I have not always been a runner. I have always enjoyed sports. I played soccer in high school and college and always considered myself somewhat in shape.
But several years ago I hit my highest weight, realized I had a pretty sedentary lifestyle, and was eating very poorly. I changed my diet at that point and with a change in my diet I found a lot more energy. At that point I was mountain biking regularly and a few friends suggested I run a triathlon. The biking drew me in, but the experience of a few triathlons over a couple of summers spit me out the other side a runner.
It has now been a little less than ten years and I have rarely gone a few days without running.
At the start of this summer, I woke up one morning after a neighborhood basketball game to a swollen and sore knee. And I have not had a good run now in over two months.
Running has become for me a defragmenting of the hard drive, a time to process and think. I often listen to sermons, but I find that my time running has helped me in prayer, helped me in my own sermon preparation, and has helped me take the edge off my high strung personality. I love runnning, and it has been very difficult to take such a long break from it.
This time away has led me to reflect on whether or not running has become an idol to me? Has it become an addiction or something that I use in the place of God to satisfy, to bring peace, or to give me hope?
As I have reflected on this, I believe that thinking about these things can often become confusing in the mind of a Christian. It’s okay to like running, right? Is it okay to want to go running every day? Is it okay to be sad if I cannot run? I believe so. I have heard it often said, that anything that you would be disappointed to have taken away from you is an idol.
But I don’t believe that. God has given to us many good things, and I am thankful that God has given us running. And in this time of healing and frustration, I have had the opportunity to learn and reflect on a couple of lessons that the absence of running is teaching me.
1. This body is wearing out. The effects of the Fall are real. I am not what I once was, and there will come a day when this body ceases to run. So gratitude for every day ought to motivate me.
2. The amazing reality that God is planning a restored earth for His people is glorious! The hope of the Christian is for resurrection. And although this body will fail in death, it will be restored in wholeness and completeness.
I do not worship running, but I love it! I am thankful for it, and I know that one day, this body will be made new and this earth will be restored. And then I will really run!