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Posts Tagged ‘Running’

I did it.  I completed my first 5K.  It was so cold that my feet were numb for the whole first mile.  Even though my nose dripped, my stomach was jittery and my gloved hands were not faring much better than my feet, I was content – thanks to adrenaline and an unexpected gift.

I won’t kid you.  I hate to run.  I’m not good at it either.  In karate class, I may aspire to be ninja-like, but running, I resemble something more like a shuffling geisha.

This race was a family affair.  My daughters had partnered with friends, and my husband, an experienced runner, wanted to run for time, so I was on my own.

Shuffle, shuffle…

I ran in my own little world, just taking in the experience.  Then I became aware of something going on, everywhere I looked.  Encouragement.

Runners who had already made the turn were high-fiving those heading to it.

A race volunteer yelled, “You’re almost halfway!  Water station up ahead!  Woo hoo!”

Spectators held a sign which read, “Go Katie J.!”

Runners spoke words of encouragement to one another: “C’mon!  Don’t stop!  You can do it!  Let’s go!”

My husband, who finished well before me, tracked back and ran with me.  “You’re doing great, Honey!  You’re almost there.  Do you hear that cheering?  That’s the finish line.  Do you have some speed in you?”

Apparently I did.  I ran.  Fast.  Faster than I thought I could.  I sprinted past the finish line, while people who didn’t even know me cheered wildly, just because I was one of the people running.

The Apostle Paul often compared living the Christian life to running a race.  Now that I have run one, I totally get that.  And I can see how terribly important it is for us to encourage each other. 

Encouragement can bring a fallen runner to his feet.  Cheers can give a runner speed she didn’t know she had.  Running alongside someone can be the wind in their back.

I am shuffling along in my life race.  At times, I can almost hear the cheers from those who have finished before me.  I am grateful for those who run beside me.  And one day, they will say, “Do you hear the cheering?  That’s the finish line.  Do you have some speed in you?”

And I will run my hardest, straight into my Father’s arms.

 Run the race!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

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I did it.  I finally replaced my crummy old running shoes.  The tread had completely worn away like a couple of bald tires, and the support had broken down so much that I might just as well have strapped pancakes on my feet.  Yes, it was time for a change.

My new shoes feel strange.  The first time I ran in them, I found myself sort of weaving back and forth rather than running in a straight line.  Since the soles are not squashed down like on my old shoes, I have to lift my knees to compensate for the extra height.

Truth be told, I’m not even crazy about how they look.  I wanted the snazzy gray/silver ones with purple on them.  Unfortunately, they didn’t work well on my foot.  (When it comes to running shoes, functionality must win over looks.)  I knew I had to buy the most supportive and cushioning shoes for my feet – which meant the ones with pink on them.  Pink.

I’m not sure if my discomfort is justified, or if I’m just uncomfortable because they’re new.  I tend to hold onto the old pancake shoes in my life because I’m used to them.  Never mind that they no longer work for me and make my knees hurt.

And God, like the Ultimate Dr. Phil, says to me, “How’s that working for you?”

Over the past handful of years, God has been gently tugging me away from the old, worn out things in my life, and inviting me to new roles, fresh perspectives and deeper companionship with Him. 

And oh, do I resist.  “No thanks, God.  I’m comfy (sort of) right here.  I’m really happy (kind of) doing what I’ve been doing.  I’ll just stick with this for a few decades.  Besides, it’s what everyone else expects of me.”

At the heart of it, I’m afraid to step out of my box.  And where there is fear, there is a lack of faith and a lack of trust.  That is not something I want to hold onto anymore.

It’s time for us to take our pancake shoes to the dumpster.

God has big ideas for us. 

If He is the one doing the leading, we can strap on our new shoes and run, shouting hallelujahs all the way.

Let’s roll!

 pancake shoes

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

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I had an epiphany this week.  I was plodding along on the treadmill, hating every step, when it came to me: having a gym membership, in and of itself, does not cause a person to get in shape.  One must actually get off of one’s keester and do the work.

Yeah, I know.  I have a keen eye for the obvious, don’t I?

It is possible that my observational skills on exercise have been clouded by one strong personality trait.  I loooove to be comfortable.

I love to give comfort to others, too.  In my family, I am The Comfort Manager.  If we go on a trip, it is my job to make sure we have snacks, drinks and whatever else will keep everyone happy (i.e. not killing each other).  I’m the family cookie baker, bedtime blessing giver, tear wiper, and boo-boo kisser.  I make sure everyone has clean clothes, sheets and towels.  I make warm dinners on cold nights, and raspberry lemonade on hot days.  This is my job.  I am Mommy!

There’s just one problem.  Comfort is not always a good thing.

In pursuit of comfort, we humans eat too much, exercise too little, watch too much TV and save/give too little.  We want what we want when we want it.  We go into debt, gain weight, and carry on troubled relationships.  I am sorry to tell you that in my lifetime, I have done every one of those things.

My treadmill epiphany, albeit trite, is part of a larger realization for me.  Some of the best things in life are not free.  They are quite costly.

Having a fit body costs hours of sweat and discomfort.  (No, I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.)  Being financially fit costs denying our “wants.”  (Ugh.)  Having a healthy relationship with a teen may mean listening to her music in the car sometimes.  (Double ugh.)  And freedom?  True freedom in Christ?  Well, it costs everything.  Your very life.  And His.

Once you have given your life over to the only One worthy of keeping it, there is a comfort like no other.  It is the comfort that comes from being claimed as one of God’s own, and resting in His care.  It is the only real and lasting comfort there is.

So how are you doing?  Are you comfy?

Challenge yourself to do the hard things.  He did.  (And from what I can tell, it was very uncomfortable…)

If you want it (whatever “it” may be), are you willing to pay the price?

The best things in life are not free.

“…You are not your own.  You were bought at a price…”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, NIV)

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