I’m a runner. Hot pink running shoes and neon green socks included. I’m one of those crazy people who run in rain, wind, hail and then won’t stop talking about it. An easy run is 3 miles, and 6 miles sounds fun.

Running is my release. If I can’t work through an essay, a quick run will jumble all my thoughts together until a cohesive story tumbles out.

The rhythm soothes me.

Step, step, breathe. Step, step, breathe. Step, step, breathe.

I defined myself as a runner. But I can’t run right now. Does that mean I’m not a runner anymore?

Six months ago a nasty concussion during my third week of training for a half-marathon derailed running and a lot of other things in my life. Every day meant headaches and an overwhelming tiredness that no amount of sleep or cups of coffee could remedy.

I couldn’t do much except lie in bed. Everything by which I defined myself was stripped away. I could no longer be a leader on campus. Being a student was dubious since I considered showing up to class and attempting the homework a success. I was a church member who couldn’t sit through a service before abandoning the sermon for a pillow and ice.  I didn’t see friends who didn’t live in my dorm because I rarely left my dark room.

The concussion took away my self-made identities but nothing can change my identity as a child of God. Because I did nothing to gain my identity in Christ, nothing I do or do not do will change that. My identity in Christ is built on the eternal truths that Jesus became a man to die on a cross, accomplishing salvation, redemption and justification for repentant sinners. Then He adopted me as His child. As all my other identities fell away I clung to this truth.

I’m living at home now and going to Corban. I’m trying to obey doctor’s orders to sleep, rest, and exercise. Instead of running, I’m learning how to walk. I put on the green neon socks because they are the warmest and lace up the hot pink running shoes. I still don’t let the weather define my walks. Sometimes I’m the only one in my neighborhood bracing against the wind. Other times I’m racing the grandpa in the olive green sweater vest and his dog twenty yards ahead of me.

And I guess I’m learning to stop and smell the roses. Or more accurately this past warm February, I walk and watch as small green shoots decorate the moist dirt. I walk and see purple crocus popping up in my neighbors yard. I watch the daffodils unveil, shedding the thin wrapper to extend their cheery faces. I stop and put my nose six inches from the ground to smell the sweet hyacinth.

Maybe my spiritual life looks like this. In the bleak winter of my soul I’m learning to stop and listen and watch the small but mighty truths grow.  A family friend at church assured me, “God is using this. A year from now I want to ask you what you learned.”

I know that is true but I don’t know what God is trying to teach me. But I’ll keep walking in faith, knowing that spring and summer will come and these small truths, in time and definitely in eternity, will bloom reflecting the glory of the Creator.