True change is only evident when others point it out to you. Over the past few weeks, I have found myself answering various questions regarding my new fascination with running. I began my new journey in January of this year…yes, as in a few months ago. Why? Because I thought it would be fun. Yes, fun.
I started running back in 2004, a few months after my fiancé decided he wanted to marry me. I was in full-time ministry on the complete opposite side of the country far from his embrace. I was fresh out of college, suited with the keys to my future and of course I had everything figured-out. I started walking with my new black and white ipod, mouthing the words to podcasts and DC Talk as I strolled. One day, I decided I would try jogging just to see how far my post-college cafeteria body could endure. I don’t remember how far I went, but I do recall that from that day on, I was determined to go a few steps farther. Each day, one step more at a time, I found myself dropping pounds and actually enjoying the stress-relief. I even signed-up to play soccer, which led to coaching youth soccer, then youth basketball. I looked great in my wedding dress too by the way.
Over the years I ran or walked when I could. Ministry is stressful, period. For me, getting out and walking or jogging simply allowed me to process through a temporary escape from my need for answers. I enjoyed running to get away from my problems and to stay in shape (or at least look like I was trying).
A few years back I finally started jogging again. I was doing well, trying to go out and jog every other day. I had 2 young kids, so I would rise early, jog, shower and then grab the kids before rushing off to work. It helped get my mind going before I was slammed at the office.
I still remember asking the doctor if I could continue jogging. “Jogging Mrs. Boring? I don’t think you understand. You have a spinal fluid leak. You will not be jogging, let alone walking anywhere for a while.”
The running shoes were thrown into the closet. I was so angry, stressed and desperately wanted to run…away…from all of this just like I had done so many times before. To me, this felt like a cruel joke God was playing on me. I was stuck. Alone. Nowhere to run. No clue how to process exactly what was going on or why.
January 2014 was my first run since my battle with cancer and my first run with God.
I’ll pause and let that line sink-in a bit…
You see, it took desperate measures for my Abba to get my attention. In my life, I ran alone. I needed to run in order to feel like I deserved to be loved. I needed to solve my own problems…or run away from them. Frankly, He knew I was tired of running way before I knew my shoes were wearing thin. During a retreat that God allowed me to attend in October of 2013, I got the message from Him so very clear – “I love you. Rest in me as you are. Stop and simply receive my love.” It still took months to really digest the closeness He desired for my life that I learned on that retreat…but eventually, I did stop. Eventually, I learned what acceptance looks like in His eyes. Eventually, I stopped running away and simply collapsed into His arms.
So…why did I start running again?
I crave time with God and with three wound-up boys, there is no better place to have my time with God than running with Him. I started the Couch-2-5k program in January and completed my first two 5ks on Saturday, April 19th. I run three times a week – Monday and Wednesday mornings I try to complete 3.25 miles and Saturday I run 5 miles and walk 3 miles home. I’m not a runner by any means…but I love just getting out before the sunrise and coming before Him, as I am, with all that I am and simply run with Him. It has become the highlight of my week, calming my heart, refocusing my thoughts and allowing Him to breathe life into me first thing in the morning. Absolutely nothing can compare to this. Nothing.
I run to be with God.
I run to hear His voice.
I run to see the sunrise.
I run to get stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I run to finally be healthy inside and out.
I run to keep up with my boys.
I run to go father and accomplish goals.
I run to learn determination and the power of relying on God with each step.
I run so I don’t try to do life alone anymore.
I run determined. I run renewed. I run with God.
I think that pretty much sums it up.