Vertical Running

My daughter, for the longest time, ran forward, up-and-down, if that makes sense. Seth and I often mentioned how it seemed like her little toddler body bobbled up and down while running, which slowed down her forward motion. She still went forward, but a lot of energy was going into a different direction at the same time. Now she is learning to lengthen her stride, lean forward and move more horizontally than vertically.


Sometimes around this time of year, I feel an air of malaise that slows down or discourages my efforts. I’m still running forward, generally doing the same work; but I feel like my joints are creaky and slow, my steps bobbled, and I’m not moving forward like I was.

Missionaries, especially newer missionaries, may feel homesickness over the holidays. A break from homeschooling, welcome though it is, may also contribute to a low moment. The missionary mom stops running full speed ahead and has to watch out that the low moment doesn’t become a full-blown crash! I know for me personally, I school according to the calendar year, in conjunction with the national school year here. So by Christmas we’re done for the year. I’m planning for next year, my feet are unwillingly moving forward; but I’m tired, and subconsciously my body is taking a more vertical pattern trying not to get into next year yet. 🙂

Do you relate to those moments of low spiritual and physical energy? How do you lengthen your stride and pick up the pace again?

Today Callie invited me to “Look, Mommy, come see!!” a “pider” outside (I just love those invitations to see bugs…) As she ran ahead of me, I noticed that she was running more like a child now, less like a toddler. Aw! Her legs stretched farther apart, she leaned more forward than up, and she moved faster.

I think an important motivation for me to run forward again is my New Year’s Goals. Every year, taking stock of how I did with last year’s goals helps me to see how much I really did get done! Planning next year’s goals gives me the impetus to tentatively peek at how much God still wants me to do.

Exhaustion, discouragement, or homesickness can cause a temporary vertical scope to my running, a moving forward while still remembering what’s behind. But setting those goals for the New Year in every category–personal, spiritual, homeschooling, ministry–reminds me to keep “pressing toward the mark”! I’m not perfect, and I’ll never be; but the point is that I keep pressing, I keep pursuing, forgetting what is behind, and reaching forward to those things which are before.

What goals have you made for your New Year? What keeps you going in a “vertical running” moment?


About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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