I Like Running

For those people who know me, they know that I have a slight interest in running.  Maybe “slight interest” is a bit of an understatement.  I’m pretty much obsessed.  I’m presently training for my third marathon – the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 1.  I’m pretty stoked.  And, just FYI, if anyone is interested to see how my training is going, you can click this link to follow me on the road.  With all of that said, a recent post by my good friend over at aFrayedKnot.com asked the question what you are passionate about.  Easily stated, my passion is running.  

With this passion, I’ve run 2 marathons (Country Music Marathon in 2007 and 2008), as well as a small 15k called the Fall Creek Thaw 15k in March 2008.  There are two things I gain from running:

1.) I feel guilty many times that I can dedicate so much time to this passion, yet neglect my relationship with God.  If I miss a run, it almost ruins my day.  I am worried about what effect it will have on my training.  I am a member of an online community RunningAhead.com  where I keep track of all of my runs, and I read in the forums and post quite a bit.  I subscribe to Runner’s World magazine and read it every month for inspiration.  To date, I have logged 930 miles since January 1.  That turns into 130 hours, 50 minutes, and 26 seconds worth of running.  Compared to my spiritual life, running seems to be my main passion.  Yes, many times while I am running I have wonderful prayer times with God and I reflect on sermons and different messages I hear – but the point is…my relationship with God is not on the same level many times. 

2.) When running these different races, it’s like the ultimate equivalent to the Christian life.  The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind from these races is the encouragement from complete strangers who stand on the side of the road cheering on the different runners.  My first marathon, there was no greater feeling than being .2 miles away from the finish and hearing thousands of people lining the sidewalks screaming for everyone crossing the finish line.  It makes me question how encouraging I am in life to people who just need a bit of encouragement in their daily life.

I am reminded of being at 26 miles in my first marathon.  I could hear the roar of the crowd just around the bend.  A 50-something man runs up beside me and begins talking to me.  “This your first marathon?” he asked.  “Yeah, actually its my first race ever, what about you?”  He replies, “My first full, I’ve done quite a few halves.  You’re looking good, you’re almost there, keep going.”  How wonderful that was.  Here is an experienced man in racing just giving me a final bit of encouragement in one of the most challenging things I have ever done.  Once I got close to the finish line, the crowds begin going crazy, not because of me, but because of the lady who was just up ahead of me in a wheelchair with the wheelchair portion of the race.  Here’s the kicker though: she didn’t have a specially crafted racing wheelchair – she was racing in a regular medical wheelchair – an even more amazing task.  She had been on the road for just shy of 5 hours, and as she approached the finish line, THOUSANDS of people were there to cheer her on and congratulate her for her accomplishment.  

This is a bit of a “guilt-you-into-encouraging-people” post, but it has so much truth to it.  Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  When people are down, how can they carry on?  The Bible also speaks of what Christians are to do for those who are down – we are to play that role of encourager.  I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”  Hebrews 10:24 says, “Think of ways to encourage one another.”  Thus, we are commanded to encourage one another.  

How much does this truly happen in the church though?  When you look at your church, I promise that you’ll find plenty of people who are struggling.  Maybe they’re fatigued at a long journey that has been full of bumps and hills that slowed them down.  Maybe they’re just tired and want to finish the task at hand, but they need someone to run up beside them and just give them the boost.  This is such a neglected part in the church in my opinion.  Sure, there are certain people in the church who step up and encourage, but if it is commanded in the Bible, why is it only a select few?  Why doesn’t every Christian step up to do it?  

I challenge you to start looking around you.  Notice those who are struggling.  Maybe the circumstances are completely stacked against them and they just need someone to encourage them in their walk.  Just take a look.  Encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ.  In fact, don’t just stop there, encourage all of those people around you who need it.  As Christians, there should be that aspect of our lives where every person we come in contact with should know of the hope that is within us.

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  1. Daniel
    July 23, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I really like the idea of the man who was also in the race coming up to you and encouraging you to keep going. It makes me wonder just how many times I have said something encouraging to someone who is working hard for the gospel. Even those who are somewhat successful need encouragement at times. It’s universally a good thing.

  2. Lindsey
    August 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    i’m glad to hear your thoughts…now let’s try to live them.

  3. August 1, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    i hate running.

    nothing against those who do though. 🙂

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