Going to the gym is part of my weekly routine. I would rather stay at home and lay on my couch, but exercising is necessary for my mental health. And so I make it a priority.
Year after year, membership at my gym seems to remain steady, and I realize it probably has to do with their brilliant location – it's surrounded by places selling food. Every time I go to the gym, the smell of pizza, french fries, and donuts floats through the air and tries to tempt me. It’s so easy to think, “I just worked out. I deserve a pizza.” Because of this, I never take money with me when I go work out and just the act of going to the gym (without stopping and buying something to eat) seems like an accomplishment.
Once I’m at the gym, my favorite machine to use is the elliptical. Why? Because it’s easier on my knees. Just writing that makes me feel old. Two to four times a week, I have a date with the elliptical. Our relationship has been going strong for years.
While I’m on the elliptical, I’m surrounded by treadmills. Running is something I’ve never really enjoyed. I’ve run a few 5Ks in my life, just to prove to myself that I could, but I wouldn’t consider those experiences fun. The thought of paying for the opportunity to run a half-marathon or marathon makes me laugh – no thank you.
There are times, though, when I feel like I NEED to run. Times when jumping on a treadmill and sprinting for 1-2 miles doesn’t sound crazy, but is something I willingly do. Times when running seems like a necessity to keep going.
In the past, I haven’t always dealt with my emotions in healthy ways. When I am stressed, overwhelmed, or am processing through emotions, it’s easy for me to be tempted to fall back into unhealthy ways of coping. Now, these are the exact times that I also feel the need to run. The choice is mine - do I choose unhealthy or healthy ways to cope?
This week I ran twice.
My legs are sore, but my steps feel lighter.
It hurts to walk, yet emotionally I feel stronger.
And in a few days, when the pain goes away, I’ll be able to run again if I need to.
I don’t often run, but when I do, it always reminds me that I’m in constant need of a Savior.
I’m in constant need of someone to help me navigate through the valleys and mountains of life.
I pray that God continues to help me run. Not just away from something, but towards Him.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." ~Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.