Editor’s Note: The Race Before Us, as an organization, seeks to promote both running as a means to physical health, if not renewal and the truth of Christianity as a means to spiritual wellness, if not renewal. We believe there is a connection between our running and our faith, so we particularly like to feature messages that combine both of these passions. Today we get to do just that by featuring a guest columnist.
The message below is from a new friend I’ve met through my book (The Race Before Us). Tom is a Christian who took up running in many ways similar to me – in fact, we “met” when he contacted me to say that he thought he was reading his own story when he read The Race Before Us.
Tom is also “known” as – “278 to Boston”. Please click here to read more about Tom’s story and follow him as he talks about running and faith and works his way to the Boston Marathon – it’s an inspiring story. And, please enjoy Tom’s wonderful thoughts below.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
I love running.
Okay, when I am out there and it is really cold or really hot or I just don’t feel good, running can be a chore.
What I love most about running is the freedom that it gives me. An unexpected consequence of being a runner.
One Saturday a while back, I had a rough day. In fact it was a difficult week overall, it just came to a head on a Saturday. I needed to get away. A couple of years ago that would have entailed driving to Wal-Mart and surrounding stores and walking through the isles of stuff. Not this time. Instead, I walked. In fact I turned off my phone and walked for hours. I walked on a trail I have run before, but never actually just took the time to look at the surroundings. It was really cool. Waterfalls, beaver dams and quietness.
I realized that day that because of my running I could walk as far as I wanted and not worry about how to make it home. I was able to just go and be free. It was awesome.
The other time this “consequence of running” occurred to me was while shut in at work for two days because of snow. I was able to spend hours outside helping people get their cars going. I walked miles to the pharmacy to pick up meds for a coworker (and buy toothbrushes). I never once thought, “can I make it back?” I had freedom. Who needs a car!
If you are debating whether you should start running or you are a runner and are trying to encourage others to run, remember what I learned. There is a lot of freedom in life once the chains of poor physical fitness are removed. Once you run 26.2 miles, it dawns on you that if needed, you can walk the 23 miles home in an emergency.
In many ways, Christ has done the same in my spiritual life. The verse above talks about the freedom Christ gives. It seems that many times we need a “revelation” of that freedom, or as Paul says, we can become subject again to the “yoke of slavery”. It is a very hard thing to see the benefits and freedom we have as a runner or as a Christian – that is until we experience it first hand. I never understood fully the benefits or consequences of running until after I became a runner. I also never understood the blessings and benefits of being a Christian until Christ set me free from the law of sin and death.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Rom 8:2
Freedom. A basic instinct. One that I am glad I received almost 2 years ago when I started running and 30 years ago when my life was changed by the Power of God through Christ. My goal in both areas is to never be subjected to slavery again.