Though quarantine has been an abnormal reality for most of us, there have been a few things that I have learned in the midst of isolation—one of them being how much I’ve missed running outside!
Without my normal gym open (miss you Orange theory Fitness!) and the weather mainly consisting of sunny days (thank you Jesus!), my outdoor running game has really come to play.
These days, my workout has been run outside, and I forgot how freeing and therapeutic an outside run is.
If you are a runner, you know that it takes mental strength to keep going, and it is better to focus on other things than the actual act of running.
Often times, I will pray or just remain in thankful awe at how beautiful creation is.
I open my ears to what the Lord may be saying to me in that moment.
There are so many times I hear the Lord or experience His Holy Spirit in my runs.
At one point, this was a foreign concept to me. Growing up through my middle school years, I wanted so badly to experience the actual voice of the Lord talking to me.
In 8th grade when I finally did experience Jesus in a way I never had before, I did a couple of specific steps that I believe led to that encounter.
I continue to practice and develop these few things to continue to see/hear Jesus around me everyday.
Whether it be on my runs, while I read/write, driving, at work, etc., I think that are specific ways to ensure that we are focusing on how Jesus is trying to speak to us.
This is something I want to share in case you are like me in 8th grade at summer camp that prayed fervently to experience Jesus.
This may be a foreign concept to you right now like it was for me, but putting to practice a couple of things might allow your whole reality of the Lord to change as He wants to speak to you as much as we are able to pray to Him.
- Pray and the Lord will give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4). This was exactly my first step. I wanted to hear the Lord’s voice so badly. I wanted to experience His greatness and His magnitude tangibly and with real words. This desire stirred, and I prayed. With my prayers, I learned that I had to listen.
- Listen. What are tangible ways we can experience the Holy Spirit here on Earth? By listening and focusing on Him and the tangible ways He can reach us. In high school, I would sometimes turn on the radio to a Christian music station, and just rest in anticipation for the next song that the Lord was going to use to teach me or tell me something. Sometimes we need to just rest, wait, and listen for the Spirit to appear around us.
- Find a way to UNPLUG. This is hard in the everyday. We are busy humans that tend to focus on getting the next task on our to-do list done. That is why I enjoy running. It is a way to unplug from the busyness. It’s just me and nature waiting for what the Lord wants to say to me that day. The first time I experienced the Lord was at a camp away from the chaos, technology, and life stresses. It’s easier to listen to Him when we have less distractions. Try to do something everyday that allows you to sit, pray, and listen to the Lord.
- Focus on the Lord and His works versus your own works. When you can’t unplug or have time to have zero distractions, there are still ways the Lord may be speaking to you. Throughout the day, I try to have a eternal perspective of things. Each day is a gift, and each day is another day that the Lord wants you to be His hands and feet. He has you here for a reason, and if our focus is shifted on how He wants to use us, rather than on what WE want to use the day for, we just may stumble on the Holy Spirit leading us to God and revealing our elevated, eternal purpose here on Earth.
These things take active practice, but experiencing and hearing the Lord changes us for the better. I struggle with continuing to practice these, but practice makes perfect. Though I’ll never be perfect, I can try my best.
At the root of the type of God we serve is a God that desires a relationship. Just with any relationships, it is two sided. As much as we cherish praying and talking to God, He enjoys and desires it right back. It isn’t as easy as calling a friend to hear their voice, but He honors and delights in our efforts to hear and experience Him.
Practice listening and focusing on who He is, and it might surprise and completely change your relationship with Jesus.
These things worked for me! How have you experienced Jesus or heard His voice?!
I pray the Holy Spirit blesses each of you even if it is a foreign concept to you at this time.