Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: "When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure"

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure"

The "Fun Run" in 3rd grade
I love running again!  For so long, the gift of running had turned into compulsive drudgery, something I couldn't live without but couldn't be happy with.  It had long since deviated from the joyful activity I fell in love with as a six year old.  The past two years, it has been misery because my body never had enough energy or my mind didn't have enough sanity to enjoy it without thinking of calories or speed or distance or pace.

I wouldn't go as far as to say all that has changed, but there is a huge difference.  Yesterday, I didn't know if I was going to take my rest day or run.  At first, I thought I'd rest.  Then, I walked outside and my legs were itching to go hit the trail.  So I waited until the afternoon-- something that I'd never been able to do before-- and I went to Highbanks to get in a run. 

Placing 2nd in the indoor
state meet DI 3,200m
My mind replayed the last two weeks, starting with the Monday that I first ran again.  It was painful and hard, like a child first riding a bike.  But the reward was there and so was my smile.  And every run, the joy has become more genuine and the movements: more fluid.  And as mud splashes up against my legs, it reminds me how good it is to be alive.  Truly alive.  For I've been a hollow shell for so many years and I'm done with that.

So I did my run-- thirty minutes exactly-- and I stretched by my car.  I texted my brother that I was done and I headed for home.  Sunlight streamed in as I rolled down the windows and began to sing like a half-crazed, hormonal teenager- note: I am now a half-crazed, hormonal 20 year-old- and that's when I had the thought:

This must be what if feels like to be free.

It caught me off guard.  But it lingered for a while, allowing me to soak in the excitement in tandem.  In that moment, there was no worry about what I'd eaten, what I would eat, what I looked like, how I was imperfect, how I shouldn't be sitting down and resting.  None of that crossed my mind.  If only for a split second, God gave me a taste of the freedom I am working towards.  He let me see a glimpse of what it is really like.  And it is ridiculously awesome, guys!

That was the first time I'd truly felt that relief, but I have confidence that as I continue on, those moments will happen more and more often, until they become my reality.  Perhaps it seems small, but this is pretty huge for me.  To be safe, I'm easing back into running slowly.  I know it could quickly go south if I dive back into it too fast.  My body and my mind need to re-learn the act of running.  My mind has directing me toward eating disorder behaviors for so long that it takes direct action to change them, to know that faster isn't always better and that I don't have to push my body to the breaking point.

Winning my 3rd consecutive conference
meet. It was so exciting!

As I'm learning these things, it's amazing to see how much more joyful running becomes. I used to hate getting up in the morning.  It meant that I had to run, do classwork, ride my bike and pass the time-- all before I could eat.  I had no energy and I had little hope.  But recovery is showing me that I can love my body and it will be kind to me in return.  I do have energy to run and that makes running an adventure again. It makes me appreciate the gift so much more.  I believe that when darkness pervades the gifts of God, we sometimes need to lay those things down in order to ever experience them in fullness.  That's what I've done.  I've laid down the things I love: Running; hiking; walking and exploring, in the hopes of discovering anew why I was created with such passions (RELATED: Running the Race).

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Eric Liddell: "God made me for a purpose.  But He also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure!"  The running nerd that I am, I always tear up at that quote. (RELATED: "Born To Run" Book Review)  THAT was a man who got it.  He understood why we are given the gift of running.  It's not about winning and it's not about burning calories.  It's not about being the best or even seeing how tough we can be.  Running truly is about letting our bodies worship the Lord.  Though I don't always like this healthy version of my body, I do appreciate it because it is letting me run again.  

And I'm running like never before.


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