Well, first I had to go shopping for new and improved running shoes of course, because as any girl can tell you, there is nothing like a new pair of shoes to make something miserable seem more fun! Also, after I actually spent ridiculous amounts of hard-earned cash on a pair of shoes it sort of drove me to actually run. The guilt alone is a motivator.
So I started "running".
You might wonder about the running in asterisks. Why the " " around the word running?
I have too many friends and relations who run- no asterisks required. They clock their distances in miles and it sometimes takes two digits to reflect how far they ran. At one time. We are talking 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons, even full marathons.
I even have one friend, one with whom I shared the joys of having a first born together. We lived in Germany with our Air Force husbands and would get our one-year olds together to play. She now participates in Ironman competitions.
Me? Not so much. I am not quite there just yet.
Okay, I am nowhere close.
But realizing what their running looks like I could not in good conscience exactly call what I am doing running. Not without asterisks. I have too much respect for my friends and family and what they can do. And too much envy.
I, instead, am "running". I have thought of other words that might more accurately describe what I do: shuffle, walk, drag my carcass, limp, stumble. There are others, but I want this to be a "G" rated blog.
And then there are the noises I make. I will spare you the pain of hearing them described.
So the other day I was "running", walking, shuffling and limping and passed by some vultures (we live in the country) on the side of the road cleaning up the road kill and I began thinking that they were looking at me for an uncomfortably long time. Like maybe they were thinking it might be worth it to follow me and see if I would drop.
One of my consolations to my self-imposed torture is to listen to praise music on my ipod. There are some times when I am shuffling and panting along and willing myself to make one step at my slightly faster than walking pace and a song will come on and almost make me forget my pain. And sometimes I will "lift" my hands (they barely get above my head, so I have to put lift in asterisks too!) and praise God in way that is so heartfelt and deep- maybe because of the pain and effort rather than in spite of it.
And so, as I have struggled to regain anything that would resemble being "athletic" or "in shape" (requires asterisks too!) I began thinking about running verses. Ones like:
I Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may win.
Or there is:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
I am supposed to be running my spiritual race with endurance.
Even "running" with endurance.
I am supposed to keep going. To keep believing that "running" is better than not doing anything at all and will in the end produce whatever good the Lord desires.
I mean, if the benefits from faithful, dedicated running are true on a physical plain, how much more on a spiritual one. Right?
But similar to my "running" on my physical streets, I am also often "running" my spiritual race that is set before me and it could also often be better described as shuffling, limping, or dragging my carcass along.
And it may not be pretty. And the vultures might be observing me with anticipation. And I might think and wonder if this race is really worth it.
I mean, am I really doing anything worthwhile at all? Does it even matter? What am I accomplishing? Why not just give up? After all life can be hard and people can disappoint and things just might not turn out like I thought they would. At all.
Why keep "running"?
Because keeping running is exactly what my Lord called me to do. Even if what I do looks more like "running" than running. He didn't ask me to be an Olympic athlete in either the physical realm or in the spiritual realm.
He asked me to be an obedient daughter and servant to the King.
He told me to get out there and run that race. So even when it feels like all I am doing is "running" I need to keep going. Not because I can accomplish something but because He. Told. Me. To.
So tomorrow I will strap on my cute new shoes and hit the road again (hopefully not from falling over face first, but in a more figurative sense). I will "run" past the vultures. I will shuffle past the barking dogs. I will limp up the hill.
And I will feebly lift my hands.
And I will praise my King.
And I will obey.
Until He calls me home.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
I Corinthians 9:26,27