Running…back to the basics

Four years ago she invited me.

My friend, Beth, the runner… asked me to go running.

“Hello. My name is Becky. And I’m not much of a runner.”

Park at the church, 6am. Three to four moms meet and run from our car to the red light and back to the church. 3.2 miles. It will take us a little over thirty minutes.

Hello, again. Still not much of a runner. But…three to four moms? No children. Tempting. Having little babies meant little (to no) quality time or conversation with adults.

O.K. I’m in! (Still wasn’t too crazy about the running part)

Off we’d go. Three early, dark summer mornings a week. Before daddies left for work. Before little people needed waffles. Three to four women.

Running for sanity.

I found that even though I wasn’t that great of a runner, I needed time away from little people and waffles. And guess what? There really is such a thing as a runner’s high. Who knew?

Over time, 6am and 3.2 miles wasn’t torture. My body finally stopped the “shouldn’t we be sleeping” arguments.

I was actually starting to, um, like it. This running.
As the years changed, so did schedules. Kindergarten meant earlier waffles and hair combing for little people. Running with those three to four women became a “thing we used to do together.” Man, I miss seeing them as often.
But the running. Nope, I wasn’t quite ready to quit that.
I was, I mean, It was just getting good. This running. (Do you see where this is going?)
Overtime, however, a new unhealthy trend was beginning…If I wasn’t running, I was planning to run. If I wasn’t planning to run, I was thinking about it. If I wasn’t thinking about it, it was probably because I was running again.

Running was becoming a part of me. This “good” thing becoming more of a God thing.

And as Driscoll says, “That’s a bad thing.”

It took me a couple of years to see it, but so much of my energy, both physically and spiritually, was being spent on pavement. And as a wife and mother, I was being irresponsible with my energy reserves and resources. They were all being used up in the wrong place.
The solution? Well, for me, the Miss-All-Or-Nothing type, this meant…stop running.

No more races. Stop the long mileage. Back away from the running shoes.

Oh, I missed that pavement. And the high.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

With sober judgement I asked myself, “Why do I run? What makes me love it? When did it become a stronghold? How can I prevent this? Who will keep me accountable? What can I do to avoid the “I’ve gotta run” cycle? How can I glorify God in everything, even running?

Prayer and time away. Two very good things.

(Not just for runners)

Over the past few months, I tiptoed back onto the streets. Being very careful of the snares waiting to trap me. I know where they hide now.

The church, the red light, the 3.2 miles. All the same.

My heart? Very different.

Last Sunday, my running cohort and dear friend, Jody, and I ran the Knoxville Half Marathon. It wasn’t my first time. But in many ways it was.
(She will kill me for posting this picture. Isn’t she a doll?)
For the first time, I noticed the sunrise over the city. And all of the faces. Family and friends holding posters and ringing cowbells, waiting for people I didn’t know. I experienced hundreds of people, packed in closely, excited, nervous runners. Jody and I giddy and prayerful. Waiting on tippy toes.
And then…gunfire. And cheers.
For the first time, I embraced the race. Not my run.

Very different.

Instead of watching my feet, I looked up. Seeing what God was doing all around me. Realizing that I was a piece to the big picture.

This race was a gift.

My job – run hard. Do my best. Pray. Be thankful. Enjoy His presence. Don’t give up.
Striking life parallels, yes?

I’m not one to quote cheesy cliches, but...”If you love something set it free…” You know that one?

Well it came back to me. This running.

And with it came the remembrances of why I began…


*Good health.

*Experiencing God’s creation.

*Enjoying my Maker.

Even my silly running…all about Him. For His Glory.

And now, I find it very fitting that I park my car at a church.
He is my beginning and my end. In every way imaginable.
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. Hebrews 12:1-2
Be blessed today, and whatever you do, in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus — even if it is running. (Col. 3:17)

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