Running meets God

(This is re-posted from my original blog)

When people talk about their defining moment, their moment of “asking Jesus into their heart”, I can’t give a definite answer as to a moment where I asked. I CAN give you a defining moment of when I thought huh, maybe this whole Jesus stuff is just a bunch of nonsense. I CAN give you defining moments of doubt, of hopelessness, of lack of faith, of scandalous thoughts of leaving my beliefs behind. But that would be too real to talk about, right? So where am I right now? Would you believe that I am at the most real point of my faith than I have ever been in my life? Would you believe that running saved my faith? It did, and is.

I think we all go through times of doubt, some more severe then others. Sometimes its just a niggling feeling of things being off, sometimes its heavy and feels like a breakaway or even death. I’ve been through all of those in the past few years. I grew up in a Christian family. I went to church all of my childhood. I was a missionary kid. I attended Mennonite schools and then a Presbyterian college. I was baptized at the age of 11, or was it 12?  But that was more peer pressure then anything. I attended many Christian youth events, rallies in which there were “alter calls”. Again, a lot more peer pressure. I worked at two Christian bookstores. Through all of that I had the “correct” lingo, the “correct” beliefs. But I didn’t really go deeper with it. I just said the right things and went to the right places.

Normal, right? We grow into our faith I think? As much as we think it can be learned. The basics can be taught, and Joel and I do that for our children, but the depth of faith? That isn’t something another person can give you. Lingo and beliefs only get you so far.

I met God while running. Not at first. I wanted to make myself better, sexier. I didn’t have much self confidence. The year I started running I had just found some strength through giving birth to twins. I realized I was capable of a lot more then I thought. So I ran. And then I kept running. At first it was surface running. Gotta lose weight. Gotta look better. Of course that’s a bonus to being active. However as my running has progressed I’ve instead worked out my theology (my, how I hate that word and how it gets thrown around these days, but whats a better word for it?) and as I’ve worked out my doubts, delved into them and leaned into the pain, I’ve grown. I’ve grown into a faith that is rooted. I’ve grown into a faith that allows the doubts and questions. I’ve grown into a faith that guides me into the pain instead of glossing over it. I’ve learned to like myself, love myself. And in loving myself I’ve learned to love others, better. I’ve learned that I’m worthy and that I am loved. I’ve learned to be steady, to meditate. I’ve learned that I don’t know everything. I won’t ever. But I can have a steady rhythmic faith that I can lean on when the doubts, fears, pain pile on.

So no, I no longer hold to the surface Christian-y things I grew up with. I finally figured out some of the things I’d always been a bit bewildered about. I’ve left some things behind, reestablished hold of some other things. I’ve left a rigid religiosity that seemed to narrow my love for this world more than to expand it. And I’ve learned my faith will ever expand, grow and change. And yes, I credit finding a truer faith and a greater love for Jesus to my learning to run.

Learning to run gave me the ability to love myself which gave me the ability to grasp Gods love of me which gave me the ability to love this brutiful (thanks Glennon Doyle Melton) world more and more. Love is kinda the number one commandment, right? It kinda unlocks the whole world when love is at the forefront.


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