This morning I ran two miles in under 20 minutes.
For many of you that seems exceedingly underwhelming, for the rest of you, you are wondering who I was running from at such an early time in the morning – or what’s wrong with me that I was running with no one chasing me at all.
My freshmen year in college I was regularly running, striving to run three miles in under 20 minutes, and was getting achingly close. I jumped out of my bed in the morning and crumpled on the floor in pain – my knees. Excruciating pain. You see I had been running a course on North Carolina State University’s campus (which is made entirely of brick, except of course the Psychology building which was oddly of stucco *shrug*), and I was always sprinting as fast as I could down the last quarter mile (which happened to be a brick sidewalk with a steep downhill grade). I had ruined my knees.
Jump forward approximately 6 years. I was in Seminary at Asbury, and I was running again. This time four miles…on asphalt. Sprinting the last quarter mile, uphill. The pain in my knees got so bad I had planned my trips around campus so that I would never have to climb stairs – it hurt too much. There was one elevator, and all the buildings were connected by breezeways. It was a ridiculous way to live. I quit running… again.
Jump forward another 10 years. I am running again. This time on a padded track. This time I am maintaining a steady pace. This time the goal is running – not a set time. The goal is to run…with no debilitating knee pain. I take plenty of breaks, I listen to my body, and I enjoy the exhiliration of running. My body is my compani0n, not my competitor.
I will never be an olympic athlete, a track star or even a fast runner, but I am again a runner. There is a joy in running when you are running towards yourself rather than from yourself. If you truly believe that the God who made who loves you enough to die for you, then you are set free from needing to earn affection or self-worth. In the instant that you accept His judgment of you as worthy, you can embrace yourself and run for the joy that is set before you.
In order to be your personal best, you must embrace the person you are. Then and only then can you be set free to run towards your future instead of away from your past.