“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalms 121:1, 2
This essay is part of our summer series called “Running for His glory,” focusing on the intersection between running and faith. I met Shannon through the Hopewriters online writing community. In this reflection, she shares about how running is a kind of therapy for her. Trail running helps her release her burdens and connect with God. She’s a glory chaser too!
By Shannon Rattai
As I stand at the base of the trail, shoes laced up, determination in my gaze, I stare at my “mountain.”
It’s not the trail before me, winding up and up over the foothills. It’s not the next path that leads me higher into the forest that I’ve come to love.
It’s the mountain that is burdening my spirit. It’s the weight on my shoulders. The heaviness that has infected my heart, mind, and body.
It’s in our human nature to want to run. Maybe not in a marathon, or around the block, but to run away from what burdens us beyond what we can bear. Our thoughts tell us: this is too much or I can’t take anymore, or I can’t deal with this any longer.” My personal favorite is that question: why me?.
These thoughts are constant disrupters, adding to the noise of my busy life.
God calls me to be still. He calls me to listen for His voice. He calls me to seek Him and His help. He is the mover of mountains. I need to seek and ask.
The higher I climb, my anger, frustration, and cries of desperation reach their depths. I push myself further and faster. I’m trying to outrun my problems, but they don’t want to leave. They cling to me like the number I pinned to my shirt in a race. They try to define me and remind me of the hopelessness I feel.
As I run over the trails, I purposely release my anxiety and cares. With each pound of my feet, I lay the burdens at His feet. I breathe in His goodness as He ministers to my weary soul. The whisper of the wind on my face, the gentle bubbling of the brook, the soft melody of the songbird all reminds me He is there. He is all around me. He has never left me alone. I don’t need to fear or do this on my own.
Running for me is therapy. A way to work out frustrations, to sweat away my anxiety and despair. A way to literally run away.
But, it’s so much more than that too. It’s a place where I meet my Saviour, my Friend,here peace is spoken to my spirit. I find clarity when I run. And the view is pretty spectacular as well!
As I reach the crest of the foothill, the sun is coming over the horizon. The truth seeps into my heart like a healing balm. My help comes from the Lord. He made the heavens and the earth. My problems are not too big for Him to handle. He’s got this…and He’s got me.
Whatever troubles you are facing today, my prayer is that you find this same peace. Slip on your running shoes, go out into nature, and run towards God. He is waiting for you.
Shannon Rattai started running later in life. The lure of nature and exploring creation has led her on many adventures in running. She loves to run with her son. While numbers occupy most of her day, she loves to read, write and point others to the amazing peace she has found. Shannon can be reached on Facebook at Shannon Rattai or on Instagram as @shannonrattai.
*Are you a runner or enthusiastic walker? Dorina and her husband Shawn recently started the Glory Chasers running group on Facebook. They offer up courage, coaching, and community for Christian runners. If you’re a runner or know one, join us!
Read more articles in the “Running for His glory” series:
-In “When God brings you full circle,” Dorina describes how sometimes we have to return to particular places, relationships or memories in order to measure just how far we’ve come. She learned this on a trail race she ran a few times in different seasons of life.
-In “How running found me,” Danielle E. Morgan shares her story about how running found her as a young adult and has shaped her health, her mothering, and who she is in Christ today.
-In “Battling negative self-talk,” Kristy Wallace runs us through how she reframes her internal dialogue using scripture. She runs and meditates on specific passages throughout the week.
-In “How running provided healing during mental illness,” Abigail Alleman shares her personal story of how running provided an avenue for her to continue healing during dark seasons.
-In “Discovering running as soul care,” Erin Reibel talks about how she grew into loving running as a busy mama. She consider it an important soul care practice.
-In “How I started running for all the wrong reasons,” Gloryanna Boge shares about how she started out running for all the wrong reasons, but God redeemed it for her.
-In “Run the hill,” Mark W. Jackson unfolds how running hills has helped him learn perseverance through life’s trials.
-In “Finding God’s sanctuary on the trail,” Allison Tucker shares about how God meets her on the trail. I love that she is a grandma who still ventures out into God’s sanctuary in Creation!
-In “Learning to breathe at higher altitudes,” Dorina Gilmore talks about how God breathes life into us, and we live on borrowed breaths as we run life’s path today.
-In “How one mother trusts God’s timing,” Lindsey Zarob shares about how pregnancies took a toll on her body. She had to press the pause button on running for a season, but God brought it back around for her in a new place and new way.