Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 ESV
Amongst a sea of pink clad running divas adorned with sparkly headbands, tutus, and paisley running skirts, I ran my 25th half marathon. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would run 25 half marathons, one full marathon, and countless 5 and 10k races, I wouldn't have believed you.
I reluctantly started running in college in order to meet the aerobic point requirement of my physical fitness concepts class. In the decades following my college graduation, I ran on and off in order to lose the extra pounds holidays and pregnancies put on my body. It wasn't until we moved to Sarasota that I began my long term love affair with running. My first race was a 5 miler from the Van Wetzel to the Lido beach Pavilion over the old Ringling drawbridge. From that morning on, I was hooked. Running became my outlet, my therapy, my equalizer, my time alone with God, and my source of adventure.
I wouldn't have some of my closest friends if it wasn't for running.
If I had never tried it, I would never have known how good running could be.
I was reminded this weekend of what a blessing running has been in my life. If I had never taken a risk and signed up for that first race, I would missed out on some of God's greatest gifts for my life. Running 25 half marathon didn’t happen overnight. It has been a journey built one mile, one race at a time, but I had to start somewhere.
God asks us to take risks. To try things for him. Zacchaeus took a risk when he let Jesus into his home for dinner. Peter, Andrew, James and John tried something new when they left their fishing boats and followed Jesus. The disciples never would have known the power and blessing of God if they didn’t try to put their nets on the other side of the boat when the stranger told them to do so.
What things might God be calling you to try this month and into this next year? Some risks are small and safe. Others are big and scary. Some require sacrifice while others are relatively inexpensive.
So take a risk and try something new this month. Maybe you need to start a running/walking program. Maybe you need to change up your routine by adding weight lifting or walk breaks into your running, or even some speed work or distance. Are you needing some girl time? Try running with a friend instead of going it alone. Are you feeling burden and overwhelmed? Try converting your exercise time into time talking with God. Do you want something different to do besides listening to the same playlist every time you run? Try an audio-book or podcast. Do you need some motivation to stick with it once you start? Sign up for a race and make a commitment to train for it.
The same principles that apply to running can apply to other areas of our lives as well. Maybe trying something new involves your church, family, work, or lifestyle. No matter what you sense God is asking you to do, step out in faith and try it. Take a risk, lean into the challenge, and wait for the reward. God never disappoints.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.