I have been doing a study with my small group called “The Gospel Treason”. It’s an in depth look at the idols of the heart and how we place various things before God. There is a fine line between something being a good thing and something taking the place of an idol within your heart. One of the fastest ways to tell if something has taken the place of an idol in your heart is to ask yourself the question of “Am I willing to do anything (sin) to get this one thing?”. The question that stopped me in my tracks the other day was “Do I arrange my entire schedule around this one thing?” and “Do I get angry when it is messed with?”.
Honestly, the thing I struggle with most is control. As someone who has no control over many things, I found running to be one of the few things I could control. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, for as long as I wanted. I can have total control over it. Except when my body fights back and I realize I actually do not have control over it.
You might be asking yourself “Jenn, why is this so important?”. I have come to realize that I have let running shift from a place of being a good thing to being somewhat of an idol in my heart. My entire week has been built around when I could run for well over a year. I turn down plans, put people off, and ignore people just to get a run in. I get upset and angry when things are changed in the plan I have set for my running. This one was made very clear to me two weeks ago when I had a complete breakdown over a new training schedule. My body is working fine, but in order to be a more efficient runner I need to take an off season and work on strength. One of the biggest pieces of this is not running as many days in a week and focusing a lot more on my stride instead of distance. Cue the mental breakdown.
You may have discovered through my writings that running is a very emotional thing for me. Its the thing that got me through a time when didn’t think I could make it, it restored my faith in society, it helped me realize my own strength, and it helps me be a pleasant person to be around. When things are going sideways in my life or my family is driving me nuts, or something is going on within a relationship, the easiest and fastest way for me to work through it or handle the situation is to go for a run. But my reliance on running has turned from something that I do to the thing that I am. And that is where the problem lies.
If running were to be taken completely away from me tomorrow, I would crumble as a person. It was partially taken away from me as I have been placed in an off season (though some would beg to differ) and I broke down. How could I make it through the day, let alone a whole week, without being able to run? The answer is simple: You keep living your life. But the reality of going through the motions is so much harder. And this is where the problem lies for me currently.
Running is this amazing thing. It has given me a second chance at life, one where I am active and living it to its full potential. It has opened up doors that I never thought possible. But the fact that my live now revolves around it instead of it being an aspect of my life is causing a problem. It’s time to start working through what has caused this shift. Why have I placed running at the forefront of who I am? How can I get back to the place where it is simply something that I do and love, not everything that I am? Just as identifying as a runner has taken a lot of time, I think that sifting through this placement of running in my life is going to take a bit of time. Some days are going to be better than others. I may feel like I have this under control and then lose it completely with a change of the wind. But one thing I do know is that God is going to walk with me through this and show me far more on this rabbit trail then if I continue on the path I am on.
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly