Run with Joy

Let’s clear up any confusion right now:  this is NOT about physically running with joy. To anyone who physically runs with joy, I applaud you. That is not me. I only run for a purpose (rehab after surgery, play a sport, escape mortal danger) and it’s not joyfully! Instead, let’s discuss how to run the unique race God has for each of us with joy.

As a planner, when life’s race plans suddenly or slowly become impossible to navigate, panic ensues.  After a deep cleansing breath, one thing is clear: God is there. Even though I know this, I still cry, complain, wonder, question and plead for a different or better path. My prayers are always answered but like any good parent, His answer is sometimes no. Still, God’s presence remains. He keeps loving and leading me through every unknown path.

The Christian life of running the race God has for us isn’t always filled with joy. The joy is always there but only experienced if we actively seek it. Joy arrives in our faithful understanding of God’s omnipresence. Just like the two on the road to Emmaus, God opens our eyes to see and minds to understand what He wants for us in every moment. He always knows what we need, because He knows all.

We can’t always see the next step or if the path is smooth and sunny or rocky and rainy. But God still leads. We simply need to trust and faithfully follow.

Yet, this trust often eludes us.

Why? We trust valuable items to others all the time: the tow truck driver or valet with our cars, other people with our children and our money with bankers and accountants.  None of these people are perfect, in fact, they’re all very imperfect. Our society is founded on a semblance of trust in similarly sinful people. We trust in sinful people, but we question God.

I’ve done it too often. I questioned why I was born into a comfortable American life while serving those born into a slum. I questioned why innocent, God-fearing people have to suffer or leave this earth too soon. I’ve questioned why almost every day of my life. However, in virtually the same thought, I’ve always known part of the answer: I’m not God who knows everything.

God knows our past, present, and future. He’s had a plan since before we were born. God doesn’t mind if we question Him. I think He actually encourages us to think and wonder deeply. Because the more we dig, seek, and search, the more we find Him.

And in Him, we find joy.

Nothing is guaranteed in life, but one thing is for sure. God is here with a race plan for each of us. We discover the path as we follow. It’s like the beautiful path I stumbled upon earlier this month. It was unexpected and unknown but so was the joy I found following it. I would have never experienced that joy if I hadn’t trusted God enough to lead me through it.

The same can be said for all our races. We don’t know where they’ll take us. Our races will probably involve pain, grief, disappointment and the unwanted at some point. But let’s not ever allow the negative to stop us from running with joy. When we trust God to lead our race, we run with joy.[tweetthis]When we trust God to lead our race, we run with #joy. #FindingJoy #FollowHisFootprints[/tweetthis]

To run with joy is to be open to it, seek it, and see it.  Joy awaits those who follow, so let’s keep running with the joy we all have living inside us.[tweetthis]Joy awaits those who follow #Jesus #FollowHisFootprints #FindingJoy[/tweetthis]

As I mentioned a few months ago, I’m seeking joy this year. Some days are better than others. But I’m resetting my focus and creating a new habit of #FindingJoy each and every day. In June, I’ll post each day’s joyful find on social media and dig into joy here on the blog. Look for me now on Instagram, too! (@jillmhoven)

Join me and run with joy by seeking it daily!

Linking with Alisa & the #SaltandLight girls and Crystal at Fresh Market Friday.


Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee For Your Heart

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22 thoughts on “Run with Joy”

  1. I’m reminded of the truth that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Even my worst days are a picnic compared to what Jesus overcame. Thanks be to God that He makes it possible for us to keep “running” in His strength!

    • Absolutely, Michele! What burdens we bear so much lighter in His strength and pale in comparison to what He bore for us. Thanks for stopping by today and your thoughts!

  2. Jill, It’s so true that we can find joy inside the paths that we least expected and sometimes those pathways are the hardest to find and continue walking in. But God is good! I really loved reading this today!

  3. Sometimes our race includes adversity and if we choose, we can experience joy in our trials as we allow them to strengthen and grow our faith. The race isn’t easy but the eternal reward is so worth it!
    Visiting from Salt and Light Link up!

    • God’s race for us is always good as He is leading us to Him, even on the most difficult path. The reward is so, so good, is true, Cindy. Thanks for stopping by and your thoughts!

  4. Jill,
    I agree we have to seek joy. It can be found in the midst of all kinds of pain and hardships. Wonderful words on running the race. I loved seeing it from a different perspective.


  5. How refreshing to be reminded that we can run this race with God in the lead. Sometimes we forget or as you wrote we are willing to trust everyone else but God. We sort of leave Him at the starting line. But the truth is He did go through so much for us to live a life with joy, didn’t He? And joy in Him is so rich and full.
    Thanks Jill!

  6. Running with joy. It’s such a simple concept that so often alludes us. However, this blog post served as a great reminder to continue following the plan that God has put before me. Thank you!

  7. When we look for the joy – it can be found! I make it a point to seek the joy, even in the difficult times for I know God knows whats best for me and has my best interest at heart… even if I must face a difficulty!

    • Absolutely, Dawn! God’s plan is always the best, we need to just wait and find joy in His plan today. Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. Hello Jill. My name is Cyndi Barnier and I’m co-owner of YBR Publishing, LLC in the small town of Ridgeland, SC.
    We happened to come across one of your photos online (the little girl, with the pink shoe, running through a field of daisies).
    One of our clients has asked if she may use this photo as a cover to her poetry book; one that we’re working on for her right now.
    Permission is needed I know, and we were hoping that you might consider letting us use it gratis but of course give you and/or the photographer credit for the cover inside the book.
    It really is a stunning photo, and our client/author wants to dedicate her book to her 2 great-granddaughters. That’s why this photo appeals to her so much…it reminds her of her 2 girls.
    Many thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you very soon.
    (BTW, our business is a Christian based agency!)

    • Hi Cyndi-Thanks for your email and question. I actually found that pic in a free sourced collection I believe at so as far as I’m concerned you do not need my permission but if you do, I readily give it. I’d look at and you may still be able to find it.
      Hope that helps and again, thanks for the ask and for all you do for authors!


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