I never considered myself to be much of an athlete. As center on my grade school basketball team, I experienced one victorious game during my three-year stint. We didn’t take it seriously enough and did everything short of eating milk and cookies during our practices. As a freshman in high school, I gave soccer a whopping two-week try before giving up.
By the time I was a junior, I was a bit rough ‘n’ tough, so I became a defensive lineman on the powder puff football team. I thought I found my niche during this short-lived season, but during the year that followed I had picked up some self-destructive habits. By the next season, I couldn’t hack the running and dropped out after the second practice.
Thank God that I put away the childish behaviors and began taking better care of myself as an adult. After the births of each of my children, in-home work-outs whipped me back into shape. Then, after the birth of my sixth child, I got bit by the running bug.
It all started while I was a stay-at-home mom and my middle-school daughter wanted to try out for the track team. In preparation for try-outs, she trained around town for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want her out there alone, so for safety’s sake, I accompanied her. She and her coach discovered that she was made for sprints and hurdles. I discovered that enjoyed the time out of the house!
When I run, I unplug from the world. It’s the time to empty my mind and have God fill it back up again. The physical and mental health benefits are tremendous, but it’s the spiritual benefits I seek the most. Some people refer to their “prayer closet,” a personal place to be alone with God to share their deepest thoughts, feelings, hurts… literally everything. My closet, my escape, is found in the solitude of a run.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
~ Jesus Christ, in Matthew 5:6,7
Today is National Running Day, a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. So I join those in celebrating the sport. When I go for my run tonight, I’ll be thanking God for the transforming work He has done in me – in my body, my mind, my soul and my spirit. All glory to the One who gave us our legs with which to run and the earth on which to run. If running’s just not your thing, I get that. But for heaven’s sake, and for your sake, take care of yourself. Remember, it’s never too late to start.
Speaking of start, the sun’s almost down and I didn’t go for my run yet. I’m out the door… See ya!