Sunday, May 25, 2008

Running thoughts...

Well, now that school is out, I finally have time to get back into my exercise routine. About 2 years ago I started running for stress relief and fitness and was getting pretty good at it. I was by no means the fastest, but I was holding my own in most races. Then, after running my first half marathon, I let life get in the way and I pretty much just stopped running. I never intended to stop...only to sit out for a while, but life has a way of filling in the empty spots with something and before I knew it, I hadn't run in almost a year.
I knew I'd be slower when I finally tied on my running shoes again, but I had no idea how much ground I had lost during those months of inactivity. What had once come easily was again a trial. Every step was a struggle. Make that every step IS a struggle. Even now, after trying to get back into the swing of running I'm struggling to regain lost ground. I am far more "out of shape" than I realized. Tonight, I tried my first Spin class....that's when it really hit me just how far back I'd fallen.
For those who've read my blog, you know there's a spiritual connection coming in here somewhere - and you're right. As I sat in my Bible study tonight, I had the thought that when we aren't actively seeking God and studying His Word, it's a lot like not exercising. We may think that we can pick up the Word and be right back where we were when we left off, but we can't. If we're not actively growing in Him, we're actually losing ground. Just as I struggle now to find my pace in running, if I stop growing in Him, I'll find myself struggling spiritually. It doesn't happen all at once. We get "busy" and let our study slip and before we know it life fills in the empty spaces and we turn around and realize it's been months since we've spent time with Him...really spent time with Him. I don't want to find myself in that position again. I want to thirst for Him like I thirst for water after a hard run....and nothing else can satisfy.
Okay, one more "running revelation" before I end this blog.
One day while out running, I was thinking about the phrase "run after God" and it started to puzzle me. If God is the one who draws us near, and He is like the father in the story of the prodigal son who runs out to meet his wayward child, then why do we have to run after Him? I began to wonder if this was some idea I had come up with from songs and such that wasn't based on scripture. In researching, I discovered the verses about running the race and about walking with God, but nothing about running after God. (Anyone who knows of such a verse, please let me know!) Evidently, this running after God was in the same vein as 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' and 'God helps those who help themselves'. In other words - a man made idea.
As I meditated on this, I felt as if the Lord was prompting me to not be in such a hurry all the time. All He required was that I WALK with Him. I didn't have to try so hard to 'do things for God'. I was simply to WALK with Him...and at times we would run together. This has changed the way I do a lot of things, including how I run. It's still hard to get out there in this heat and put one foot in front of the other, but now on my runs I try to be aware of the blessings around me....the evidence of God that truly surrounds us. I try to meditate on the scripture that I'm studying at the time, or pray for those who come to mind. And at times, I simply walk...with Him.
I don't know about anyone else, but I don't ever want to go back to sitting on the couch again - either physically or spiritually. Life is too short to waste it on something like that.

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