Friday, May 04, 2007

Lessons in Running

As you probably already know, the Bible often compares the Christian life to a race. See 1 Corinthians 9, Galatians 2 and 5, Philippians 2:16, Hebrews 12, etc. All of the running verses often come to mind when I run. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't run very often. I admire my friends like Becky, Alicia and co-worker Robin who spent time and disciplined themselves to enter in some recent 5K's and mini-marathons. Sounds long and painful to me, but I think it's incredible and I applaud them. A friend of mine, Sarah Dodson, recently decided to ask friends/fam and whoever so pleased to lace up their tennis shoes and start a running training plan with her. I like it because it's slow and I always know that Sarah is running, too. Well, I jumped in at Week 2 and we're only at Week 4, so I'll keep you posted.

Here's the lesson I learned (or rather, was reminded of) this week. On Monday, I was supposed to run 1.5 miles. Southern's gym was pretty full. Dustin's intermural team was warming up and I could see them over the balcony on half of each lap and on the other half, I could observe the weight room people, swimmers, and raquetball players. I passed moms with strollers chatting it up and seminary guys hauling it. There were students from other countries. It was quite a lively place to be and run.

On Wednesday, I didn't go run until after dinner. Wow... No one. Not a soul in the gym or on the track and only 2 people in the weight room who eventually left. I think I saw tumbleweed. I was only supposed to run 1 mile that day but it was harder. Not necessarily physically. Mentally? I don't know, but it was just sort of lonely or something. The one mile seemed alone seemed equally as challenging or even more perhaps than the 1.5 surrounded with others.

This reminded me of all of those "running verses" and I started meditating on the fact that we can't run this race alone. We need to be surrounded with other believers. We need to encourage each other. Share burdens. Pray. Love. Listen. Admonish. We need to be intimately involved in the community of our local church. I don't want to forget that. I don't want to live my days like an independent believer. "Just me and God" type thinking is dangerous. While this lesson is nothing new persay, it hit me. I told Dustin later about all that I learned while running. It was a good picture for me. Although I'm not one to make an analogy out of every life adventure, running ones are always helpful. Why? A million reasons. The discipline required. The hindrances you must throw off. The way you must set your eyes upon Jesus Christ. You could go on. You have to make time to run. Plan to run. Maybe I'm stretching this, but I just kept contemplating the fact that you need other believers; you weren't meant to go at it alone.

Today's 2 miles. I'll keep chewing on this. See you there.


sarahdodson said...

This is really good, Jamie! Thank you so much for putting it out there for us to read. You're right on. TWO MILES today?? ughh... Think we can do it? Well, that's what I'm pushing for:) I'll let you know how it goes.

One verse I've been thinking about concerning running is,
"bodily exercise profiteth little, but exercise thyself rather unto godliness." (not sure right off where it's found) Bodily exercise DOES profit, but it's little compared to the pursuit of godliness. It's just a good reminder for us. NOT to discourage physical running, but to keep it in perspective.

I really like what you shared:) Hope you have a most blessed day!

mindy said...

I enjoy thinking about this type of thing (as you may alrady know, Jamie), and it is encouraging to see that the Lord teaches those He loves constantly.
We had track and field day for the fifth graders and my class went along too. Any student could run any race, and some of our students (who I would least expect to go out and run in front of their peers) did because they had people cheering them on. It is neat to see what a person will do with a little bit of encouragment. We have had a few sermons the past couple of months at Heritage about the local church. We talked about what an encouragement it is to those around by simply being present at church. Wow! I hadn't thought about how encouraging it is to just be around likeminded people. Lord willing, my friend, we will be around each other shortly.

Jay Scott said...

i know your post was more about the spiritual race as opposed to the physical race, but as someone who is forced to run far and often, here's a quick tip i just learned a few weeks ago.

after you get the pain in your side, if you alternate your breathing pattern (say switch to breathe in on your left foot [or vice versa] whenever the pain starts. it works.