Monday, November 18, 2013

Running & Redemption

 I have, for most of my adult life, hated running. 
 Loathed it.
I played sports in High School and when I was late to practice, or when I missed a free throw, or if a ground ball got by  me, the punishment was running.  I was always the one who said "If I am running, come rescue me, because something must be chasing me." 
But secretly, (ok, not-so-secretly anymore now that I have put it on my blog)
I have always, always, always wanted to be a runner.
   People inspire me.  I once went to watch the Nashville marathon.  I left so motivated that I went home, SPRINTED a mile, and haven't even thought of running since then. 
 I was getting bored with my exercise routine, and a friend suggested I train for a 5k. 
Guess what?  I am training for a 5k. 
Most people train for marathons, I know, but not this girl. I had no idea how much more I was going to learn ABOUT LIFE by simply starting the couch-to-5k running plan. 
So far, (I am on week 6) running has been more about character development than training for the Red Shoe Run in Homewood, AL in January.   
I didn't know God wanted to reveal himself with me through this process, but he absolutely is. 
 I understand more of why Paul compares our journey of faith to a "race".
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.'
1 Timothy 4:7
Getting outside to get started was the hardest part.  Doing something that I do not want to do has never been a strong point of mine.  And I knew this about myself when I initially said I wanted to run the 5k.  So, I paid upfront.  Something is invested, so I can't give up. There is a goal in mind. There is so much to anticipate when I cross that finish line after RUNNING a 5k.  My training will pay off. 
I can only imagine that I will be so excited!! Looking to my goal keeps things in perspective. 
And how much more glory will be revealed when I see Jesus' face?
Training for this 5k hasn't exactly been convenient.  With the time change, it almost gave me a reason not to do it.  It's dark when I get off work, there isn't enough time before work, and I can't train on a treadmill and expect it to be the same as running outside.  But I am seeing that I make time for what is important to me.  I take it one day at a time, and
I don't look ahead to tomorrow's workout. 
There is enough time in everyday to do what God has planned for me to do. 
At first, I would run on trails where I knew I wouldn't see anyone.  I didn't want anyone to see me running.  I am slow. I am definitely not the typical body type for a runner.  I would make sure not to look up and make eye contact with anyone.  But as the weeks have gone on, I have started noticing that friendly smile from a fellow runner...and that smile
 is what keeps me persevering.  That "thumbs up" I get from someone passing
by is irreplaceable. I haven't always seen my need
for my fellow "runners", but now they are a huge part of my training for that day. 
And we all have one goal in mind: to finish our run for that day.  And running alongside others, well it motivates me.
And so it is with me and all of my fellow runners, in the race of faith. 
Another excuse I always used was my foot.  While my foot does have its legitimate weaknesses, it is not paralyzing.  Actually, running is making my foot much stronger.  I do take "off days" to rest my foot.  I need to rest it. 
But I do not need to let my weakness be used as a reason not to meet my goal. It's a form of a trial, not a roadblock. I will not give up.  Even when it is painful!
I love that God takes the mundane, ordinary events in our life and reveals himself to us.  Often in unexpected places. Now that I am into it, it's not so bad.  I actually look forward to it SOMEDAYS.  But I know that the training is preparing me for an even bigger goal.  And I see progress.
And so it is with my race of ordinary days of "training" are preparing me
for an even greater day.  The ultimate day!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God...
...for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
(Hebrews 12:1-2, 11)

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