For a few years, I had dreams at night of running across whole suburbs, and yet was never a runner. I couldn’t figure out why I had those dreams. Then a few other people started to have dreams of me running and told me. I started to wonder what God was up to. This seemed to be the beginning of a call.
Sure enough, with the fitness center closed during COVID and my usual exercise routine thrown out of whack, I’ve developed my strength and endurance in other ways, and now I can run longer each time, and I really love it. I didn’t realize that deep down I desired to run.
There’s a certain spirituality of running that I’ve grown to know in the process. For one thing, it was clearly inspired by God for a specific season. He set the dream. He called through others. He knew this was a desire of mine before I even did. He knew I could do this before I could, and He led me to the right circumstances and exercises that grew my capacity to run. That is so much like how God works in our daily life and vocation.
Secondly, I’ve learned that running is as much about mindset as physical exertion. It stretches your self-belief, perseverance and persistence. Without that, you can’t run. That’s like the spiritual life. The spiritual life is about consistent daily habits, spiritual “muscle-building,” self-belief that God loves you and wants what is best for you, and ultimately, persevering and persisting in the way of faith. You have to build your confidence in God’s promises to persist, just like you have to build your confidence in your ability to run just a little longer and faster each time.
Third, every time I run, I’m reminded of Scripture verses about running the race set before us. The spiritual life is a marathon. It’s long. It’s hard. It tests us. It builds our strength. It presses us onward. It’s got hills and valleys that are more or less difficult to run through. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but we have the assurance that God is there running the race with us.
"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us." -- Hebrews 12:1