I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Oh how I miss jogging.
I was a jogger – a very dedicated one, too. Not a fast one, mind you, but one who loved to run…practically every day. I appreciated it for what it was and all it could do in my life, that’s for sure. And I acted upon that – Big time.
There was a lot of freedom to be found through jogging.
I loved the feel of being able to just go and go and breathe in the air. I loved the feeling of lightness after the muscles warmed up and I hit my stride. I loved just the very action of pounding it all out…step by step…over and over and over again.
It’s funny too: I am not one who likes to remain in place. I like growth. I don’t really like change for the sake of change, but I wouldn’t have ever guessed in a million years that I would be someone who would like something that has so much…”same-ness” to it. I like the methodical nature of it all. I think it helped me feel grounded in the face of an ever-changing world.
I knew true balance and security came from Jesus, but jogging was nice too.
Yes, I loved jogging, friends. I just absolutely loved it. The balance thing was cool, but also the endorphins brought about from it were pretty great as well. The results from it don’t match anything I have ever experienced with any other kind of exercise. EVER.
** Matching your breathing to the movement of your feet
** Getting into a groove; a zone and staying there…
** Letting your eyes focus on a point just ahead for an hour straight…
** Allowing your mind to dump…thinking, then not thinking at all.
** Praying whilst enjoying the act of what entails so much movement, but seems almost like floating all at the same time.
Jogging was a beautiful thing in my life.
I worked hard and prayed hard not to allow jogging to become my god. Another false idol? NO way was this girl having it! But as diligent as I was in my prayer life about this, it also entailed that sinking feeling inside – the knowledge that even if I didn’t let it become a false idol in my life, one day, it might be removed. Sometimes that happens – and God has a plan.
God knows what He is doing, and He does things His way and in His timing if we are truly seeking after Him. We have to listen and give up or move toward something else if He nudges us. All things that He allows can be “worked together for our good” by HIM.
I asked God in my prayers many, many times something like the following:
“Oh God, you know I love this jogging. You know how grateful I am to you that you not only allow me release through this activity, but even for the many little things you have brought about as a result of allowing me to incorporate it so consistently into my life. I have lost weight and maintained those strides, I have more clarity of thought and can listen better in my prayer life with You, and many people have come to me for ideas, motivation, support as a result of this having happened in my life. I also know you may allow me to go through seasons in which I can’t do this any more – please help me to enjoy this while it lasts – and if You decide I can keep it, I will be very happy about that. If not, please help me to accept it – because I know you are always working in me to do mighty and wonderful things.”
You guessed it ~ this physical stuff has finally stopped me pretty much in my tracks when it comes to my beloved jogging. I hung on for quite a while, even when the pain had been around for quite some time. But now, I can see that when I try to do it (barely above a walking pace even) I am hurting worse than before.
- I have gained 30 pounds – some from menopause (probably half), the rest from no jogging
- I feel gross – polluted – but every time I jog I am hurting far worse with the arthritis than before
- I am fuzzy – feel bottled up – but I still have freedom in Jesus. Just miss the physical release.
I have had trouble truly embracing this, but I have accepted it, I guess. As much as I know how, although the Lord continues to surprise me in many areas as to just how much more I can surrender.
Because, you see – I also was praying for something even greater at the same time I prayed about getting to keep jogging. I was praying to draw even closer to Jesus – to know Him better, and to be used to do His will, His way. And a big part of that is surrender – even of the “good” things in life. Sometimes it’s a permanent thing, and other times, it’s not. Don’t know which way it will go with this jogging thing.
But I do know which way it will go with Jesus. He’s sticking around. For an eternity.
Aside from not getting to job, I am doing other things, so that is good. But just as I said before – nothing compares, exercise-wise. Quite frankly, lately it seems even those things are too much, but I am trying. I am trying stretching and yoga exercises, some stepping up and down on a step, walking stairs, although that one is pretty tough on the pain stuff, and may try some elliptical when I can. But friends – I got JESUS!
Will you pray for me friends? Will you pray that I use this time to press in to Jesus, appreciate where I am at, and maybe, just maybe one day I will get to jog consistently again? Will you pray that if I am never able to really jog again, that the Lord would help me to find a form of exercise that gets me into shape, helps to heal my pain, and draws me even closer to Him? Most of all, will you continue to pray that I can accept whatever happens as long as it’s HIS will?
And where I’m at now: I shall make the most of what I can. God is gracious and good. He meets us where we are and lifts us up from that place to heights we never thought we’d reach before. He takes us down paths we never even knew existed. He has already blessed me so very much. I am His child. I need to remember that every day.
No amount of exploration through jogging trails would ever bring about divine encounters such as those that I have with my Jesus, my Savior.
I’m running to Jesus, friends - even if my feet can’t carry me. No amount of concrete can stop me. He cuts through every single thing that tries to stand in our way.
And Jesus is freedom.