One autumn day in 2007, I was fighting depression, loneliness, and burn out on the job. The battle physically exhausted me. Living in a community full of runners, I would watch them as I drove by and longed to join them one day. So this same day I journeyed to the back of my closet and pulled out a pair of running shoes that had seen better days.
What was I thinking? Would it make a difference? Would I have to call a friend to come peel me off the side walk a mile away from home?
I grabbed my door key and headed outdoors. It was refreshing to stand outside under God’s big blue sky. Reflecting over recent months, I couldn’t remember the last time I was outdoors like that.
Today I was going to run and think about life’s problems later.
I wasn’t sure how far I could go. Maybe one mile, or three…I really didn’t care. I just had to go. Run as hard as I could. Feel the sweat running down my brow. Work out the pain and frustration of the day. This was something I could take charge of and have control over. I could do it alone. I was accountable only to myself. If I quit, it was my choice. If I reached my goal, it was by God’s grace and my determination. The essence of it all was like a high for me.
That day I covered a distance just shy of three miles, stopping to walk twice. It was no doubt the slowest pace I had ever run in my life. It hurt. Every member of my body sent messages to my brain screaming, “What are you thinking?!” When the run was done, a wonderful feeling came over me. I was empowered and invigorated. Running often and farther caused my self esteem to rise and daily stress was relieved. I’m living proof that continuous physical exercise empowers the mind.
For the first time in a long time I was taking out time to care for me. Sometimes you just can’t wait for others to do it for you. I was achieving a dream that seemed impossible. I wasn’t watching someone on television doing it, but it was me!
On every run and with every step I overcame low self-esteem and the desire to give up when life got too hard. I began to incorporate prayers on my runs. Not just prayers that I’d finish my course, but personal talks with God about…life. My spiritual workouts couldn’t be less intense than the physical.
The confidence and positive attitude I gained from running carried over into other areas of my life.
I began to look in the mirror and truly be proud of the person looking back at me. If I could run a 5K, 10K, and a half-marathon, then surely I could persevere on the job and in ministry. And if at any point I fall short of a goal, I can say I gave it my all and that is good enough. What others think about me no longer defines who I am.
I am a child of God. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am a writer. I am content. I am joyful. I am an athlete!
Days are better now….Thank you Jesus!
Yours in Christ,
Miss Love in Waiting