What Are You Running From? {And Gratitude Journal}

I soar down the wooded trail, sand, wet dirt and gravel beneath rubber-shod feet, leaves barely canopying green above me and I wipe skin-itching rain from my cheek, and see water gun-slinging outward from arms in motion at my side and I’m amazed that this is me beating the dirt and gravel in the ground and this is my sweat, rain, hard-won tears and blood running together, being flung off. I smell her–earth, all fresh and alive, just the way she was made to be.

She had asked it, my friend who knows me better than she should, “What are you running FROM, Nacole?”

Why do I run along the trails and the hills, struggling for air? To. just. breathe?

I throw myself against the elements–run the entire four and a half miles in the pouring rain, leap over protruding roots that stand in my way, daring me to try them, and when I sail past, my heart swells and I smile on the inside–what is that all about? Why does this adrenaline surge beckon to me?

What am I running from?

Fear.

Fear of  not being good enough, not measuring up, fear of sinking back into that dark black hole of depression, the depths from which I’m afraid no one will be able to pull me.

Fear of being fat because old habits die hard, and yes, I’m running from the fear self-loathing brings, from the fear of feeling like a failure and from defeat, from just barely being able to make it through the dailies, from not being able to hold onto relationships dear to me and seeing them slip through my fingertips like all this sand.

I’m running from the fear that I’m different, that I’m the only me, and there is no manual–no one left instructions on how to be me–and I wonder if I’ll do it all wrong, that I’ll lie on my deathbed wishing it’d all been different and I could go back. And what I know now is that then I won’t be able to and I only get one chance to not screw it up.

Yes, running from the fear of my genes, what’s in the DNA that I can’t control–this fragile, passionate nature easily provoked, this timid yet fiercely loving heart, this hippy free spirit with the inability to follow a clock, this illness that has gripped–my father said my grandmother had all that too.

And I run from the fear of the religious types who try to wrestle me into a box. Just like they tried to wrestle Jesus into a box, but he wasn’t having it. He knew His purpose. I think I’m finally finding mine.

I pant harder and my quads kick into high gear as I run-climb the monstrous grainy hill on my toes. The rain pounds my face, and I lean into it, thrust myself forward, grimace and climb and work through the pain. Quads pulling, exerting, muscles flexing, toe, toe, toe, on my toes as earth and gravel rolls and groans underneath.

This is me saying to the pelting rain, you’ll not bend and break my bow today–I’ll fight with my last breath and I rather enjoy the feel of you on my face, because God has ushered you forth and destined you to take your best shot. So take it. Because in the midst of the relentless, beating storm when I’m weakest, He will cause His spirit in me to rise up strong and conquer you.

Fear.

And I figured out that, yes, I may be running from something, but more than that–I’m running toward something. Maybe He knew it would be that way all along.

What am I running toward? Not the Jesus inside the box, the one they fancy dress all up.

No, I’m running toward the real one, the Jesus outside the box.

…singing this over and over…Come away with Him, worship with me and let your spirit be refreshed… this is the whole album live…listen to the first song or just leave
it on play while you write or clean house… ~smile~

Do you struggle with fear? Have things you run from? How does God heal you, console you, shephard you? I’d love for you to share your answers and thoughts on the story below, friends…

Some of my gratitude gifts from the past few weeks from my journal and through my lens….#844-883…


3 gifts found around a table…
#844 garden-fresh organic squash and corn brought by a kind neighbor
#845 fresh vegetable garden casserole with olive oil and parmesan
#846 my sweet children telling stories

a gift in water, in words, in white…

#847 me surprising the girls by throwing clothes off and running and sliding down the slide into their little cool pool with them and their giggles of delight
#848 when he bent over my bedside in still-dark morning and sighed, his cologne and sweet breath filling my senses, whispered sweet words in my ear
#849 kitty’s white underbelly and paws as the girls hold her and little one carries her around the house, dainty hind legs dangling close to the ground…

gifts in someone older than you…
#850 my Granny keeping my babies so I can run…
#851 still thinking of the words of a sweet 87 year old man

3 gifts in fabric…
#853 an old blanket spread under shade tree, a hallowed place the kids and I make joy together…
#854 fresh sheets on beds
#855 the fabric of our lives, how God weaves sorrow to know joy, doubt to know faith, sin to know grace, lonliness to know friendship, darkness and depression to know and appreciate this moment of beauty and God-breathed life with those I love…

#856 Ivy smiling at me so sweet from the water when she sees me walk in, runs to me–Mama!

3 gifts framed by a frame…
#858 my Lilly, her small frame filling the four corners of my lens, baby innocence on her face outshining the waves and sun…
#859 my man looking good in the surf, throwing football with Kurt
#860 pictures Husband takes of me lying on the beach in the waves washing ashore, playing with my babies, pictures of me and a dear friend


gifts eaten…
#862 bread and juice–communion taken with friends in their home, swallowing down the word, my children learning this rich salvation

#863 Veggie-tofu pizza at Mellow Mushroom–our first visit, and organic chocolate almonds offered to me…

3 gifts loved…
#864 time spent with good friends, like family to us, our spirits being awakened and renewed by being with them…

#865 the medicine of laughter…

#866 watching my children play in the sand and waves, drinking it all in…these moments given

 3 gifts read…
#867 Spirit Wars by Kris Vallotton…completely set me free…
#868 Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally Clarkson
#869 a sweet picture made for me by Ivy, and the words that made my heart warm “Mama, you are a queen”

At the Museum of Naval Aviation
    A gift in faith, family, freedom… 
#870 friends praying for my healing–their practical care for my spiritual well-being
#871 my parents meeting us in Destin
#872 new freedom to walk in joy and approval from God–not worrying about approval from man!
A gift in red, white, blue…
#873 red, white and blue stripes the girls painted on cans, candles twinkling inside
#874 4th of July rockets the girls and I made together
#875 American flag–still love it and am so grateful for all the men and women who have given their lives

A gift of persistence…

#876 A friend staying up with me until 2 am, me pouring out, us praying…going to bed physically tired but spiritually refreshed…

A gift of challenge, conflict, change…
#877 the whole family learning to eat vegan and loving it–the energy, sleep, and vitality of mind it has given me!

#878 relationships and unresolved hurt–only God knows the purpose…hard eucharisteo…

#879 a new path for us seeming to carve its way out before us…who knows what He has in store…only God…

A gift of rhythm, rhyme, reason…
#880 learning to have a better bed-time routine, warm bath, lavendar, getting in bed earlier…learning safe rhythms for us all…

#881 my daughters’ gift for writing poems and plays and their stellar performances in their bedroom…a family thoroughly enjoying one another in simple ways…

#882 not knowing the reasons means that He is God because He does, and I have to trust Him. finding the rest my soul longs for when I lean into Him heavy like a child….

 A gift of Life…
#883 finally. having. my. healing….how to thank Him rightly for this…oh, a thousand praises!!!…I will never stop worshiping…

**Friends, your comments mean so much to me–they soul-drench me in grace and minister to me. And your prayers mean even more. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably making a berry shake or whole-wheat cookies with my girls, cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, reading a good book with my kids in the hammock, playing tag, out running, having a glass of wine with Husband, or lying in a warm bath just trying to breathe, friend! I hope you understand? Thank you in advance for grace. I love this community of grace-filled people! Head here to get to know me better and to read why during this season of life, I am just quietly writing, and not visiting via social media as much….

** Thank you for so, so much grace, friends. My heart cannot express in mere words, my thankfulness. I love all of you.
Still counting and joining in community with sweet Ann and others… and linking with L.L…and others below…click on links to read these amazing sites!



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8 thoughts on “What Are You Running From? {And Gratitude Journal}”

  1. I love seeing your beautiful, sweet smile…yeah!!! Oh, how cool would that have been if we could have been in Destin at the same time:) run…run..not away…but to Him. yes. I usually don’t tell peeps to read my blog…but the quotes and I talk of fear…just might encourage you. So nice to hear and see you…blessings and ((hugs))

  2. I absolutely loved running with you today. 🙂 <3
    Acknowledging that I am indeed running from something… that something usually being fear. And seeing with you that we are indeed running TOWARD CHRIST in spite of all our running away…..
    It is so beautiful, the gift you have to draw us into your experience and capture it in detail, each moment so tangible, and simultaneously walk us through the conversations you have within your own heart, the conversations you have with God, so honestly, so vulnerably, until we are right at His heart again.
    It was wonderful to hear your heart today, and what God is doing in it.
    Your pictures are gorgeous, as are you! You are more glowing and radiant than ever, and I love to see you so! ❤

  3. I was running with you, friend. And looking for His open arms. I love how He is always there, wherever we turn. Love how you chase Him with all your heart. I agree with Danae- you look radiant. Beautiful.

  4. I think I was running with you, too, my friend! I'm breathless!!!! It took me back to my childhood when I ran everywhere I went. I never walked anywhere. Always running. . . .

    I was amazed with your post today, because it fit right in with Sunday's sermon and a conversation I had afterwards. Two of us argued —- about ME — and what I run from. But like you, my dear, I felt I was running TO something . . . or Someone. We run from our prison cells, run from those who pursue us, run from temptations, run from our weaknesses . . . and when we can't run any further, we run into the arms of Grace and find strength in what He holds there for us. Keep running, Nacole. Keep singing. Keep smiling. And Keep growing in grace. I agree with Alicia — you look radiant and beautiful!

  5. Oh, I know those dark places well. Sometimes there's not much to do but cry. And, after the crying we get up and fight again. The fight looks different for all of us, so thank you for sharing yours with us.

  6. Love this. Visiting form Getting Down with Jesus. I also run (for fun?) and run from demons in my own life. I related to this post on almost every level: from the depression to the running. Thank you for your faithfulness to His words.

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