My family is clamoring for attention.

“Check this out for me, please?”

“Before you go, can you just look at this…”

“I need you for just a moment.”

My mind can barely process the requests. They tumble one after the other in a hopeless pile of need.

Somewhere in the middle of the tasks and to-do’s my brain finds a clear spot and time stands still: I need to go for a run. Fortunately, we’re staying at a large hotel that has a pre-defined running path, so I slip my sneakers on and head out the door, ignoring one last demand for attention. I’m focused, and I’m going to run.

My run lasts for a strong two miles and I can hardly wait to look at my progress and stats. I’ve got a nifty little device that records the run, the time, the calories. It’s got all the charts ready to be uploaded to my computer, and even as I’m running the last few steps, my mind is anticipating the rewarding feeling of seeing this run add to my mileage. It’s the kick. It’s what I run for.

Before I can get my breathing back in control the family is there reaching out. One grabs my run tracker and resets it without thinking. My run is lost, drifting through oblivion. And before I put on my big girl panties and face life, I think “Well at least you can’t steal the run itself. I went. I did it. I’m good at it.”

Too bad it was all a dream.

I’ve had this dream over and over, and I think I’m finally beginning to understand it. On one level, I want to run. I always have. I’m working on it, slowly. I’ve never had a run like the one in the dream, a run where all systems are functioning and I’m running the way I was made, the way real runners run. But I’m working on it.

Today I realized there’s a second layer of meaning in this dream. Let running be the metaphor for being my true self, doing the things I know I can do and am called to do. Let running be my voice. My unique voice The one that God gave me. From there it’s easy, isn’t it.

I let life crowd out my voice.

I let that happen over and over and over.

But above the clamor, in the midst of it, there is a space of clarity. It’s a calling to my real self, my real voice.

It’s time to run.

By Marla Saunders

I am passionately devoted to living my life in the places God has given me. Over the years those places have changed: from homeschooler to businesswoman, from consumer to storyteller. These days I'm focusing on building a new business and figuring out what it means to do everything with integrity and informed by faith.