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To the Girl Who Forgot How to Fly + what to do about it

Piper once told me that she loved running the 400 because it made her feel like she was flying, soaring through the air, as she pumped her legs as hard as she could.

At the time, I got what she meant, but recently, I really understood it. I lived it.

I've been cleared to start picking up my mileage and the intensity of my training, which is a huge blessing and I am so so so thankful for it. So, the other day, I ran a few 200s, just to see how it felt, and dang, was it incredible. I felt like I was going fast (even though I probably wasn't), but mainly it felt amazing to push my legs and my lungs as hard as they could go. It felt amazing to feel my feet pounding and my heart beating out of my chest. It felt amazing to finally feel that burn in my legs and the exhaustion of it all. It felt amazing to, for the first time in a really, really long time, be reminded of why I love this sport so much.

And in that moment, I felt like I was flying too. My spark was back.

I don't know if I'm crazy or simply too much of a deep thinker, but I feel like that feeling of "flying" is not reserved for runners or athletes in general. I would almost compare it to being on top of the world, ecstatic for life, and full of energy. (Note: Piper probably meant "flying" incredibly literally; she's so fast she actually looks like her feet never touch the ground, but I'm not quite at that level, so we're probably talking about two different metaphors.)

And until just recently, I hadn't felt like I was flying much at all.

Not only was I not able to run, but I allowed my life to be characterized by heartache and grief. I'd been so stuck (and in some ways, this was necessary), in the pain and hurt that I was processing that I had forgotten what it meant to fly in every aspect of life.

I forgot what it felt like to praise God with such passion that tears spill out of your eyes and you can't stop smiling.

I forgot what it felt like to be completely and wholly content in the current season.

I forgot what it felt like to be authentically myself, unafraid of the world's judgements or comments.

I forgot what it felt like to wake up excited for the day.

I forgot what it felt like to slow down my heart long enough to realize how incredibly beautiful and precious life is, and to notice those small things.

I forgot what it felt like to be spontaneous, to be fun, to laugh extra loud and make really big, beautiful memories out of small situations.

And maybe, just maybe, I'd forgotten my joy, too.

If this is you, if you've forgotten your joy, if you've forgotten how to fly, just like I did, let me tell you - it is never too late to reclaim your wings.

It's never too late to learn to fly again.

"Okay, Ellie, this sounds great. But how?"

I'm so glad you asked. I've discovered that learning to fly in real life is much harder than simply going out and running as hard as you can, but it's not impossible. It may take some time, some intentional, gradual change, but it is possible and it is a beautiful journey.

Honestly, I believe that the key to learning to fly is being fully and completely content and hidden in the Lord. When you are walking with Jesus, abiding and learning and trusting, that is when the joy comes. That's when He teaches you to fly; that's when He shows you what true living and loving looks like.

Walking with Jesus, learning this abundant life way of life, it all begins with coming to Him, hands open wide. It all begins with surrender, with laying down the weight of everything we've been carrying and letting Jesus take over. It all begins with a clean slate, bought by the blood of Christ, where we can relearn and reset our unhealthy mindsets and the lies we've allowed ourselves to believe. And all that takes is our decision to pray and be honest with the Lord about where we're at, and surrendering all of that at His feet.

So today, if you're craving the ability to fly again, I'd challenge you to simply pause, right here, right now. Make space for the Lord and His presence in your life. Truly open up your heart to hear from the Father. As you do that, as you talk with Him about the things happening in your heart and listen to whatever He speaks to you, slowly but surely, the weight will be lifted off of your shoulders and you will begin to experience the real, abundant life that He has planned for you.

After you do this, in the coming moments, days, and weeks, it's an intentional choice to continually lean into Jesus and His presence in your life. It takes more than this one moment, although that's where it starts; it takes the decision every day, multiple times a day, to rely on the Lord, walk with Him and allow Him to teach you how to fly, love, and heal. To truly fly, it often takes a lot of work, a lot of heart work, as you partner with Jesus to grow and heal some of the darkest parts of your heart.

Sometimes this looks like journalling, purposeful prayer and Bible study sessions, outside-of-church worship, or simply sitting down with God and addressing the lies and harmful thoughts you've allowed to live in your mind of a little too long. Sometimes this looks like seeking new, godly community to walk alongside you or getting rid of unhelpful, ungodly habits that are only hindering your ability to fly. Sometimes it looks like beginning to include things that fill your heart into your schedule and prioritize rest in the busy culture we live in.

But it's not a checklist or a particular routine; like most things, it's a journey, a process, learning and walking with our Savior. It takes humility, surrender and patience. But as we abide in Jesus, as we continue to root ourselves deeper in His presence, we will soon find that there is such an abundance of joy and freedom and "flying" that simply cannot be found anywhere else, doing anything else.


If you've been struggling to fly lately, struggling to experience your joy, contentment, or peace, then I'd encourage you to bring it to Jesus. Lay it down and surrender whatever you're feeling, whatever you're struggling with right now. I would encourage you to lean into the Lord a little extra and ask Him to teach you (or remind you) what it looks like to fly and enjoy every moment. And I promise that you will find that in Him, you will not only get your "spark" back, but you'll learn to fly higher than ever before.



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