Tag Archives: running

Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…


I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.


And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.

Why I HATE Running (and do it anyway)


I’ve always hated running. The mile run in gym class was my personal nemesis each and every year. I dreaded it so much. I can still hear my PE teacher, Mr. Reimers, shouting “I can crawl a mile in 15 minutes so you all better finish faster than that!” I always made it, but not by much! So no one was more surprised than me when I took up running four years ago. I still hate running, and I don’t think that will ever change. I do it anyway, and here’s why.

1. I’m an ugly runner. It’s truly painful to watch. (Don’t believe me? Check out the pics in Running with Jesus.) But God’s creation is beautiful. I don’t even listen to music while running anymore. Instead I pay attention to the smell of lilacs in full bloom, the trees swaying in the breeze, and the stars, which have always been one of my favorite things in all of God’s creation!

2. I hate how I feel during a run, but I love how I feel after a run. Truthfully, I feel like I might die during a run. My lungs burn, my legs feel like dead weights, and my joints ache with every pounding step. But I love the adrenaline rush when it is all over! I feel stronger. I feel calmer. Somehow stress seems to melt away during a run and after there’s a new sense of clarity.

3. I hate that I’m not good at it, but I love that I’m getting better. Running is so concrete and measurable. I can see the improvement as I run longer and improve my pace. There’s a new “PR” possible with every time out.

4. I hate that I can’t compete with other runners, but I love the encouragement runners offer one another. It is a beautiful example of what Christian community is supposed to look like. Throughout his letters, Paul repeatedly urged followers of Jesus to encourage one another, build each other up, to be of one mind, and to live in peace. This is exemplified in the running community. No fellow runner, regardless of their skill level, has ever demeaned me for mine. Instead, I’ve received nothing but encouragement. I’ve even experienced more skilled, faster runners, coming back to cheer me on as I struggle to finish a race. I pray the Christian community learns to follow the lead of runners!

5. I hate how challenging running is for me, but I love taking on the challenge. Nothing is quite as satisfying as accomplishing something you weren’t quite sure you could do. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie “A League of Their Own.” The coach of the Rockford Peaches looks at his star player who has just quit the team because it “got too hard” and says, “It’s supposed to be hard. The ‘hard’ is what makes it great. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” How true! There is little satisfaction in doing something that’s easy.

6. I hate that running forces me to realize just how out of shape I really am, but I love that running is helping me take better care of my body. God has given me an earthly body and asked that I take care of it. I’m going to be honest, I don’t do a good job of caring for my body. The worse the food is for you, the more likely it is to be one of my favorites! And I can easily spend an entire day (or week) just laying on the couch, watching countless hours of television. But caring for my body means eating foods that are good for me and moving to the point of sweating. Running encourages me to eat in a more healthy way and gets my behind off the couch. I want the energy and stamina to serve God for many years to come, which means I need to take good care of the body He has given me!


7. I hate running but I love the way it has improved my spiritual life. I connect with Jesus when I run. I has done wonders for my prayer life because I’m in need of Jesus’ strength the entire time! I connect with God in a wonderful, unique, and inexplicable way when I’m running. Perhaps it is because running is often used as a metaphor for the journey of following Jesus. Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah speak of God’s strength allowing those who trust in Him to run and not grow faint or weary. Paul urges Jesus followers to run with purpose and determination in 1 Corinthians. In Hebrews, running is used as a way to encourage Christians to persevere even when life is difficult. Since I’m not planning on buying a sheep farm anytime soon, running is one of the Biblical analogies I can participate in and experience first hand.


And that’s where the connection to identity comes into play. The more I experience my relationship with Jesus in real and tangible ways, the more I am able to understand that my identity is found in His love for me. The more I rely on Him to do things that are difficult and challenging, the more I experience that love in real and powerful ways. So I’ll likely always hate running, but I’ll keep doing it anyway because I’ll always love what it does for my life.


Running with Jesus

I hate running. I’d rather watch FRIENDS reruns than pound the pavement any day. I hate sweating. I hate my lungs burning and gasping for air. I hate how sore I get. And I believe with all of my heart that workout clothes are just as useful for a lazy Saturday afternoon as they are for the gym. But…I want to be healthy and running makes me feel healthy. And not just physically healthy, but running makes me feel spiritually healthy too. The physical and the spiritual are connected and it seems that so often we forget that truth. God created both and calls us to care for both.

What I actually look like running. Yikes.
What I actually look like running. Yikes.
What I want to look like running.
What I want to look like running.





Recently I didn’t want to run, but I headed out anyway. I was struggling just blocks in. I like to talk with God on my runs. I run late in the evening when the air is cooler and the streets are quieter. (An ulterior motive is that there are fewer people out and about which means fewer people to watch me waddle along. See above photo!) Despite my dislike for physical movement, going out on a run does give me a great opportunity to talk with God while admiring part of His creation as I try to take care of part of His creation (me). However, so often when I come to God my mind is so cluttered and busy that I have a hard time finding a single topic to talk with Him about. And so in the midst of the physical and spiritual struggle, I confessed to God that I had lots of things I wanted to ask Him about and no idea where to begin. And I might have reminded Him that I hate running…

And then the strangest thing happened. Jesus was running next to me. No, not physically, but I could feel Him. And maybe not running as much as walking, maybe even floating, alongside me. (I can’t quite get my head around the idea of Jesus actually running hard enough to work up a sweat. I’m sure I’m slow enough that Jesus is more than capable of keeping up with me walking.) Nevertheless, Jesus was beside me and he stayed by my side for every painstaking step. At the end, when I wanted to quit, he held my hand. And I made it. In Christ’s strength, not my own.

On second thought, maybe Jesus running beside me isn’t that strange after all. I mean, doesn’t He always show up at our weakest moments?  And isn’t it always through our weakness that He is most glorified? 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” I must admit that I’ve always focused on the “jars of clay” portion of the verse. It’s so easy to focus on our weaknesses. I mean they are so obvious, well, at least mine are! But God is teaching me to read the whole verse and to notice what comes next, “this all surpassing power”. Honestly, most of the time I try to hide my weaknesses, but like I eluded to, that’s hard to do when they are so obvious! And maybe that’s another reason that I don’t like to run, I’m not good at it. It’s hard! But we don’t have to hide because when we rely on Jesus to show up when we are feeling weak, He does and His name is made great. God has granted us the great freedom of being authentic in both our shining moments and our ugly (and in my case sweaty and whiny) weak moments. We don’t have to hide, but we do have to rely on God. And if we do that, we get to run with Jesus.