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  • Writer's pictureLauren Mitchell

Run Like a Naked Two Year Old

Yep, you read that correctly. That's how I want to run my race till I get to heaven. I wrote this years ago, but I needed it today.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). 

I always had a problem with this scripture because I thought it didn’t relate to me on a personal level. You see I used to teach aerobics, and I LOVE to exercise.  I just don’t understand running.  Several people have asked me to run with them, and my response is always the same, I don’t run unless someone is chasing me. Running seems so much like punishment to me, especially if it is done on a treadmill.  However, I don’t think this was the kind of running that the apostle Paul meant. I think he had something completely different in mind.

One night after bath time, God gave me great clarity about this passage.  Paul meant running with full abandon like a naked toddler. They don't care if people and watching, and would love it if you joined them. I literally live out this visual aid every night.  There is something about a naked toddler that makes them faster, and they know it.  My two children can consistently outrun me when naked.  Maybe it has something to do with the aerodynamics.


We are to run this race Paul talks about not just focused on the prize, but aware of that prize. We are supposed to run like a naked two year old, with full abandon, never forgetting who we are running to. We have to learn to be caught up in the joy that lies before us. We are to run for the joy of running.  I have never seen a naked child run when it wasn’t accompanied by insane amounts of giggling, and it isn’t just them. Everyone in a two mile radius joins in their glee. This is exactly how we are to look as we run this life as Christians.


Sometimes in the midst of life we miss the sheer joy of the run. We forget that Jesus and heaven is our prize.  He is waiting at the finish line!  Instead of taking life and making it an un-ending task list, we should be waving our arms and laughing, while enticing others to join us because we know where we're going. We run not to be the first to the finish line, but to enjoy the race and engage as many bystanders as possible with us. Every step brings us closer to Jesus. That is the whole point! It never matters who gets there first. 

This doesn’t mean we are not to be diligent. Have you seen the determination of a naked, dancing toddler who doesn’t want to call it quits and put on her pajamas? That is how I want to go out, with God chasing me while I scream one more lap! So often I miss this, and I look at my run as a series of mile markers that are simply to be passed. God is not about drudgery. The race is great because we know the end!  The finish line is filled with those who have gone before and are cheering us on. 

“We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1a).  The Message puts it like this, “It means we’d better get on with it, strip down, start running and never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.” 

See, both translations indicate the naked toddler method. We have to strip down and get rid of anything that hinders us. 

What hinders you? What keeps you from total abandon? 

Is it the expectations of others?

Is it unbelief? 

Strip it off. No matter what it is, it ties you to this earth and makes the run hard. Different things hinder us all, but what they are doesn’t matter. The common denominator is that we don’t need them. 

When we get to that finish line, if we arrive totally defeated, alone and out of breath, we missed the point. Somewhere we have lost the joy of running for the love and exhilaration of pleasing Jesus.

Children understand how to live in their moments. They understand how to let go of expectations, past failures and be in the now. That is the secret to the run. We throw off the pain from yesterday and we lay down the anxieties for tomorrow beside it.  We know where we are headed and who is waiting. Why not enjoy the thrill of the wind in our face, the air in our lungs and entice as many people with us as we can possibly grab on the way. 


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1


God renew us so that we are fresh for the run. Make our feet swift and clear our path of obstacles no matter in what form they take. Discipline us for the long distance, and let us take joy in each step. Give us the joy we should have so that others may see the difference!  Let us strip down and get rid of the distractions of this world that slow us. Quite frankly, there isn’t time for them, and they just hinder us from getting to the prize. Help us remember where we are headed without missing the joy of the journey and the lessons we need. Keep our focus on the finish so that the distractions of this world cannot pull us away. 

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