I started running again. I have never been a serious runner. It’s easy to make excuses to sit at home on my behind.
“I’m reading a book, so I’m actually exercising my mind.”
“I don’t have time for this stuff. I barely have enough time to do the things I really want to do.”
“I am not built properly. I’ll injure myself.”
“Runners’ feet stink. I don’t want that to happen to me.” ***
“I just don’t like to run.”
“I was humiliated in high school by their running program. They made me feel terrible about myself. No thanks.”
But I am motivated when I watch my husband. He’s a very serious runner. 30+ miles a week, up at 5:45 every morning to get it done, and he’s a basket case if the weather or illness prevents him from running for several days in a row.
My desire to run isn’t because he shoves books about ultra-marathoning under my nose. He has those books. He reads them, but he doesn’t expect me to read them. I’m not a marathoner. He has given me books, of course; books by John “The Penguin” Bingham like “The Courage to Start.” The Penguin is on my wavelength. He’s not fast, but he perseveres for the joy and benefits of running. It’s inspirational to a potato such as myself.
My motivation to run doesn’t come from the health nuts on television screaming that America is the fattest nation on earth. That 2/3 of us are overweight. That obesity is moving up as the number one preventable cause of death in this country. *Yawn* All those poor, fat people. That’s them, not me.
I want to run because I want what my husband has. The peace he has after a long run is enviable, sure. And the knowledge that in a zombie apocalypse, the ability to run faster than the shuffling hoard can mean survival is pretty cool, too. But mostly, I covet his ability to polish off three bowls of pasta and remain fighting trim. I want that. Desperately. So I get up off my duff on days that it’s not raining or icy and do a bit of running.
Is it pretty? No. What I do is not so much running, or even jogging. I’d call my form “joggling.” But it works for me. And it’s getting me to where I want to be. I made it through the holidays, and my pants still fit. That’s what I call results, folks. And I like how I feel.
I wish that more of us would take the same approach with the matter of religion. I wish that we would all live our lives in such a way that non-believers would want what we had.
When it comes to Christ’s love, I wish that we could set aside the telling and move on to the showing. Telling doesn’t usually work so well; not in health pursuits, not in writing, not in religion. Saying “I love all God’s children” sounds great. Helping a stranger get their car out of a ditch in terrible weather might just carry a stronger message. Or buying a meal for someone who is hungry.
And yelling is even less effective than using plain words. I don’t think I’m the only one who was born with the deep desire to do exactly the opposite of what I’m told I have to do.
I know that eternal damnation is a part of the Bible, just like hill repeats are part of training for a race. But if we throw such an intense training plan in front of someone who hasn’t run a step since 9th grade, they’re not all that likely to lace up those running shoes and hit the trail. If it’s all terror and torment, who wants to be a part of that? Start with the peace; the love. There’s time to cover the rest.
As Christians, we need to take a Hippocratic oath of sorts. “First, do no harm.” So many people are anti-Christian because they have been hurt by The Church. I was one of those. I walked away from religion for many years. I was fortunate. I never walked away from God. But many have. It’s even more important for us not to drive people away from the love of Christ than it is to bring people to God.
My challenge to fellow Christians is to live your lives in such a way that people want what you have. If you believe in a God of peace, have peace. If you believe in a God of forgiveness, you must forgive. If you believe in a God of love, show love. Ask God to keep His arm around your shoulder, and His hand over your mouth. Let your love for God be demonstrated in all that you do.
*** With apologies to my husband. Your feet smell just fine, sweetie!