"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
This morning while I was going through what seems to be my ever growing "to do" list, I was a bit taken back by how much I "need" to do. As the pastor of the local church, there are needs of others that I often need to consider before anything else and my schedule sometimes revolves around those things. Just this past month (January) I drove close to 400 miles for church related busines that included 6 hospital visits and 3 additional trips where I was giving someone a ride to be where they needed to be. Add to that the time I need for home visits, office hours, sermon prep...it can be time consuming to say the least. Very rewarding, but at times very time consuming.
Add to that the fact tha I am a husband and a father. I love my family, in fact I adore my family. There are times I have felt broken and beat down and a well timed hug from one of my kiddos was just the miracle I needed. But once again, meeting the needs of the family can, at times, be draining as well. School events, getting homework done, working around the house, simply fitting in family time if/when possible...sadly it almost sounds more like a chore when I look at it; yet I know that my family is perhaps the greatest blessing in my life outside of my salvation.
With that being said, now you may know why I feel like I need to run, because I'm not so sure I like running. Even 16 months after first hiting the pavement for my first C25K workout, I can't necessarily say I "like" running. I like a lot of things about it...like the sense of accomplishment, the rush after finishing a long run and the overall fitness...but I still don't like it. Maybe one day I will like or even love running, but right now, I don't. Sorry. But I do need to run.
I need to run...because running allows me to reconnect with myself and with my God who often gets pushed to the back burner as a result of busy-ness. I can pray outloud, I can worship outloud...what a blessing it is to enter a sanctuary that is not enclose by 4 walls and full of padded pews! I have also had some of my best sermon preperation while on the road...if I can just figure out how to carry a laptop to get those ideas down!
I need to run...because running allows me to think...which may not always be a good thing if you know me well enough! The truth is though, when the only real decision I need to make on the road is whether to go left or right, it allows me contemplate the major things that I have on my plate and to pray about them with very little distraction.
I need to run...because running has made me stronger! The word "can't" is not so much in my vocabulary anymore. As my mileage has increased and I work toward my first marathon on 3/4/12 I realize that this body is able to accomplish a lot more than mind would tell me. And there are times I have to stop listening to the voices in my head and gut it out and that only makes me stronger.
And finally, I need to run....because running = sanity. Seriously, I think running has helped me avoid 1st degree murder charges, alcohol addiction, and stripping down butt-naked in the woods some where and joining a pack of wolves. OK, maybe not so much on any of those...but the mental health aspects of running is a huge motivator. Being out on the open road can be mind clearing and soul stirring. Honestly though, unless you experience it yourself, I don't think I can really describe it.
And now it is 11:15AM...is it too early to start counting the hours until I can hit the road again because I really do think I need to run!