When it Feels Like You are Missing Your Life

January 16, 2014




IF:Gathering  is weeks away. I lay awake heart racing many nights picturing what could happen. What could happen if we came together in unity, laid down the things hindering us and ran our races together for the name of God in our generation?

I believe that together, by unleashing our God-given gifts we can be tools God uses to bring about His restoration.

Many years ago I wrote these words. I think in analogy. Trees and Batman and Ships and Cake and I can’t help it. Ugh- I hate cheesy anything. But honestly sometimes explaining, relating to God is difficult and this just helps my simple mind.

I thought before we gather in February it helps to know where you begin. Where are you in this story?

From Restless

A Parable

When I met Christ, he set me on a track, and I began running a race with fervor, surrounded by people cheering. I felt motivated, purposeful, full of joy. My eyes weren’t distracted. Jesus was in full focus, and the point of this race felt clear. But as I ran, I noticed more and more people tangled up in the weeds, to my left and right. Some of them had stopped running, distracted by something, and some of them had stopped because they were in pain.

I kept running, but I began to feel lonely. So I began to ask myself questions that were once clear to me: Why am I running again?

Then I tripped. I was hurt.

Now I was the one on the side of the road. I was tired and in pain. It felt good to stop running. I pulled myself close to some other hurt runners. We told stories and jokes, and eventually we were comfortable together. As if there weren’t even a race—as if we weren’t even hurt.

Every once in a while a runner called to me, “Come on, Jennie! Come back and run with us!” But no one ever stopped to really help me. They just ran by. As time passed, I picked up some entertaining hobbies on the side of the road. The hobbies temporarily motivated me and made me feel a little fulfilled again. My injured ankle never fully healed, but I quit thinking about it—it did not hurt quite as badly as it used to. And before long, we discovered great entertain- ment in critiquing the remaining runners—their shorts, hair, pace, attitude.

Until one day a small pack of runners turned off the road and headed toward me. I wished they would go away. But they didn’t. I remembered passing them back when I was running; they had been on the side of the road with injuries, all tangled up. They ran right up to me and sat down.

One of them handed me water and another one had medical supplies. They asked me a question:

“Do you need help?”

For some reason I said yes, and before I finished uttering the word they were wrapping my ankle, giving me food and water, and talking to me about the race again—about how much I had missed, how much they needed me. “We want you to run the rest of the way with us. It is really getting exciting, and we don’t have much farther.”

Something dead inside me woke up. A fire relit itself in my chest. My ankle still hurt, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to reck- lessly run with all my heart again, because they reminded me of the reason that we run.

I am running to bring glory to my Father God, who gave me a purpose and a hope when I was unworthy, on the side of the road, broken. Now our little misfit team stops for every runner we see on the side of the road. We stop and offer them the same healing and hope that was offered to us. I sense God’s pleasure as we run and as we stop for those who have fallen off to the side.


Something in me physically craves the last part of that story. I crave freedom to run. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). You were running a good race. Who cut in on you? Where did you get off track?

 Where are you? 

Numb or Distracted on the side of the road? 

Ready to Run?

Running your guts out?

Helping others run?

Share it with us.


18 Responses to “When it Feels Like You are Missing Your Life”

  1. Came to your blog from Emily Freeman’s. I just wanted to say think you for this post. It speaks to me so deeply!! For years I have struggled, put myself and my wants first. Boy, have I surely stepped off the path completely at times! I’m talking not even on the side of the road, took a complete wrong turn and got lost. But God, so gracious that he is, has gently guided me back time and time again. And this time? I have a desire to run this race like never before! Something has happened, I’m not sure what? But I’m ready! By the way, can’t wait to read your book!

  2. thank you jennie for your words that make sense of how I’m feeling inside. thanks to you + jen this weekend making me sping back up AWAKE. I had fallen asleep, grown weary, and had been the person on the side of the road. but I am awake now, i’m starting to run again and hopefully starting to help others run again too.

  3. Running like crazy but have realized I’m running the wrong path with the wrong people. I continuously trip over the same root and can’t seem to catch up! I’m taking a new path…one I can focus on a little better! I’ve began to notice others on this path that I can set a pace by. People God has placed on my path to run with and not in competition with.

  4. I am lifeless. Please pray for the Father to draw me to Jesus. He has for years and I rejected and now I feel a physical resistance toward Him. Please pray for new desires and thoughts and love of good and the gospel.

  5. What a fantastic parable! Your writing spoke to me in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Jennie. I want to be in a place of helping others run, but sometimes I get stuck on the side of the road. I have to keep remembering God’s promises and all that Christ has freed us from.

  6. This resignates SO DEEPLY with me. Thank you for speaking up and sharing. This is getting me going again – up from the side of the road to running again.

  7. I fall in to the “numb or distracted on the side of the road” category.

    For so long, I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself, my dreams, my desires, my, my, my. My happiness. I’ve been trying to make a pretty little life for myself. When all along, God’s been trying to wreck it. But I’ve been resistant, and that’s where I’m at now; resistant and trying to decide if true surrender is worth it, and how is it achievable.

  8. Beth Gress

    My whole life has been stops and starts. Childhood trauma…death of a child…now, a chronic illness. When I look at my “accomplishments” in life for Christ, there are few notable ones. Now I am beginning to understand this “race” we run is not just about “doing” but about perseverance. Have I persevered in the face of adversity? Will faith be found in me on that day? Will I let go of the lies that build fear and choose Him? This is my race. It is my hope that this perseverance is my witness.

  9. Michelle

    What an encouragement this morning as I fight the tension of my Spirit & the flesh to be reminded that I am not alone in this fight. Jesus has already won it for us and He has given us a great cloud of witnesses to run alongside of us!

    I feel like I have been slowly getting back into the race. I have experienced the pain but feel stuck to push past the pain. The Spirit has awakened my heart & has graciously continued to perservere, fight for and run the race with me. I am strengthened by His Spirit, lifted up when I fall down and led to run the race He has already set before me and won for me. I need not to be perfect, in the best “shape” or have the best strategy. I can rest & rejoice in knowing that Jesus has already overcome the race for me and He will fight with me until the end! (John 16:33, Hebrews 12:1-2) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

  10. I know I find myself on the sidelines ready to run. The funny part is that I thought I was in the race but I think I was stuck on the treadmill. 🙂 God has been slowly wrecking my heart in the last year, showing and teaching me what it means to truly love people as he loved them. Teaching me what true servanthood is. Between you and Jen Hatmaker I feel like a basket case most days as God sorts out his plans for me and how they fit into his bigger picture. I hope to join up at one of the If:gatherings happening close to me. Praying for you and your team as you prepare. God is on the move, I can feel it. It’s like a ground swell, building and building. Excited to be a part. ~Victoria


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