sharioliverShari Oliver and I have had our paths cross over the years at church events and bible studies. I love her honesty, passion for living a life devoted to God and we share the same excitement for what God is doing in this season of our race together! Shari is pursing her degree in English at the University of Arkansas and lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Derek.

Have you ever been driving down the road, maybe on your way to work, when suddenly you realize you can’t remember the last few miles? It’s like your mind just skipped it.

The way this happens in our brains comes down to how we perceive time. When you’re driving down a familiar stretch of road, your brain isn’t processing very much so the time seems very quick. On the other hand when you’re going somewhere new, time seems to move slower because you are processing more information.

I came, by way of a very steep hill, to recognize this is the same way I have been treating my faith. I have not been processing for a very, very long time.

Over a year ago I experienced a shocking obstacle of faith. Shocking because there was no warning, no event that triggered this sudden void. I just woke up one day aware that I no longer felt any emotional connection to God. I had been driving along not knowing where I had been. It wasn’t like the connection was severed; it was like it had never existed. I still can’t fully explain all of the ups and downs that followed. It doesn’t make sense how I could know God was there, but not FEEL him.

Several months of out-of-character behavior followed. I think I could talk for hours about how I tried to fix it myself. (Not the best idea!) And I can’t really say how the connection to God came back, but somewhere along the line I let go and God took over. There was no way I could climb that hill on my own, but He conquered it for me. He was my strength.

This pause in processing makes me feel miles behind others in spiritual growth. It goes perfectly with my position on running. It sounds fun… well, not really, but I hear there are good benefits. And while others are zooming past I’m still pushing myself to get up and go outside. (Hello it’s COLD out there!)

But truthfully I very much want to catch up.

I fell asleep on the job. I was holding my faith still. I was sitting on the couch, unintentionally ignoring the all-important advice to exercise. That’s how we stay healthy right!?

I’m still being really hard on myself about this. I would find it very hard to keep moving and allowing Him to fix my comatose situation if it wasn’t for remembering His faithfulness on that steep hill.

I didn’t know it at the time, but God had a plan He put in motion at the bottom of that hill. He’s still teaching me how to let go and wait on Him. Wait and trust that someday I will understand. So I will embrace this place where time is moving slower. He is doing new things within me which takes time, just like driving to a new place means paying closer attention.

Jesus says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7 

I am being open to what He has in store… to the task of processing my faith and where I am today. Of, yes, literally, getting up off the couch, which is the first step, and using the gifts he has given me.

Are you using your gifts to help you faithfully take the next step?