To start things off, I’d like to get one thing straight—I am by no means a runner. Frankly, I still huff and puff, I suck at pacing myself, and I look like a T-rex the way I swing my arms. With this in mind, this is for everyone to read, not just for runners. Surprisingly, however, even though I look like a doofus attempting to run sometimes, there has been a lot that training for a marathon has taught me about myself and my faith in Jesus. For example:
- Without accountability, I do TERRIBLE.
- Honestly. If it wasn’t for my Nike+ app and friends asking if I’ve been training, there would be sooooo many days I hadn’t had ran because I didn’t feel like it, making my time slower and it impossible to run a marathon. And my faith is the same way. When I don’t have people to share the crap and sin that I struggle with, my faith suffers. The Bible calls us to be open and honest with our sins and struggles, and people to hold us accountable. When we don’t seek accountability, we remain in darkness, making pretty sub-par Christians. (See John 3:20, Ephesians 5:7-14, or Isaiah 29:15-16 for more on this.)
- It takes diligence
- If running took no effort, and I was able to eat as much pizza as I want and not have to do it almost daily but still be able to have amazing times per mile, that would be AWESOME. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Running takes dedication, a lot of time, and a drive. Christianity is the same way. Every day I wake up, I need to start my day in prayer, or it’s a lot easier for me to live life as the selfish jerk that I can be at times. It’s a daily death to myself, and takes some energy and focus. (See Proverbs 13:4, Galatians 6:9, 2 Peter 3:14, James 1:12, and 2 Timothy 4:1-8 for more on this.)
- It takes me out of my comfort zone
- Growing up, I was never athletic, and in my opinion I’m still not. When I run, my goal in races is to not finish last, because I’m one of the least competitive people you will probably meet in your life (for proof, I can show you a picture of me in biddy basketball, standing watching two kids fight over a jump ball. Seriously, it's at my parent's house). Running puts me in a culture full of athletic people. Running forces me to be slightly competitive so that I at least care to run the race with everything I have. My faith takes me out of my comfort zone, too. God normally doesn’t call me to do things that I feel comfortable doing. God never promised me health, safety, or monetary gain. In fact, God tells us that following Him will be costly, and that we shouldn’t expect our lives to remain the same, but to expect God to call us to do things that might seem a little crazy and might make me feel pretty uneasy. (See Matthew 8:18-22, James 1:1-8, the story of God calling Moses in Exodus 2:11—3, or Mark 16:14-18 for more on this.)
In all, I’m not the best Christian by any means (I still struggle, I still stumble, and I can be prideful at times), nor am I the best runner (I have tripped and fallen a few times will running, and I just can’t stop eating pizza and cookies forever. Sorry you crazy runner health nuts out there). With all of these similarities, it’s been really cool to pray and think while I run. It gives me time to relax, and process through things. So maybe you should try running, too. *finger guns and winks at you*