I am training for a half marathon and a few week-ends ago I had to do my long run by myself. As usually happens when I am not meeting my running crew early, I piddled around and got started late. The sun was shining and it was hot! I drank water along the way, but by the time I had finished 11 miles, I was pretty dry. As the day went on I could tell my body needed fluids because I was taking in loads of water and gatorade and peeing very little. I could almost feel the water going into my cells and vessels, filling back up what I had lost!
I never was a big water drinker until I started running 10 years ago. I had been a Diet Pepsi Girl, but as I started logging longer and longer runs, I began to see food and drink as fuel and turned to water. The thing about drinking water is that the more you drink, the more your body starts to crave it. And in order to be ready for the next tough workout, I have to drink constantly, not just when I am thirsty.
So that week-end, while I was feeling dehydrated from my run, I was also feeling parched spiritually. Some things had happened that left me dealing with anger and despair. And I don’t like feeling that way! I have always had the idea that as a Christian I would someday reach a sort of Nirvana where after all the years of seeking God I would be on such a high spiritual plane that I would never get my feelings hurt, or get mad or frustrated or feel left out or discouraged. If I got really close to God I would be above such petty human emotions. Well, I was definitely not on that spiritual plane that week-end! I was feeling all of the above and spent a lot of time praying and talking to God about it.
In my pre-running days, I didn’t know I needed as much water as I do. Now my body practically screams for it! The same can be said for my spiritual life – when I was younger and just scratching the surface of what being a Christian meant, I didn’t see how everything and everyone in my life needed to be covered in prayer. Now, the more I pray, the more I realize how much I need to pray! I’m seeing that I am never going to reach a place where life doesn’t touch me, nor do I want to. Jesus felt anger and grief and fear, and turned to God to help Him through – how much more do I need that guidance! And just like with drinking water, I have to keep a steady prayer stream going.
As always, God came through for me during my difficult time and allowed me to see things from a broader viewpoint, calmed me down and helped me keep my mouth shut! And the situation improved. Maybe, just maybe, I am learning to handle my feelings better and learning to pray before I lash out, or gossip or give up. Not always, but sometimes. But that is never going to happen unless I am keeping my soul filled with the Living Water.