I lace up my Nike’s, double-knotting them so they stay. I do some stretches and head out the door. I walk down the sidewalk, and as I come down the small hill I start my run.
My feet hit the pavement as I take in my surroundings — fresh baled hay on one side of the road and horses grazing in the pasture on the other. The sun is beginning to set and causes streaks of pinks and oranges in the western sky.
The muscles in my legs ache as I listen to the birds whistling at me. I imagine them saying, “Keep going. You’re doing great.” I spot a bunny, and as I near it, I watch as it’s white tail bounces away.
As I begin to sweat and my breathing gets heavier, I pray to my Creator. He happens to be running right beside me. I thank Him for the beautiful scenery. I thank Him for giving me the ability to run, for legs that work, for good health. I ask Him to help me keep going, to push me farther, to give me endurance and most of all strength.
I talk to Him about what’s been going on lately. I ask Him questions, sometimes begging for answers. And He listens.
For the past four months, I’ve had somewhat of an obsession with running. Let me tell you straight up that I am not athletic. Ask anyone who has ever played a sport with me.
I think I decided in elementary school I was not athletic when my gym teacher called me “Grandma” while I was doing a running test in front of the whole class. It was so embarrassing. It’s sad how those little things can make such a big impact on your life. I never played sports until I finally tried intramurals in college. And even though I did that, I’m still very insecure about my athleticism.
But at the end of March, I went for a run to clear my head. And it felt so good. Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in, but I think it was also the alone time with God. Just me and Him, without any distractions. It’s time where I can sort through all the emotions going through me. Time for me to really concentrate on my conversation with Someone so special to me.
Running is also great because it’s something I have control over. I decide what pace I run, how far I go, or whether I even want to go that day. I decide what I think about and when to stop my run. I’m a bit of a control freak, so being able to have control over this one thing in life is a big benefit to me.
Running also makes me healthy, builds my muscles, tones my body and makes me feel better and more confident. God says He wants us to take care of our bodies and what better way than through exercise? Especially exercise that is spent talking to Him.
I set a goal for myself this summer. It’s nothing amazing; I’m not running a marathon or anything. It’s just a goal to give me motivation to push myself. About a month into my running routine, though, I injured my knee. Don’t ask how, because I have no idea. But it hurt so bad whenever I walked (especially down stairs) I thought it’d be easier just to cut my leg off! The worst part, though, was that I couldn’t run. I needed to give my knee time to heal. And my running routine went down the drain because of it, especially because right after my knee started to feel better, my schedule became so busy I didn’t even have time to go running if I wanted to.
How Going for a Run Reminds us of our Spiritual Lives
It’s awful when we became really motivated and then something happens to ruin it. I found I was very motivated to keep up with my routine and push myself toward my goal at the beginning. But after taking time away from it to heal and what not, my motivation went away. I had to make myself lace up my Nike’s and get back out on the road.
It’s like our relationship with God. A lot of times, we are really close to God when we first become saved. We are on fire for God, and then something or someone splashes water on our fire and the flames diminish. Like running, a relationship with God requires perseverance and dedication. We must take the time out of our schedules to talk to Him, listen to Him, learn about Him, and thank Him. It’s a decision we must make every morning — whether to strive to be closer to God that day or to take the day off. We must keep up with our routine even when the motivation ceases, or we get hurt, or someone puts out our fire, or we just get busy.
Because both of these routines — running and spending time with God — make us stronger and build us up. But they both also take hard work.
So, what do you say? Let’s go for a run.