I absolutely love running, but I used to be a slave to it. It’s one of my favorite ways to be active, but during the years of struggling with idolizing my body and food, I’m not sure I always did running for the right reasons. I think my perspective has changed over the years, and in the past year I’ve run less than any other years of my running career, but I’m actually loving it more.
Today is ‘Take Care of Your Temple Tuesday’ with Lyss. Today, I’m going to talk about why my mindset needs to be right about exercise, so that it doesn’t become unhealthy. Taking care of your body and mind and soul and spirit includes knowing ‘why’ you exercise, and as I’ve learned, it is SO easy for exercise to become unhealthy, because it can become an obsession.
Hop to my lovely sister in Christ’s blog, Lyss to check out her posts too! 🙂
Don’t you do what you love a lot if you love it so much?
Well running had become an idol to me. I felt kind of like a slave to running. In essence I was worshipping running. Isaiah 44:17 says it in an ‘ouch’ sort of way to me now that I think about it. ‘But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”‘
I made running into a god, but the thing is that running doesn’t ‘do anything.’ It didn’t create me. It can’t save me from sin, define me, and be my rock… In fact it makes a puny little sad ‘god’ as I discovered.
Running became a burden. I had to go run, because I had to burn calories. Running was no longer ‘fun’, but it was all about the numbers. I couldn’t stop, because I couldn’t stop burning calories. And being a slave to running is NOT fun at all.
Then there came a time when I realized that running had way too much power in my life. I had allowed it to be come a central focus instead of doing everything to the glory of God. And that’s why it became something that I feared ‘not doing’, but I also feared the addictive hold it had on me. Running was a heavy burden, but life in Jesus is always light. It’s full of joy, even when there is hardship.
Romans 6 really rings true to me as I look back on this journey of running.
‘Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.’
You see. Sometimes, even a child of God, though they are a child, can still have the mentality of a slave or be afraid.
Though my life is covered by the grace of God, I was still acting like a slave to sin, a slave to the idol of running. Running in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s a gift, a wonderful way to move the body, to explore the world, and to just LIVE!
I had taken it and abused it. I had taken this good gift of God, and I had made it something that wasn’t fun or joyful. It was a burden, because sin is a burden.
Then came the 180 in thinking.
Can you hear the screeching of the tires as Emily gets turned around?
I took a month break from running. I had never ran that much, but I took a whole month off of running. By God’s providence I had a foot injury, and it sidelined me for a month.
During that time we went to Alaska and hiked, sledded, ate LOTS of good food like trail mix and pancakes, and I realized that I didn’t need running to live.
I learned two very important lessons that still ring with me today.
#1) Running is a gift from God; something to be thankful for, but not to be abused.
#2) Even if you can’t run, it doesn’t make you any less of a person, created in God’s image, redeemed for God’s purpose.
As a result of those things, I got rid of my running watch. One of my weaknesses is that I just can’t spend too much time in ‘numbers’ or I get overly focused and agitated about them. So I got rid of it, and instead of looking at the numbers, I can spend time praying, being thankful, and just thinking about all of God’s kindnesses and mercy. . .
Now, I still run because I love to run. I take time off. When I realize that I’m getting too attached to running again, I’m thankful that I can say that it’s easier for me to say that it’s time to take a week off, enjoy other things, and continue to be grateful for the life that God’s given me.
There are days when I’m not loving running, and that’s ok. It’s okay to do something else, but the big thing that God is teaching me?
Jesus Christ is all I need, and running may come and go, but the loving grace of God, the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the joy of the Holy Spirit will never go away.
Someday I’m actually hoping to do a half marathon again, but it’s not going to be about the time or the numbers. I’m going to do it because I’m loving life, loving recovery, and loving the second chance that God has given me here on this earth.
Pin for Later:
Have you ever felt like a slave to a certain type of exercise?
Do you like to run? How do you keep from being obsessed about it?
Have you ever run less and started loving it more?