I’m trying to run away.

The voice hides on my right shoulder, somewhere in my hair. He bounces up and down with the beat of my footsteps.

“You failed today.”

I look back behind me, gazing at the ground I’ve run over. I look for traces of this failure: I woke up exhausted so I canceled plans with a friend. I tried to work in the garden but became tired and drained quickly. I realized that I had forgotten to pick up my prescription at the store yesterday. And my grandmother made an innocent comment, but I could see the translation at the bottom: “You failed today.”

I try to swat away at this voice. Unlike the fly that buzzes around my face, this voice will not go away. Where did it come from? What is it exactly?

As I turn to go uphill, I feel my heart rate increase, and another voice perks up from my left: “You are weak physically.” Yes, I see his point. I have a strange heart, often lack energy, and can’t seem to get done what I need to get done.

I slow my pace and take a glance at my right shoulder and then my left. Now I recognize  them. Untruths. Oh how they love to pester me. They’ve often been able to bring me in slowly, and with time these little things can crush me.

Not this time. I grab them at their root as I have done in my grandma’s rose garden, and I hurl them down the hill. Then I pick up my pace and close my eyes. I imagine that I am running in a field, my fingers brushing the tall plants that reach up around me. My hair swishes all about me, covers my face, and then throws itself back behind me. The sun shines down and freckles my face. I shade my eyes with a hand and I see him. He’s leaning against the tree, his mouth wide open in what must be laughter. Stepping away from the tree, he opens his arms out in a broad and extensive way. I run harder. I begin to hear a whisper of “You failed t…” But I hurl it back down to the ground and run faster. Without slowing down a bit, I run right into the arms that have been waiting for me. Holding me tightly, he begins a whisper of a song, and the lyrics go like this:

My darling gem

What else can I do but

Treasure, treasure you

He sings it soft and quiet and then loud and victorious. He draws back and looks at me as his voice thunders in, around, under, and above me. His eyes are alive with a fierce, raw tenderness toward me.

With my lungs filling up with joy, I open my eyes and find that I have run to the top of the hill. Breathing hard, I stop and look down at the world in front of me. The wind twists around me, and in it I can hear bits of the melody he sang to me. Today was the day when Jesus spoke Truth to me: He treasures me.

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