I went for a two-miler last night after a long couple of early August days of professional development at work. Blowing off steam and trying to get my mind right. I never ever experience a runner’s high. I don’t actually believe it’s an actual thing. Much like Sasquatch, delicious low-fat cheese, and honest politicians. #fakenews.
But occasionally, I feel like God really speaks to me while I run, and while I am still in a lot of physical discomfort, it’s awesome to know that I can receive some benefit from an otherwise excruciating experience.
90% of the time I literally can think of nothing but my awkward form or how I breathe too loudly or how clearly I missed the seemingly innate human ability of flight and needed to be taught explicitly. I think about how my calves are tight or how other stuff is jiggling. I think about stopping and walking. I become green with jealous rage as I think of all those runners out there who think that two miles is an easy warm-up, while to me, it’s more akin to an actual marathon. I marvel at the glory of my “Work it, gurl” playlist which features “Fergalicious” and Bethel Music. Kendrick Lamar and Garth. Spice Girls and Mamas and the Papas. The Moulin Rouge soundtrack and so much Queen. There is a lot of sweating and so much more unforgiving inner-monologue.
As previously discussed, I am a Type 1 Perfectionist. I always give 100%. I excel at what I put my hands to because I usually choose to engage in only things that I can be successful in. I am not always satisfied with my ability or performance on tasks immediately, but usually, I make progress and become proficient rapidly.
Not so with running. No matter how many times I run, and I run quite a bit for someone who identifies as a non-runner, I don’t really get better. Even when running feels less excruciating than normal, my times stay roughly the same. Stuff still hurts and still jiggles. In the past, this would have prompted me to give up on this hobby.
But I have really felt as though God has been using this painful and embarrassing and uncomfortable thing to bring about other, deeper improvements.
Every step is a reminder that as good as I think I am or as hard as I strive for perfection, there are so many areas of my life and heart that I struggle and need help. If I don’t engage in those types of activities, I can be fooled into thinking that I am fine on my own. I can believe the lie that what I do translates into who I am. I can become prideful.
Micah 6:8 is one of my all time favorite verses. It’s a huge part of the book that I am writing, and I have contemplated having it tattooed on me at some point. To act justly. To love mercy. To walk humbly.
Walking humbly. To know who I am in light of who God is and to live accordingly. To die to self and live for Christ. To love God with all of my heart and soul and strength and love others as myself.
In order to do those things I have to decrease–not by feigning humility (which is not that difficult and is still pride)–but choosing to actively follow in Jesus’s sincerely humble steps. Because He lowered Himself to our form. He took on our flesh. I am guessing that it was super awkward and uncomfortable, and I know it was painful.
He put Himself in my shoes. He ran a perfect race, and any talents or redeeming qualities I possess are because of Him and in spite of me.
So I will keep doing this awko taco jogging (a.k.a wounded animal on the Savannah) thing I do. I apologize to my neighbors for the struggle bus that is my physical fitness. Try to look away. My times my stay the same. My weight and muscle mass may stay the same. My sick kitten lungs may continue to fight for air, but my heart is changing. I will take that over a runner’s high any day.