Running on Faith
I feel like I often don't share enough on my public pages that I'm a Christian, that I believe in God, that He is in control of my life. You may ask, "what does that have to do with running?" For me, everything. At times I've asked myself if I put too much emphasis on running and not enough on God, and I've often struggled with this question. I just have to remind myself of a few things: God gave me the ability to run, and He gave me the desire to work hard at it and want to help others, I wouldn't want to waste that just sitting around, and He doesn't want me to either. My aunt just passed away from a terrible nerve disease after not being able to even walk for the last several years, and that reminds me to use my ability to run and think of her. Some of my most meaningful realizations that God is all around have been during my runs; whether it's the amazing sunrise, the beautiful view of a mountain in front of me, or just a quiet breeze.
I often remember a moment during my 100k in July that I don't think I shared in my recap: I was deep in the middle of the Santa Barbara Mountains, it was around mile 35, it was getting hot, I was beginning to think about how far I had to go still, and there was not a single person around me that I could see. I can distinctly remember coming around a bend in the trail where there was a big grove of trees and it was shady. A big "swoosh" of cool wind came in through the trees and the leaves as if God was reminding me that He was all around me, and I stopped for a minute and just listened. It was so amazing. Then I remembered a song we sing at church that says, "You breathe into my weary soul, and I come alive." I spent the rest of my race saying that to myself and remembering that moment.
I have also had times where I think I focused too much on myself and my own ability. I cared too much about times, and splits, and how fast I could run and relied on my own strength - God usually finds some way of reminding me to stay humble. "He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way." Psalm 25:9 ~ What some may call coincidences I believe are His way of answering our prayers, even the smallest thing. There are just too many to even keep track of, but all my running opportunities, my coaching opportunities, the way my races lined up perfectly for a goal, times I've spent with my kids running - to me those are not just a coincidence. If we take the time to stop and notice the small things like the bright, orange sunrise, the cool breeze on our back, the running friends that get us through the day, or even finding the happiness in a rain-soaked, stormy run you can start to see that God is all around and that running is truly a blessing to be enjoyed. Sometimes I have to go back to that moment in Santa Barbara and remind myself that He is there and will give me the strength I need for anything. It isn't really about the running, but about seeking God in everything you do. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find..." Matthew 7:7