treading lightly

Trail Running requires adaptation to the terrain one runs on. This terrain usually varies quite substantially within a short space of time. This is true of life too. Yet, sometimes no matter how one tries to adapt, one can feel out of control.

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GR20 long distance hiking trail, Corsica, France. Needing to back track and retrieve my one glove, I ran the few hundred meters back to Lisa on this relentlessly harsh terrain.

Being out of control is difficult. It goes against most values people hold to these days. Having life all figured out, that one determines one’s own destiny, goals and ambitions, and that one can decide how to live how one wants to live, just because one feels at the centre of the universe typifies society at large. Trying to control the terrain one runs on is impossible. In trail running, the terrain controls how you respond, and so, one has to learn to tread lightly.


How much are you in control of your race?

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”1 Timothy 6:6-8

Although we believe these truths, treading lightly is more difficult than we realise because we feel in control. When this illusion of control is taken away from us, or we feel out of control, we grapple with how to respond and then we realise we were not in control in the first place. Only God is. We have had to learn to tread lightly in 2018. Our terrain of living life changed and showed and exposed our hearts in some deep ways that have forced us to respond to the God we know goes before us in the terrain we call life.


How do you let your circumstances determine how you respond? To God?

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Displacement resonance. Charlotte Girbig, Lisa’s Grandmother, was displaced from her home in this house in former East Germany in the aftermath of WWII. She came to Cape Town. Lisa can resonate with her in that we were displaced from our home in Cape Town on 2 August 2018 due to our terrain changing in similar life altering circumstances without warning.

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…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 4:17-18 (inscription, Corinth, Greece)

We attempt to adapt and change our circumstances, trying to be in control, yet deep down we are just living in response to that which is around us, perhaps even living a life we are not called to live. What does living really look like? How should it look like? How does one respond to the terrain? Are we supposed to control it?

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My Mother holding Josiah who was born naturally to Lisa and I in our home, April 2017. Background picture: artist (Lisa’s brother, Paul Senyol) impression of Charlotte Girbig arriving at Cape Town harbour.

The trauma and tears are real almost daily, yet at the same time we are experiencing the full effect of God being in utter control and what it means to trust Him and let Him rule our lives in deep ways we cannot explain. We hold onto Him:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

And so, we tread lightly, knowing that our times, circumstances and lives are out of our control. And that while these will change perhaps more that we can expect, we know that God is in control and that we can rest knowing we can only find our safety and security in the God who determines everything. We keep on running, running in obedience to the God who obeyed, even to death, death on a cross.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.””Lamentations 3:22-24

Africa Calling (Agulhas to Berlin) was always the plan, we just did not know when. We did not expect it would be from 2019 onwards and certainly not in this terrain.

We thought we were in control…until we learn to tread lightly.

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What race are you running?

Trailblazer for Life
Untold Ultra – Fish River Canyon 100 km


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Monday, 17 February 2020

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