• Jennie Root • July 7, 2020
I have taken up jogging.
I am not a “jogger” by any means. It is the hardest form of exercise that I do. I cannot seem to find the right cadence in stride or breathing to go for any decent distance. But, I do my best. I jog and walk to a starting goal of three miles.
I am not one who can simply exercise. I will not workout with other people because I get laser focused on the goal—and, I am there to reach that goal; I have nothing else in my sights. In contrast, my sister is a person who socializes and hopes that she gets some cardio in while doing it. Not me. Eye on the prize…Eye on the prize. She and I always like to joke about that difference.
Too, though I have spent the majority of my adult life thinking that I am an artist brain-wise and a total free spirit, I am mainly very analytical and prefer rules and structure.
In addition to all of that, I am someone who LOVES justice. An injustice is my greatest bane. It eats at me. It drives me. It stirs a passion in me that can be scary if you are on the other end of that driving force. I become the world’s most tenacious human.
So, keeping all of that in mind…I was at the track yesterday morning going for my three mile “wog”.
I was ready.
I had already figured out that my previous belief that the outside lane would give me a quarter mile at lap one was incorrect; the one lap/quarter mile lane was a little off center from the middle. So, I had my lane chosen (it is actually one of the lines of the middle lane. So, in all actuality, I had chosen my line).
The sun was hot. I started around 10:30 am, which was one hour or two later than I had liked, but I was telling myself that I was going to get a nice tan on my face. So, I was making do.
Two teenagers were at the track as well. One was a girl who had long toned legs. I made quick note that she could run and nothing on her body jiggled. The boy was tall and lanky with most of his bones showing. They were, clearly, committed runners.
A woman and a small girl sat on the steps to the bleachers off to the side watching them run around the track.
The two teenagers were running on the two inside lanes; all was going to be well with my jog. So, I commenced my run…on my line.
Not long after being there, an older couple showed up. My first impression was that they were the teenager’s grandparents. Now, I am not so sure. Then, by the time that I was about a mile into my run one more teenager was on the track, two more grandparent-types were there and a couple in their late forties with their cocker poodle. They very clearly all knew one another and had unofficially scheduled this little meeting at the track.
I didn’t recognize any of them and presumed that they were tourists staying in a local cabin or one of the hotels. I couldn’t imagine that they would visit the track if they were just in town for the day. Right?
And, that is when the trouble started. They clearly-not-so-clearly wanted my line.
How do I know that? Well…let me lay it out for you.
So, the first older fella that I thought was a grandfather…well, he may have been either a very involved grandpa or a 70’s-ish coach. I couldn’t tell. He wore a whistle. He retrieved three hurdles and placed them in my lane. I scooted over to the next lane, towards the outside. My quarter mile was now going to be a quarter mile plus some. So, I was now going to have to reference my GPS to know when I had reached three miles instead of simply counting my laps. Small inconvenience, but I could flex.
The three teenagers now had the inside four lanes.
No one was using the hurdles. Duly noted.
Then—this is when my adrenaline started to kick in—the group of people stood ON the track fully filling the area of the track not being ran on by the three teenagers. They were fully blocking my lane and the remainder lanes.
So, if you are familiar with our track, they stood crossing the track in the area that is the “finish line”, normally. There is a gate there. They stood in the gate and interspersed themselves across the area of track there. And, the old guy with the whistle planted himself firmly in my new lane.
Okay, so, with all that I had observed, I knew that these folks with the committed teenage runners had to know track etiquette—and this was not it!
It was evident that, instead of asking me to make more room or asking me how long I had intended to be there…or just waiting until I was done, they intended to push me off of the track in the most passive-aggressive way. My injustice beacon was going off hot and heavy and my heart started to race (more than typical for a non-runner wogging her way around the track carrying 30 extra pounds).
I was ticked.
So, being a bit ornery and a lover of justice, I just wouldn’t move out of my lane! I came so close to taking grandpa out I was sure that he could smell my pits and I did feel a bit sorry for that, but in the end he had asked for it.
I completed another lap and grandpa-whistle-guy was back in my lane, but this time he made sure to move a bit sooner than last time.
Then, in greater audacity, the forty-ish woman with the dog starts to walk her dog in my lane and will not move. So, I nearly take her out too. She barked something at me, but it was all good because I was blaring Kanye West’s Jesus is King in my earbuds and didn’t hear what it was that she actually said; I did see the face that she made and I was mildly satisfied. I started to think about the fact that I was pretty sure there was a “no dogs” rule that she was breaking.
It seemed to become a bit of entertainment for the group with those on the sidelines watching to see how close we would all come to a tragic collision. I began to wish that I could run without the fat on my legs heading in the opposite direction as my body and that my breathing was a bit more inconspicuous. Well…actually…I am always wishing that—BUT—more so now.
I completed no less than four full laps of this going on. So, that is four or more moments of interaction between me and this group of people. I wasn’t budging and they just were not getting it.
Finally, the second grandpa-ish person, who has been standing on the side line the whole time, gestures to one of people in my lane to move. I cannot hear him because I am now jamming to Post Malone, as I am feeling less like I should be listening to Jesus is King; but I see his gesture and the quick response from the person in my lane.
I shot him a smile.
Then, I started to feel guilty.
Ughhh…why did he have to be nice? Now, I felt less empowered to mow someone down.
And, then God started to tug at my heart.
I needed to just let this go. Some people are mean. Some people are obtuse. Some people are entitled. But, some people are not me. And, God wanted me to focus on me. God had wanted me to focus on me for some time now, actually. He had been working on me for at least a week on this very subject. He had a lesson in this for me.
See, back to the sister versus sister scenario: my sister would have taken this as an opportunity to abandon her jog to socialize. She would have stopped and talked. By the end of her (non) workout she would have known where they were from, why they were at the track, who was related to who, how long they had owned their dog, known everyone by name and scheduled a time to meet up with the ladies later that day.
But that is not me. And, that is okay.
In contrast, I noticed that whistle-guy was very fit for his age—as was his wife—and he dressed like a man half his age. His posture was very good and his wife didn’t have the figure of a post-menopausal woman. I was impressed that he carried four hurdles across the field in one trip. His wife was wearing cotton long sleeves and jeans on a day when it was 80 degrees out and that perplexed me. What was she covering up? The forty-ish lady was wearing a cute light weight sundress that showed no cellulite through it, whereas she did have some on her calves. Aspects of her body made her feel insecure, hence the light weight, but long sleeved, cardigan she was wearing over a sundress that should have been worn alone; She had a cute figure and should have been owning it. The lady who was first at the track seemed to be an outsider within this group. Clearly they all knew one another, but she didn’t quite act like she belonged. The other grandpa-ish fella who became my ally was dressed very trendy, as well. I liked his silver hair and he had a kind face. He was with the group, but not of the group. The forty-ish woman and her husband must have gotten into a fight before they arrived because they seemed cold upon arriving and the woman and–who appeared to be her mom–quickly walked off to talk. Forty-ish woman seemed in a bad mood and ready to walk her dog in my lane no matter how accommodating I had been.
I could go on, but for the sake of time, I will trust that you get my point—I am very VERY observant. I am taking it all in, but I prefer to not be the “social butterfly”; that is NOT my thing.
If you don’t get the point that I am making, here it is:
We all have things that make us unique and special. Some are called to be social and peace-makers and some are not. I am super intuitive. I see and recognize small details. I remember events based on smells and small details that I caught and felt. I see micro-expressions in people and can typically intuit their thoughts or feelings or motives. This can be a real hindrance at times, like my day at the track. Sometimes I wish that I couldn’t feel everything that I do. And, if those motives or intentions are not good…well, then I can be set up for trouble because I am not always good at letting that go.
And, God does not want my heart to be troubled.
I am not someone who is tripped up by gossip, or lying, or adultery (we all know one fella is handful enough for me), pornography, substance abuse, or all sort of other things. But, my sassy ornery nature that loves to stand up to injustice or stand up for the underdog can really get me in heaps of trouble when not restrained by the nature of God.
I think that is an easy concept to get, right?
But, this is what I want you to take away from this:
This is exactly how God designed me and knit me to be. This personality that can really trip me up also makes me a warrior. I am loyal. I can carry burdens that others couldn’t carry. I am willing to walk with you and fight your battles with you in times that other people would have abandoned you and fled. I can stand when others would cower.
I am always toying with the thought of going back to college and getting my J.D. (become an attorney), but I know that I could only defend a client that I knew was innocent; I just could not defend someone who wasn’t or that I doubted. BUT–If I believed that you were innocent, I would be a force to be reckoned with.
God designed me for a purpose in the body of Christ. I am needed. You are needed. You don’t need to become like anyone else to serve your purpose in the body of Christ.
But, in devil-like manner, he [the devil] is always trying to counterfeit or taint what God created in you for His purpose.
There are times in life when you have to tell people to stay out of your lane and then there are times in life when you just have to move off of the track. Knowing the difference is where the mastery comes in.
The only way to know which scenario is which and to know when to act and when to protect your spirit is to meditate on God’s Word and God’s nature and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, change you, and guide you.
I offer you the following scriptures:
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24 NKJV
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Like mow people down on your morning run) Galatians 5:16-17 NKLV
You were perfectly designed by your creator. I pray that you love all of the qualities about yourself and if you struggle with one aspect of yourself or another, that you submit those qualities to the Lord so that his will shall be done through you in those areas. You do not have to change or remove what makes you YOU. You have to come before the Lord and place them into submission with the Holy Spirit’s help so that they honor the Lord and bring you peace, joy and satisfaction.
I will end on this: Know that you are loved just as you are. I am on your side—but, please, stay out of my lane when I am wogging.