Keep My Running Shoes On
By Nichole Huggins
I love to walk around my house barefoot. I like the feeling of soft carpet on my toes and feel more “at home” without the restriction of wearing shoes. But more and more it seems that I forgo this comfort for the functionality of keeping my running shoes on.
You see, our home is different than many people’s homes. Because our son has autism, our home is louder; he is always singing, making noises, or quoting movies (in the world of autism it’s called “scripting”). Our house is in interesting order; you will find trains lined up on the kitchen table and strategically placed books open to strategically chosen pages. Currently our back door is always open. Our son loves to run outside and play, but it is also his current belief that the back door should remain open at all times—even if he is playing in a different part of the house. Living in this world of autism has caused our home to be a sometimes chaotic, but always beautiful haven for our family. And for now, living in the world of autism has caused me to keep my running shoes on.
For many, running and autism go hand in hand. People who are “on the spectrum” are often runners. Our kiddo is no exception to this pattern. Although he frequently overcomes his urge to run, our son’s current impulsivity requires me to jump up and move quickly at any moment. I have to be ready, so I keep my running shoes on.
I love how the Lord uses my son’s autism to gently sharpen me in my personal relationship with Him. The Lord has recently reminded me that just as I have to keep my running shoes on, the same applies in my walk with the Lord. I need to keep my spiritual running shoes on.
In 1 Peter 3:15, the Bible reminds us to sanctify our hearts and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” We need to keep our spiritual running shoes on! It is easy for us to slip our shoes off and run our toes through the carpet of comfortability in life, but that is not the calling of Christians. Life was never meant to be about our comfort, but rather exalting our Creator.
It’s my prayer that people around me will be able to see that my hope is in Christ. May I be quick to help and show love to others. May I be a reflection of Christ in all that I say and do. I pray that I am sharp and “ready to run” this great race called life. Sometimes it’s easy to let our spiritual shoelaces come untied. We become comfortable Christians, and it’s easy for us to get tripped up. I am thankful the Lord can use my precious son to remind me that I need to lace up my spiritual running shoes and be prepared for this sometimes chaotic, but always beautiful life. So, what condition are your running shoes in?
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)— “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”
Intersecting Faith & Life: As you think of needing to be ready to respond at any moment, whether to a crisis or an opportunity to share your faith, that means being prepared spiritually, spending time with God so that reflecting His love comes naturally. Whether it’s explaining to the guy in the grocery line behind you why you helped cover the cost of the single mom’s bill in front of you, or showing patience and love to that same single mom when you are in a hurry yourself, these things don’t come naturally. Share with God the areas where you find it hard be ready and ask Him to equip you. Then rest in His constant presence, knowing that His Spirit living in you is always at the ready.
2 Timothy 4:2
1 Peter 5:8
1 Corinthians 9:24
Nichole Huggins is a wife and mother of two. As the parent of a special needs child, Nichole willingly discloses the trials, triumphs, and life lessons of having a child with autism. She is a contributor to Joni and Friends’ IrresistibleChurch.org online community, from which this piece was taken, and writes at www.LoveinaDifferentLanguage.com where she offers insight and hope as she shares about parenting, autism, and the faith that holds it together.