It’s funny how you can passionately hate something so much and then one day grow to love it. I’m sure you can relate, too. We’ve all had a movie, song, food, or tv show character that we couldn’t stand and then over time it grew onto us to the point that we really really liked it. This is my recent story with running. If I were to go back in time a few years ago and tell myself this story, I’d take my future self hostage and check him into a psych ward…but things change.
You see, when I was in middle school, we did this thing called the timed mile. This was one of the worst days of my life. For the next couple years, it continued to be the worst day ever as well because it was the closest feeling of death I could experience. At that point in my life, I was about eight inches shorter than I am now, and about ten pounds or so heavier. Translation: I was over weight and “allergic” to physical activity. I was borderline addicted to video games, and doing anything strenuous wasn’t what I was about. I’m not saying video games are bad, in fact I’m confident they helped me keep my sanity in high school and kept me out of drugs and other stupid things, I’m just saying I was a lazy blob.
Anyways, fast forward to senior year. I hit a growth spurt and looked like a skeleton from the sudden weight loss due to those eight inches of body. I knew that I needed to try to look a little healthier and I felt like I needed to get in better shape. One day after I got off of work at BK, I went home and attempted to run my first mile since the whopping 13:00ish mile I ran back during freshman year. I took about six breaks, went inside to lay on the couch, saw stars, and felt imminent death. It wasn’t pretty. As the years went on, I managed to do a mile without stopping and eventually got up to a couple. I wasn’t fast by any means and averaged around a 10 min mile, but I was actually doing it.
As the years went on, I continued to run occasionally, but didn’t push myself to go faster or too much further. Three miles was often my top distance and eight and a half minutes was avearge for me. That all changed last October when I did something crazy and signed myself up for my first timed race. I had never done any race before, so I figured why not skip the 5K and go right into a mini-marathon? Makes sense doesn’t it? You know, sometimes I don’t understand myself…and by sometimes I mean nearly all the time. Although I struggled with that race and raged throughout it, I accomplished something big for myself that day and created a monster. I sparked something inside of me that wanted to go further and faster. I found a hobby that I was somewhat passionate about. This was new and good considering I had missed out on all sports in high school on the count of being a tubby lumpkins and whatnot.
Why exactly am I rambling on about this? To the average Joe reading this, you probably think I’m insane for liking something as crazy as running. I know, I know, you’re only supposed to run if somebody is trying to murder you or if a lion is going to eat you. For the health freaks reading this, you’re probably thinking I’m a hipster who’s not even all that good at it, and that’s fine! You’re kind of right. I know I’m not the best and I have a long way to go for improvement, but it’s fine by me. You see, the main reason I strive to push myself further and faster and the main reason I’m so addicted to running is because I’m so addicted to God. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve re-purposed why I run and why I stay active and I’ve put God at the center of why I do it all.
For you fellow Christians, each one of us has our own way of worshiping God. Some of us sing out to Him (my voice would make your blood curdle) and some of us write journals to Him. There’s thousands of ways to do it too, which makes it so awesome! Well, one of the more recent ways I’ve found that I like to worship is by spending time alone with Him on the road one on one. Not only does it help eliminate all the stress of the day/week, it allows me to reassess my life regularly, pray/praise for the countless things that in my life that I don’t deserve one bit, and it gives me peace. It’s more than a blessing.
When I’m out running on the road, I crank my music up and I just start talking to God. I thank Him for the huge things in my life and I thank Him for the little things. I mean I even thank Him for allowing the road to be clear when I run past Meridian so I don’t have to stop for traffic. He totes deserves all of the praise too! I know some of you reading this may not have that type of relationship with God or one at all, and that’s totally fine! However, I can’t express to you in words how great it feels to have an extraordinary God that can make you feel as overwhelmingly loved as He make me feel. It’s the greatest feeling in the world and I can only hope that you can experience this yourself one day.
Call me a cheater, but the best part of all of this is the rush I get towards the end of my runs. No matter how far I run, I almost always sprint at the very end. This is due to the “runner’s high” I experience when I know I’m almost at the end. I use this to my advantage during 5Ks and other races. I get close to the end, turn on a worship song that really hits the feels, and just let absolutely everything go. My mind clears, my body starts pumping with adrenaline, and everything starts feeling fuzzy and tingly and stuff. You might think it’s just coincidence, but I really think it’s the Holy Spirit talking to me in these instances. I just feel so incredibly at peace at these times and I feel overwhelmed with love. For a few seconds, everything slows down and I feel weightless. Life just stops for a few seconds and all the hurt and pain and crap we feel from day today disappears. It feels perfect for an instant, and then it’s over. Again, I can’t describe it…but you’re totally missing out if you’ve never felt this before!
Regarding distance, I try hard to push myself out of my comfort zone. No matter how much pain might come from distances, how huge of blisters I might get on my narsty looking feet, and how sore my legs get, I know that there was once a man who came to this earth who was an exponentially better person than I am and who suffered an incomprehensible amount of pain and torture to grant me freedom and salvation that I am not worthy of. For that reason alone, I am able to man up for a couple more miles and push myself just a little further each time. It’s the least I can do.
I know I’m rambling on and on about this, but I just wanted to put some encouraging words out there for people and fill some people in as to why I’ve adapted the new life style. I know running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine! I just want you all to know that no matter what you do in life, find a purpose in it. Enjoy what you do, but don’t do it meaningless. Find something to shoot for and have a reason to do it. Sure you can go into it blind and not have any motivation, but your results will be so much more glorious if you’re shooting for something! For me, that something is God’s Kingdom. I know I’m only a rookie at this whole running thing, but I’m glad. It fills me with joy knowing I have many, many more years to get faster and stronger both physically and spiritually. I’m more than fine with having a reason to push myself harder for God.
Maybe there’s something you haven’t done in a very long time because you resent it. Who know, maybe you’ll develop a new passion for it and it’ll become your new form of stress relief. We can all live with a little more of that. Whatever the case may be, find something you love to do and own it.
Thanks bunches for checking this out.
Love your faces so hard!