Running Into God
My heart was fluttering rapidly, racing. I couldn’t breathe. I had that numb feeling in my nose that I get every time I’m about to cry. I felt like I was turning in circles. I put on my workout gear and laced up my sneakers, trying to take deep, calming breaths. I was desperate for an escape, so I decided to hit the pavement. It was painful—I hadn’t run in 2 years!—but I could feel my head clearing with every pound of my shoes on the cement. I could only do a mile, but when I got home, I felt better. I wasn’t “cured” by any means, but I was different.
For years, I had wanted to participate in a Disney run. I could barely make it through a 5k—the only race I ever considered--without complaining, but the Disney races seemed so magical. I always checked in on race dates, but my husband’s schedule made it impossible to guarantee any plan to do it together. This led to a lot of resentment on my part. I wasn’t the runner, and I wanted him with me for support and pace. Why couldn’t he see how badly I wanted to do it and make sacrifices?
It hadn’t occurred to me that maybe it just wasn’t God’s time for that.
At that point, I wasn’t committed to fitness and a healthier lifestyle the way I am now. I ate whatever I wanted, complained about how I felt, and then punished myself for those choices later. I knew I struggled with anxiety, but I didn’t realize how beneficial exercise could be for coping with those symptoms. Truth be told, I hated exercise. I really didn’t have a healthy relationship with myself. And I didn’t have the patience or commitment to have that relationship.
This coming Sunday, February 24, I will be participating in my very first half marathon. And it’s a Disney race. The Disney Princess Half Marathon. As I’ve prepared, I started to think about how and why I signed up in the first place. I had only planned on doing the 10k, but when I went online to register, both the 5k and 10k were sold out. I figured it was as good a time as any to give it a go, and this little voice in my head said Go for it. I had never felt more motivated or more prepared to do such an endeavor. It felt like all the running I had been doing had been leading up to this moment without me even thinking about it.
I have no explanation for why I suddenly wanted to run that day except that the Lord was showing me how He was going to strengthen me. If it hadn’t been for that day, I wouldn’t have changed my outlook on fitness and health. I wouldn’t be gearing up for my first half marathon. I wouldn’t have a healthier approach to my mental health.
This season has really shown me the ways God can work in our lives when we give Him the room. Sometimes we have to come to that breaking point, to a place where we are out of options, before we see that He is our best—and only—option.
What is your relationship with yourself like? With your health and fitness? Be honest. Do you want that to change?
What has God used in your life to strengthen you?
What is something you are longing to do but simply can’t imagine right now?
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