Friday, February 24, 2012

Running for Joy

As I stand in the hallway of Wayzata High School at the end of another school week, I've been pondering the thoughts of why I do what I do (not just running, but my job, lifestyle, etc.). There's a long story of why I've been pondering all of that but I won't get into that right now. When it comes to my running, I feel very comfortable in knowing why I run and what I am running for, and I felt like I should share that with all of you.

I began running simply to keep in shape for high school basketball but quickly discovered I was very good at the sport. Eventually, running became my main sport and I continued it into college. When injuries and struggles came about, I really began to question my motivations for running. Was it simply to stay in shape, was it to be competitive, was it for notoriety? I was very unsure and for much of college I struggled with my running successes. Near the end of college, I became a Christian and began learning a ton about my faith and my purpose in this world. For me, everything I learned made sense when it came to my job, my relationships and just about everything else. I still was unsure when it came to running though.

I always found a sense of calmness when I ran and a great feeling of joy from the sport. Not too long after I graduated from college, I came to a verse from 1 Corinthians that really stuck with me, and still does to this day. It read:

"Glorify God in your body and in your mind, which are God's." - 1 Corinthians 6:20

As I learned more about the context of this verse, it was focusing in on telling the readers about purity with their body and their minds, but at the same time, it also means to take care of your body and your mind because ultimately, they were created by and belong to God. This was powerful stuff! Because my body belonged to the God who created me, I needed to take care of what was His. This opened my eyes to what my purpose in running was and really began to shape what I thought about when I ran. I now had a new found motivation to was a way of honoring and worshiping God that I truly loved and enjoyed!

The title of this blog is "Running for Joy." The title is not of my own creation. Ryan Hall, a top American marathoner, gave me the idea for the title from his book with the same name. He was going through a similar struggle in preparing for his training leading up to the 2010 Boston Marathon. The book was his training journal throughout his preparation and he spoke of his struggles and successes with training, racing, and honoring God through running. Hall wanted every run and every race to be a form of worship to God, who made him and gave him the ability and joy to run.

This is very much how I now feel today. I spend time before each race briefly praying that it would be a way to honor God, the one who gave me the joy and ability to run in the first place. Without Him, I wouldn't be able to run and I honor God with every step I take.

Finding joy in that, there is no better feeling.

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