitational shift in the atmosphere. My feet touch the ground again, my mind slowly fills with the one main thought of the glory of God, and the other thoughts get in line behind it. I wait, and the weight grows settlingly heavy. Whispered wisdom is heard over the breaking of the dawn, and I get to ask my question: How did you do it?

Words tumble through my pen onto journal pages and I am astounded again at fresh revelation of ancient wisdom. 

Once again, I live and move and have my being in the essential atmosphere of the presence of God. His presence centres me—grounds me—and I’m ready to learn how to run my race as he did. 

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