I have picked up running this past summer, something I thought I could never do. And though I am only little over 4 months into my training I am gaining strength. I have a new appreciation and understanding for the words; endurance and perseverance. When I set out to run away from the address that I call home – I have to resolve (decide to do) to keep on foot in front of the other, persisting onward, to get myself back.
I don’t usually run with music, I can clear my head during this time without any interruptions. Someone once laughingly said to me; I wish I knew what went on in your head sometimes. I have a lot of deep thoughts and running gives me the liberty to allow those thoughts to flow and even have dialog with my Lord. I think this is why I enjoy it so much.
At first my training involved just moving, learning to breathe and get my body used to this thing called ‘running.’ I had to do a little at a time by doing intervals between running and walking. Now I am building endurance – to have the strength to run farther than 3 miles, preferably without stopping however I do still do intervals; it’s just longer periods of running and shorter periods of walking.
During one of those times I was putting in miles God showed me something. Ever since I have started running I tend to stress over how long it takes me. Whether it is one mile or five miles I keep track of my time. Some days I have really good times, and then other days I am disappointed on how long it takes me. Then I sensed God telling me that I cannot compare myself to others, not even myself. That some runs will be good, but, there will also be some runs that are not what I would expect. However, no matter the outcome I need to keep what I am trying to achieve in proper perspective. This can be applied to my walk of faith as well. I may experience a victory one day but the next feel as if I have been defeated. I cannot base how close God is to me by withered or not I have good or bad days. I need to have a proper perspective of who I am in Christ Jesus- His workmanship.
Also I have noticed that when I grow tired on my longer runs I tend to lose my posture. My feet get sloppy and even begin to drag on the pavement. I am not purposely picking them up; I am just kind of going through the motion without thought. To be honest, I have almost tripped myself during these times. I have to remind myself to stand up straight not lean forward, keep my arms to my side and deliberately pick my feet up so I don’t trip. Again this can be applied to my walk of faith. When I grow tired I tend to go through the motions of a Christian. I become relaxed in my time for scripture reading. I forget my posture of prayer, and I fail to put on the full armor of God. My faith walk gets sloppy and next thing I know I am being ‘tripped’ by the enemy falling into his schemes. I am not able to recognize that my struggles are not against people, but it is a battle in the spiritual realm (Eph. 6:12). That’s when I have to remind myself to get purposeful again. I cannot get sloppy with quiet time with God or my prayer time. Just as much as gravity wants to pull me down keeping me from running, the enemy wants to pull me down from walking out in my destiny that God has pre-designed for me to do.
So needless to say the past few months of training for 5k runs (one day I will run a full marathon) I am not only learning about physical discipline, I am learning about spiritual discipline.