I started running regularly in 2009. Growing up, I played many sports, but distance running was not something I saw myself doing at the age of 35. I needed a change in my exercise routine. At this point in my life, I just gave birth to my fourth child and the weight was not coming off as quickly as I had hoped. My mental health was negatively affected as well. A good friend encouraged me to try running. So, I tried it. Little by little, I started to enjoy it. I signed up for some 5Ks and 10Ks and even my first half marathon! I was ALL IN!
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. . .when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5, 7b
I remember my first race. I was so nervous. I knew I wasn’t going to win. I wasn’t there to win. I was there to finish. Soon I was running my second race. I was just as nervous. Now, I wanted to beat my own time! When I signed up for my first half-marathon, I had to put in more time on training which was hard, especially with a baby. With the support of my family, I was able to complete my first half-marathon with my family waiting for me at the finish line. It was the best feeling ever!
With running, there is physical training as well as mental training that happens. My runs became my time with God. I’d put on my headphones and worship. His songs helped me to persevere when I did not think I could go any further. Life is hard and I just needed quiet time to hear God’s voice. My runs became that quiet time for me.
Thirteen years later, I am still running. Though, not as regularly as I would like. I am older with more aches and pains, but the joy is still there. I still sign up for races and I hope to do another half-marathon this year. I do not listen to music anymore while I run. Instead, I love the sound of nature and life around me. God and I have good conversations. However, I do most of the talking, but He is a good listener.
My hope is to encourage others to finish their “race.” It does not have to be an actual race, but to finish this temporary life on earth well. It won’t be perfect, but we must keep trying.
2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Knowing I get to cross the eternal finish line one day, motivates me to keep running today.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.” 2 Timothy 4:6
Paul introduced this “living sacrifice” analogy also in Romans 12:1,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”
This is what running is for me. I learn to:
- Patiently trust God in trials.
- Share what I have with others.
- Honor others above myself.
- Live at peace with everyone.
- Refuse to repay evil for evil.
- Love even when someone doesn’t deserve it.
To me, running allows Christ to reveal to me how He is more precious to me than anyone or anything. I don’t live a perfect life, but I want to live a surrendered life. This makes me a winner no matter what race I participate in.