Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Running tales

I have loved to run for just about fifteen years. Makes me sound so old, but it's true. When I was running, I wasn't just exercising; I was exploring, I was challenging myself, I was free. Which explains a little why I miss it so much. I haven't been able to run much for the past year. I guess my knees had a private meeting and decided to strike for an early retirement. Oh, I've tried to coax them back into the running scene, where they rightfully belong. I've tried just about everything - icing, heating, physical therapy, stretching, cross-training, resting, yelling, sweet-talking, praying, ignoring - but like the rest of me, they can be pretty stubborn. So I've resigned myself to other types of activity and have found a few things that come close to running, but not quite.

The irony of it is that the same could be said of my spiritual running this past year. After years and years of running, my ol' spiritual knees just decided they couldn't handle as much as they used to. I've tried a lot of coaxing, a lot of praying, a lot of things, but nothing seems to fix them (my spiritual knees, that is). I've slowed down. Sometimes, or perhaps much of the time, it feels more like I'm hobbling than running. I think to myself, "I'm much too young for this, right?"

I could stop there with the comparison and just let it be a strange correlation. But that wouldn't be the whole story. I was realizing yesterday (I think God must have planted the thought in my head) that the story of my physical inability to run doesn't have to be story of my spiritual running. I sat with that a moment. You see, with my body, it breaks down over time or with injury, and I have to give into its limitation, much as I fight it. But not so with my spiritual body. It doesn't break down over time. I don't have the same limitations as the rest of my body when it comes to running the course of this life with God.

When my body refuses to run, I sort of have no choice after awhile but to give in and listen to it. But when my spiritual body starts refusing to run, or run well, the amazing reality is that... I keep running. Not because I'm some supernatural being, just because Jesus is. No matter how tired and worn out I get, even spiritually, Jesus is absolutely committed to helping me finish this run - and finish it well. He's already staked his life on it. My marathon days may be over, but not with Jesus. I will never have a spiritual or physical limitation that keeps me from running this marathon of life with Christ.

That is my nugget of hope for the day. My running days are not finished yet.

"Spirit now living and dwelling within me
keep my eyes fixed ever on Jesus' face
Let not the things of this world ever sway me
I'll run till I finish the race" ~ Brooke Fraser

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