I grew up in a running family. I remember when my dad ran his first marathon. I thought he was so amazing. He put in so much time training and working towards this huge beast of a race. When it was over, he breathlessly told us to never let him run a marathon again because it was so awful. He didn’t take our advice, and instead ran many more marathons. But I have vowed to never run a marathon after seeing him that day.
I never understood why he kept doing it, until I have grown up and started running on my own. There is something about running that connects the physical and spiritual aspects of ourselves.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
1st Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
God calls us to take care of our bodies. By running, I am honoring God, by taking care of this gift that he has given me. Our physical bodies are such a precious gift, something that we won’t have forever, and that we are called to be good stewards of. Here on earth, through our physical bodies, we are living, breathing “carriers” of the Holy Spirit. I want to keep my body healthy, so that I can serve God to the best of my ability during my journey on earth, bringing the Spirit of God with me to meet others along the way.
Endorphins! I would say that I’m a pretty nervous/anxious person. It is amazing what running or any type of work out can do for that. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which interact with receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain, and trigger a positive feeling in your body. There has never been a time after I run where I don’t feel less stressed or anxious than I did when I started. Without fail, after a run, my mind feels more at ease and energized; just a better, more relaxed state of mind. In times of extra stress or sadness, it is even harder to get out and run, but it is so worth it.
I can honestly say it changes my whole outlook for the day if I go on a morning run. But why does it matter if I am in this better state of mind? Yes, it’s nice for me to feel better, but I think it also affects the kingdom of God. When I’m anxious and stressed, it takes away from what I can contribute to building the kingdom.
God wants me to be fully alive, energized, and excited to show love to those around me, rather than be held back by fear and anxiety.
Running makes me feel better about myself. When I run, I feel more confident and proud of myself for what I have accomplished. Who doesn’t feel accomplished when they set a goal for themselves, work hard towards that goal, and accomplish it! The confidence that this brings overflows into other areas of my life, and I think that this helps me to see myself the way the Lord sees me. God doesn’t want me to think that I’m not enough, but he wants me to feel empowered, and strong in him.
For me, running is a step towards believing I am who God says I am.
One of my favorite parts of running is the races. I’m maybe the least competitive person you’ll ever meet, but I absolutely love the atmosphere of a race, because I LOVE unity. When you participate in a race, you experience a special community during those few hours. In just a short amount of time, everyone becomes a friend. Everyone is rooting for the new friend running next to them. There is such a strong sense of unity in that atmosphere.
Every single time I experience it, it reminds me of what the body of Christ is meant to look like. Imagine if we all had each other’s backs, and cheered each other on, in the same way we do at a race? Wow!
So, if you are thinking about starting to run with spring around the corner, I would highly encourage you to sign up for a race, of any distance. It is also a great way to motivate yourself, and I think you will be surprised at what you can accomplish and what it does in your life and relationship with God!