Of Redemption and Discipline

Redemption: (noun)

  1. an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
  2. deliverance; rescue.
  3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
  4. atonement for guilt.
  5. repurchase, as of something sold.
  6. paying off, as of a mortgage, bond, or note.



I’m a triathlete.  Running is when I do my best living and my best thinking.  I love the discipline, pushing yourself to suffer as much as you can, because it leads to a form of redemption.

  • Naomi Benaron, author of Running the Rift


Draw closer, oh my heart.  It is time for truth between us.

This redemption path is a difficult thing.  It would be nice if we could find our way to healing and never meander back to Egypt, if Canaan’s gates closed behind us, enfolding us in the shelter of wholeness, a bulwark against the shame and stumbling.

I cannot lie to you.  It is hard work, this journey we would take.

The redemption path is an Iron Man Triathlon.  It is a long swim against the current of lies that tell us we are not enough, that we will always be found lacking, that our past somehow defines who we are and who we will be. We push against expectations and the ways others have defined and failed us, even though we don’t yet know who we are, we don’t yet know our own strength.  Ours is the refrain: “This is not who I am.  This is not who I want to be.”

Once we’ve climbed out of those frigid waters, we must find a different kind of strength, one that allows us to ride out, to find our balance and press on. For miles we move forward, shedding the lies, and remake ourselves, replacing the lies with a truth that seems too far away to see.  We know it’s out there, the finish line, but it is beyond our ken.  It is something of a dream, but one that gains more and more substance the farther we go.  We settle into a rhythm that is one part brute force, one part momentum, and one part memory and keep going, a kind of meditation that cannot help but seep into our bones and marrow.  If we let it.

And, finally, comes one last test: Endurance.  Heart.  Courage.

It is no ordinary race, this test.  It is a full marathon.  It pushes us to our limits, testing our resolve and our character.  We will stumble.  Our lungs will beg for oxygen and our muscles will fatigue to the point where we don’t know if we can take one more step.  But something within us will not give up so easily.  There is that call, that certainty that we were meant for more than simply to survive, that we must be whole.  We may get blisters that burst and bleed.  We may suffer stress fractures, or shin splints.  The possibility of injury of setback is great.  It may well be that our journey will pause at this point or that we will have to start again.  But we must try again and again and again until we finish the race.

At the finish line, cheers and encouragement.  Others who have gone on before us, telling us that we can make it that last half mile, that last quarter mile, those last 50 steps, the last five, the last one.  And we collapse into the arms of those who have known what we were capable of even before we did, those who walked with us, reflecting the truth of who we are, the ones who helped us when our strength failed, the ones we helped stand, the ones we fought for.

Discipline.  Focus.  Strength.  Courage.  This is the stuff the redemption path is made of.


4 thoughts on “Of Redemption and Discipline

  1. “We will stumble…but something within us will not give up so easily.” What powerful words those are. I am on your sidelines, cheering for you as hard as I can. These posts have been so filled with hope, and heaven knows there can never be enough of that. Thank you, Carryl, for continuing to forge this path.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Of Redemption and Discipline – Middlespace

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