For eight months now my life has consisted of a disciplined schedule of running and training my body for events I would have never thought I could do. When I am angry, grieving, sad, lost, hopeless, or just plain happy, I run. There is no one to irritate me, there is no where else for me to be and there are definitely no munchkins yelling “MOM!” It is a time that I can just be lost in the abyss of my thoughts or lack thereof. I can relish in the absolute joy of listening to uninterrupted music for two and a half hours straight, and pray until my soul is filled to the brim. I have the time to admire Gods’ creation, every flower, every tree, and the smell of the brisk morning air. I love being the first one up in the morning before the sun has risen, seeing the stars light up the sky allows me to catch a glimpse of the heavens and just how grand our Creator made our universe. I wish every run were that blissful, but unfortunately the majority my runs are extremely uncomfortable and difficult until I get to mile three. Once I am there, I have passed the point of telling myself to just turn around, it’s going to be way too difficult today! At the end of my run, when I walk in the door and hear my children squeal with excitement it is enough to make me smile from ear to ear, and know that pounding the pavement wasn’t just for me but for them as well.
It’s been exactly one week since I went on a run and I sure didn’t expect to go a whole week without running. To some one week is a good amount of time to take off and recover, for me it is dipping my toes into a dangerous combination of over indulgence and zero accountability. I tend to gravitate towards junk food and begin to lose sight of the big picture: my goal to live a healthy lifestyle. Just as when I run, I eat when I am happy, sad, grieving, angry, or confused. I’ve officially come out as an emotional eater, tough to admit, and I know I am not the only one! Why is it so difficult to maintain the strict discipline I have had for so long when getting a small taste of freedom? It is really quite simple, it takes a lot less work to have no discipline. It is easy and I don’t feel like the consequences will ever catch up with me, until I get on the scale. Everyone’s nightmare, whether you choose to admit it or not, we all dread hopping on the scale and the numbers shifting up even one number. As I indulge in my pleasures, I tell myself it’s ok, I’ll just run harder next time! Seriously? That is such nonsense! I am going to eat this so I can work much harder the next time I choose to exercise my discipline.
I have begun to see the similarities in discipline in exercise and discipline in my spiritual life. The only way I can truly have discipline with my over indulgence in food is to truly recognize my God as El Shaddai, my All-Sufficient One. I know many who struggle with understanding this concept. I work, I make my money, I put food on my table, I put a roof over my head. ME! I do it all! Bottom line, it is because of God you have a job, are able to make money, can put food on your table and have a home. Trusting that He will take care of me is SO hard, especially being a chronic worrier. When I become worried or emotional, I need to take it to Him, not to the refrigerator, or the bottle, or any other anesthetic that I may use in life to dull my emotions or to comfort me. Now that I know Him as my All-Sufficient One, I am desiring to take my problems to Him, and allow Him to bear my burdens for me. I know He can handle anything I throw His way, it is not like it will surprise Him in the least. Does this mean just because I have God on my side my life is all butterflies and roses? Absolutely not. It’s not easy, and I struggle every day. Every time my heart begins to race, and anxiety begins pumping through my veins, I want to reach for something fleshy, food, alcohol, anything other than my Bible. That is truly when I have to drop to my knees and pray.
I pray that He will be enough for me in that moment, that He will hug my soul so I don’t feel as if my world is collapsing, that I will remember how perfectly loved I am. Sometimes I have victory over that instance, other days I am at the bottom of the barrel asking myself how I let it go this long. Regardless, He has grace, and facing these trials shows me exactly where I need to go to find comfort. Something I tell myself before every long run, and have started to tell myself while facing trials in life “This is not going to be easy, I’m going to be uncomfortable, I am going to want to give up, but in the end it will all be worth it.”