To say that I am grateful that God allowed my path to cross with Sarah's is an understatement. I have absolutely loved getting to know Sarah over the course of this year and I am determined to meet her in real life! She is intelligent, witty, and a tremendous source of encouragement.
It is an honor to turn the blog over to you today, my friend!
Hi! I'm Sarah, and I blog at Notice the Dirt where I'm inspired by this C.S. Lewis Quote: "It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence." Megan and I “met” as part of a blogging workshop and both quickly realized two things we had in common: loving Jesus and training for long distance races. It’s been so fun to follow her progress on both fronts and I can say without reservation that Megan runs the race well!
I've been a runner off and on for most of my life. In elementary school, I loved nothing more than time spent racing my classmates on our school’s track. Y’all, I was fast. I won fitness day races and was amazed at my own speed. In middle and high school I was in to running “suicides” and sprints since I’d become a huge fan of playing basketball. In college I tried jogging for regular exercise but it never really stuck. I was physically active otherwise, as a member of our school’s color guard and a regular visitor to the gym, so the freshman 15 never appeared and I was too busy having fun to add more exercise to my day.
It wasn't until my early twenties that running became a necessity. I absolutely had to do something to relieve work- and life-related stress. I found myself working 60 and 70 hour weeks while also trying complete graduate school and my physical and psychological health were coming unraveled. As time went on, I finished grad school but my work life was more chaotic and my personal life suffered. As I neared 30, I was working from home and putting in more hours than ever. I felt isolated, exhausted and hopeless.
I had begun jogging on the treadmill at my apartment complex gym and while I was pounding the stress out with my feet, an important relationship was budding. My immense stress had begun to manifest as despair, depression. As I ran, my mind would wander to my circumstances and as I’d feel more and more discouraged, I’d start to talk to God.
“Why is life like this? What did I do wrong? Why have you doomed me, God?”
My prayers weren't healthy – they were accusatory, angry – but they were prayers. I would get so lost in these prayers, I would forget that I was running, and the number of miles I could complete kept ticking up. On especially bad or stressful days, I’d set my treadmill to an impossible speed and angrily sprint away, and as always, I was talking to God.
A few years ago, after telling a friend that I didn't like to run with a buddy, I realized that was because the spot had already been filled. God had been my running partner all along. He’d endured mile after mile of complaining and griping and had never turned around to go home early. Like the best of friends, He’d just listened.
I felt guilty for all my whining and knew I had to change the conversation.
These days, as I run around my new island town in Hawaii, I look at the scenery and thank God that I've got such a pretty “gym”. I thank God for my husband who sometimes waits along my route with a bottle of water and encouraging words. I thank God for giving me strong legs and a stubborn personality – the perfect mix for completing long distance runs. I ask God for strength. I tell Him that I can’t finish the race unless He keeps running with me, and of course, He always does.
God calls us to a real and personal relationship with Him, and I’m forever blessed that in our relationship, God is my running buddy.
Do you share your hobbies with God?
Thank you for sharing with us, Sarah! You run the race well, my friend! Keep it up.