I recently signed up to run my first half-marathon. I'm more than a little behind in training, because I dragged my feet for weeks before finally committing to it. But $59 tells me that yes, I am committed.
Now, here is one very important thing to know about me: I am a quitter.
It's true! I could make a profession out of quitting things. My home is full of unfinished plans and projects. I can think of very few times in my life where I've set my mind to do something and actually saw it through to completion. I would love to have the stick-to-it attitude that I admire so much in others, but I don't.
In this case, however, I am quite literally surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. A group of awesome ladies from my awesome church have banded together to run/walk/jog/crawl this half marathon as a group, in the spirit of giving our bodies back to the one who created them. We have come to the understanding that we are not our own - we were bought with the blood of Jesus. What we do with the bodies we have been given is not merely a physical act (or lack thereof) - it is spiritual. My body and my spirit cannot be separated - I am one being, created by God for his glory and his purposes.
There's a whole lot of theology in there that I am just beginning to understand, and I won't get into it right now (listen here - "Plato and the Prostitutes" - for some real wisdom on this subject). But suffice to say, I've gained a lot of new understanding that has changed my perspective on health, fitness, wellness, and yes - running!
So, I signed up. To run. I know that I can stop and walk as much as I need to, but I really, really want to run the whole 13 miles. To some of you, 13 miles is nothing. I have friends who run marathons, after all. But to me, it's a formidable task. I ran track in high school - very poorly. I once came in dead last at league meet - and there are a lot of runners in a league track meet. I ran 8 miles, once, a couple of years ago. I run here and there, but not consistently. I have definitely not been in training.
But I am determined. This time, I am going to see something through to the end. I ran 6.5 the other day, and I felt great! I was slow, and it was flat, but it was wonderful to actually enjoy myself. Yesterday, I ran three miles, fast, and I wanted to die. So as I ran, I thought through the (new) reasons that I am running:
I am running to get into shape. My body isn't nearly as healthy as it should be, and I want to be strong and fit. I have big kids to lug around.
I am running to look good for my husband. Call me shallow, but I want to fit back into my favorite jeans without having to camoflauge my lovely muffin tops. I want my husband to feel proud of his hot wife.
I am running because it gives me a few moments to be alone, to pray and worship and think and listen, without the constant noise and needs of two little kids.
I am running, if for no other reason, out of obedience. God's word instructs me to glorify God in my body (1 Cor 6:20), and to be disciplined and self-controlled (Gal 5:22). I know that if God says it, it has good purpose. I want whatever he has for me. I want to run my race.
I am halfway to a goal that still feels daunting, but no longer impossible. After all, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13)." Are you running your race?
Now, not to get