where love is alive 

Anyone that knows me very well, knows that I am a runner.  I don’t run because I am fast, because I am not and have never been.   I don’t run because I always enjoy it, because on many days, I don’t feel like running at all.  In fact, I would probably say that I have to talk myself into running almost every time I do it.  I run for other reasons that I thought you might be interested in.

First of all, it makes me feel good.  As I mentioned above, I don’t always feel like running, but I observe the 10 minute rule.  If I’m not feeling better in 10 minutes, I will allow myself to stop.  In almost 20 years of running, I have never had to invoke that rule because I ALWAYS feel better just a few minutes into the run.  Once the heart starts pumping and the blood starts flowing, I just feel better.

Second, I run because of the health benefits of it.  I hate feeling out of shape and after a run I feel strong and alive.  My blood pressure stays low, my stress levels are manageable and my mind is alert- in fact I considered running before I wrote this article to help me think!  Over the years I have had people tell me I needed to take better care of my knees because the running has to be wearing them out.  While this is possible (the medical community pushes back against that assumption, by the way), my response over the years has been the same- “if it comes to knee replacement or triple heart bypass surgery, sign me up for the knees every time!”  Another reason I run is because it helps me decompress.  Life is challenging and can be stressful, but I have found that by running I blow off most of that steam and feel very little pressure.  During seasons of my life that I am not running, I feel MUCH more stress and anxiety.  Running just seems to calm me down and help me to focus.  Exercising releases chemicals in our brains that help us feel good and relaxed, and I love that feeling.

The last reason I run that I want to share with you today is that over the years, the best time I have spent with God is while I am running.  I will listen to podcasts of sermons, listen to worship music, or just unplug and think deeply and pray while I run.  Eric Liddell says in the movie Chariots of Fire:  “I believe that God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”  When I run, I feel the spirit of God around me.  I talk to Him in those moments and I connect to the heart of God while I get my exercise in.  Once I am finished, I am almost always a better person, better father, husband, youth pastor, etc.  It’s the idea of centering Christ in the middle of my life, and allowing everything else to flow out of Him being #1.  When I run, my priorities get straightened out and everything gets put in its proper place.  Some people have their best time with God in the morning with a cup of coffee, but that has never been me.  It has almost always revolved around my heart rate being about 170 bpm and my Asics shoes being on my feet.  I just feel Him around me in those moments.

I say all that to you today to encourage you in two ways.  First, get some exercise.  Whatever that looks like for you, go do it!  Secondly, spend some time with God today.  It’s possible that those two things can happen at the very same time.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!

In Him!

Jason

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