I’m not a runner. You know that old Biology theory that all creatures have a fight or flight instinct? I’m a fighter, not because I enjoy the fight, but because it requires less movement! Of all the P.E. activities in school and sports I participated in as a youth, whenever running was involved, my legs became heavy and I would groan in my spirit. I’m not a runner.
My 35th birthday is in a few weeks and I’ve started noticing more grey hairs, more mood swings, tighter pants, less energy…generally less overall healthfulness. It wasn’t always like this. I used to enjoy working out and being fit, eating well and feeling better. Somewhere between gaining 55 lbs while pregnant with my first baby and chasing after 3 little ones 5 years later, I realized I had stopped taking care of myself, physically speaking. I retained an average of 6 pounds after each pregnancy times 3 kids…well, you can do the math! The weight isn’t the biggest thing that bothers me; it’s the lack of energy. Some days, I’m tired by 3:00 PM and I’ve got a good 8 hours of the day left!
With a history of high blood pressure and weight gain in my family, I decided this birthday was just the impetus I needed to kick things back into high gear. We own a treadmill so that has been the easiest place to start. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on it, so running (shudder!) is the efficient use of my time. I think I can hear my high school gym teacher snickering around the corner…
As I was huffing and puffing through my 15 minute run today, I was thinking about how good it actually felt to get sweaty and feel my heart pounding. My legs were aching and my hips were begging to know why they were being treated so harshly, but overall, it felt pretty good. I know this new-found interest in being fit was born of the Lord, so I started asking Him about it. He began to show me so many spiritual analogies to the running I’ve been doing in. I don’t have my thoughts collected yet, so I’ll write about those when they are clearer…
When I jumped–no, crawled–off the treadmill, legs like jelly, dripping with sweat, Emma said,
“Mom, why are you running all the time?”
“Well, honey, I just want to be in better shape.”
“What shape do you want to be?”
“No, not that kind of shape. I mean I want to be healthier and take care of the body God gave to me. He wants me to do the best I can with it and use it for Him.”
“Oh.” thinking…. “Does God want you to run a race with your body?”
“Well, in a way. He wants me to keep my muscles and heart and lungs strong and healthy so I can accomplish all that He wants me to. The Bible says we are supposed to “run the good race” which means we are supposed to stay strong in the Lord. Part of running God’s good race and being strong in Jesus is taking care of my body and exercising.”
“Mom, it’s a good thing you started running ’cause I don’t think you were in the race before!”
Thank You, Lord, for my body. Forgive me for taking it for granted and not taking care of the gift that it is to me. Thank You for each new breath. Thank You also, for Emma’s words. If there are ways that I haven’t been in the race and been strong for You, strengthen me and GET ME IN THE RACE! I’d rather be hurt running alongside You than comfortable in the grandstands. I choose You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.