I. Was. Running.

I hate running.

I know that it’s good for you. I’ve read all of the articles and websites and blog posts about the benefits. I know it relieves stress and changes mood but I hate it. Or I should say I have hated it. I have gone through bouts of running. And by that I mean I have tried to make myself a runner a million times over because I feel like I should be a runner. I know I will only reap benefits from it.

There was the time I entered an 8k with little to no training and pretty much from the start my body was like, “nope! Not gonna do it!” And my shoes literally busted about halfway through and I lost a couple of toenails. And it was only an 8k and I literally walked more than the majority of it!

A couple of years later I tried again but on a treadmill this time and I did pretty well for a few months but then I got bored or busy and I just stopped. I always had to push myself to go I never wanted to I just knew that I should.

The last month or two have been a little hard with transitions and uncertainty and just an overall discontentment. I have shared how I have struggled and wrestled and cried and prayed and thanked the Lord through it. Something has changed in the last few weeks.

What has not changed is my position in life, I didn’t really expect it to.

What did change was discipline.

Through a friend I was encouraged to start to run again.

The first day I didn’t want to but knew I had to. Yes, had to. Something in me was saying I just needed to do it. Maybe that’s over dramatic and maybe in a couple of months I’ll give it up again but for now I know it is something I need to do.

The first week was hard. My body ached. My back and my calves were in pain almost the whole time. Everything was so tight and I would get to the end of my street (and I have a short street) and I would start to talk myself out of this. I was in too much pain and this was just going to make it worse, in fact I am just going to injure myself. But something kept me going. When I get to that point I just start talking to the Lord. In those times I started to thank the Lord that I have a body and legs that can carry me and move me in this way. I change my perspective offer myself some grace and I keep going.

By week two the pains went away and I started to increase my actual run time. Now let me be clear, I am barley a runner in fact at this point I am more of a walker with running intervals. But with each day my body gets stronger and my mind is clearer and I can endure longer periods of running. It’s not perfect and it’s not long but it’s enough to stretch myself and push me forward. The benefits for sure outweigh everything else. I am to the point that I look forward to my run at the end of the day and I am actually bummed when I have plans that don’t allow me to run. Yeah, I’m that person right now. And believe me I am more shocked than anybody else.

The Lord has me right here and I believe it is Him who has prompted me to start running and has put the desire in my heart because this discipline is such a great lesson.

When my mind wanders into the negative during my outings I am learning to redirect them and bring them back to a heart of praise for the body that the Lord has given me. When my calves start to cramp up and I am gimping more than running I remember that I can work through it and as I continue on this journey my body will grow stronger and I will get used to this and be able to work through it more effectively.

This is life. We start new and it hurts. We transition into new seasons and our muscles want to rebel and shut down. We have a choice. We can shift our perspective and thank the Lord for a life that is not boring and a life full of mystery and change and beautiful struggles or we can get to the end of the first street and convince ourselves to go home. To give in and to not fight through it. We can say we just don’t want to anymore. We can’t pray about it anymore. We can’t deal and really we just wont. Or we can fight the pain. We can work through the struggle and turn on some worship and thank the Lord that He is near and He is constantly working in and through us and through the change and transition He is making us stronger and more able. And we can know that just as muscle memory kicks in and our breathing pattern steadies and we can run longer than we ever thought possible, that He will throw in a sharp left turn and take us down terrain that we have never experienced before and we can start it all over again. We will struggle as we should. We will hurt and we will be changed but I think that’s the point.

Running is teaching me more and more about discipline. I can stay home and not run because that would be an instant gratification to my flesh. To be lazy and to just sit and take myself, literally, out of the running. Or I can remind myself that as soon as it’s over I am going to feel great. That I will sleep so well that night. That the next day will be easier as I run. That I will be in a better mood and be able to get out the toxins from my body. I am learning to discipline myself to not look at instant gratification but to look at the discipline that will lead to long term benefits. So as I continue to navigate a life that does not look like what I have always dreamed I can shift my perspective to know that God is working through it and He has me here for a reason and He is molding me and shaping me through it. Through the stiffness and pain He is making me stronger as long as I lean into Him.

As I was out the other day I was done with my warmup and it was time to start to run and my feet were heavy and my body stiff and my thoughts were totally negative and this started pumping through my headphones:

“I will trust here in the mystery,

I will trust in you completely,

Awake my soul to sing with your breath in me

I will worship.

You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment and I ,

I will worship,

let the weary rise,

lift their eyes to see,

your love crushing every lie,

every doubt and fear,

So I will,

trust here in the mystery,

I will trust in you completely

Awake my soul to sing with your breath in me I will worship,

you taught my feet to dance upon disappointment and I,

I will worship.

Hallelujah, hallelujah you are making all things new

Hallelujah, hallelujah you are making all things new

Hallelujah, hallelujah you are making all things new

Hallelujah, hallelujah you are making all things new

Awake my soul to sing with your breath in me I will worship

You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment and I,

I will worship.”
 Heroes, Amanda Cook

And I was running.

I want to run the race well. I want to dance upon disappointment and I want to worship and trust the Lord through the mystery.

“So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26&27

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