Read on and be inspired by this guest post from Jennifer Luitwieler, pictured here running in the Pittsburgh Marathon
If it is true that every act is sacred, then running is my most perfect sacred act.
Sometimes, running is my sacrifice, where I haul all my insecurities, inhibitions, pains and frustrations to the altar and leave them there. Where I remember that to run the race efficiently, it is wisest to race unencumbered. We tend to think these things we lug around with us are precious and personal and eternal. But we are not so special, we are not unique to the experience of pain. And so, when I run, I can cut the ties on the baggage straps, sacrificing the dross for the breath of life.
Sometimes, running is my penance. I am no stranger to bad mom or bad wife moments. I have been a bad friend, a horrible listener, a disrespectful daughter or arrogant teacher. I have been the urgent and Very Important Driver behind you in traffic. Strapping on my runnings shoes is not akin to shrugging into the hair shirt, but there are days when I want to outrun the pain I may have caused others.
Sometimes, running is my joy. Believe me when I say I never saw that coming. My athletic endeavors had been restricted to required phys ed class in high school lo these many years ago. But there are days now, sometimes even consecutive days, when to run is to remember what it was like to be a child, loping free on the grass, the uncontained, irrational pleasure of youth.
Sometimes…no, every time, running is my prayer. Running is my worship. If prayer is relationship and worship is experiencing His presence, then running is my prayer. Because when I run, He has set my feet in a wide place. When I run, I am in the safest place to admit the depths of my wounds, to express the heights of my gratitude. When I am running is the only time I feel like I can say exactly the words I want to say to Him. And when I can hear the smallest murmur. When I run, I can rage, and praise and doubt. And when I run, I am engaged with every part of me.
Running is my sacred expression.
Jennifer Luitwieler is a writer in Tulsa, OK. She and her husband have three children, and homeschool one of them. She is an fan of both American football and football. She started running to take care of The Dog’s business. Now, she runs to take care of her own. Her book Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo was published in 2011 by Civitas Press. She writes a family fitness column for Tulsa Kids and a monthly essay for Deeper Story. You can also read more from her at Jennifer Luitwieler. Find her on twitter and facebook, too.
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