.WHAT RACE ARE YOU RUNNING?RUNNING THE RACE OF ADVENTURE

Life is Living

“Why am I doing this?” is a question I ask myself more than once when running a trail race. This is especially the case when I do not feel like being where I am for whatever reasons I conjure up in my mind as I keep stepping in navigating the uncertain trail ahead of me. Taking this question into everyday life we all ask ourselves this question or a similar version of this question at times; especially when we look around and see the storms which bring uncertainty. And then fear starts to drip into our finite bodies. We then soon realise that we either standing on a weak self-made foundation, or on a Rock that keeps us gravitated to take the next step. Read about the Rock here.

292A9684The inaugural 55 km Marloth Mountain Challenge in the Western Cape of South Africa in 2014 was one of those trail races which is still engraved in my mind. Besides a cumulative ascent of around 3500 m over that distance over relentless mountainous single track, this race exposed me to some of the harshest conditions and deepest learnings I encountered on my journey as a trail runner. View this Tale here.

In 2016 we posted a Tale entitled “Living the Life”, a Tale highlighting one’s plight in seeking a life that is unattainable without knowing the deep and experiential relationship with that what gives Life itself. In seeking this, there is hardly anyone who is not in a constant struggle in how to answer the question: “What race are you running?” Or we supress the question because it is just too difficult to answer hoping it will go away and life will be happy and normal again. We recommend reading this Tale here before reading the below.

                               High winds at Dias Cross, Dias Point, Luderitz, Namibia, October 2019.

This Tale you are reading now follows on from that post, going a little deeper, offering a different perspective and ideally providing some encouragement to you to keep running the race no matter the uncertainty you face.

                               Our home wherever we unpack our vehicle, even amongst thorns as far as the eye can see. Braai/fire places make these places extra special! Camping outside Gweta, central Botswana, November 2019.

 

Reality

Life is not what we make it. True Life outside of ourselves transcends us. We do not control much and had nothing to do with our existence in the first place. In fact, we are quite out of control! We would think we would have this sorted, but we find ourselves trying to control the outside like we are in charge of our own destinies. Who is in charge? Who is the determinant factor? Who enables the sun to rise and set everyday? We cannot predict the future well enough. We do not know what tomorrow brings.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” - James 4:13-14

We can either strive to ‘live the life’ or realise that True Life is Living. The adventure does not mean then it will be easy or pretty. The opposite exists - usually the sweet spots, silver linings and blessings have to be sought out. That means there will be struggle, and that’s okay – it merely shows that brokenness exists.

                               Predicting the future in Africa is futile – just be prepared for anything! Even then, things go wrong, or rather known as differently and more beautifully than planned. Somehow, everything works out! Mpika, Zambia, December 2019 (not running out of fuel, just using up ‘stockpiles’!)

 

Struggle

Things are just hard in Africa. Really hard. It’s about survival. Day. To. Day. Nothing surprises anyone. As sure as the sun rises and sets each day, so is it certain that a virus will exist. You name it. Day. To. Day. Besides the rampant poverty, injustice and anything that makes one ask the question “why?”, exists. And sometimes it does not look like things are getting better, not on the surface anyway. It is a grind, two steps forwards, one step back, like I’m on a trail and the path gives way under my tired, heavy legs and feet. How we respond can answer our own questions, and it seems like we are oftentimes forced to answer them. Even more so now. If one desires to finish one’s race well or even just finish the race at all, we answer with the “what?”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - James 14:5-6

                               Keep the wheel turning during ‘rainy season’ especially, whenever that is – its unpredictable! Mud wheels and more, Arusha region, Tanzania, January 2020.

 

Hope

Life is an adventure. Like with trail running, there are always ups and downs, twists and turns, hail storms…and incredible vistas. Sometimes we continue to seek the adventures out like it will bring some sort of answer to our questions, yet we are always let down, seeking, looking for more, for satisfaction? Then sometimes we living the adventures of a lifetime and we do not even realise that we running the best trail we can ever find ourselves on! Success is defined differently - we take what we can and leave the rest, realising that whatever we take is usually deep hearted surgery that makes us better people from the inside out (and often looking a lot older on the outside).

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The answer to the question is always defined by One who is outside of ourselves and created us. The trails and our lives are not about us. Our lives are not even about the race itself, but more about how well we run each of the races that we each are on, and more importantly how we finish. We realise that the very hope that we seek to be seen change in this world is staring right back at ourselves in our faces offering itself in a Face more beautiful and striking than any finish line offers to a tired, worn out body who has just traversed some of the harshest terrain imaginable. While we all realise that we are limited in our understanding of what the future will look like for each of us, there is ALWAYS hope! We keep running with hope. We keep our eyes and feet on the Rock who gives us hope:

“we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” – Romans 5:2-5

                               Sunset, Kigali, Rwanda, February 2020.

 

We commenced traversing Africa via vehicle with no certainty of any kind, except for the Rock – a Rock that is unshakable and not surprised by anything we endure or still will endure. As at the date this Tale is posted, we still have no certainty about anything on this planet – only a very vague clue of where to next. For almost two years we have not had a home and have never really been sure where God would have us live each season. If the example of our uncertain and broken lives can be a testimony to you of God’s unrelenting goodness and provision, that would be enough of an answer to the questions for us right now. God has proven to be so faithful in our uncertainty. Through situations of theft, sickness, not knowing where we will sleep from week to week, how we can afford simple foods and with way more than one virus around, God sustains us – He is faithful. The uncertainties and questions are not new for us, yet we realise more importantly though that we have a past, present and future certainty in a Rock which keeps our trajectory and feet intact as we run our race.

You are not alone. Life is Living.

How surprised are you about your uncertainties? How do you answer the question:

“What race are you running?”

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

Africa Calling – Lake
Africa Calling – mission Man
 

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Friday, 10 July 2020

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