A lesson in running…

This little family blog of ours has been around for many years now. Occasionally I will meander through back posts to remember what the past years were like, to see my joys and my struggles and to hear where my heart was. I started this blog as a way to document these years full with the pitter-patter of footsteps, the spills and messes, the creating and crafting, the marriage that fights to find energy and luster amidst the everyday, and the experiences and circumstances that affect us for good or for ill. All of this is what makes us – our unique family and the story God is writing in our lives. There are parts of the story that are so beautiful and wonderful and others so painful that I’ve been tempted to shove them aside back in the dark where they don’t belong. They need light – O! They need light. All of these – the ugly and the beautiful make up us and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When I was in college, I got serious about running. I ran in high school some as well as played sports and I grew up dancing. I’ve always been active. In college, running became a passion. I got good at it and even tricked my husband into thinking it was fun. I ran 5ks and 10ks and went on to get married and have babies and added in running half-marathons- that distance being my favorite of all. My goal was to run a half-marathon after each pregnancy and baby, and I did – I even trained whilst nursing. Recently, In my mid 30’s, I’ve even achieved a personal record of running a 7 minute mile. I know, sounds hard core right?

The past two years have been a struggle for me and my active self. God has a way of slowing us down. The pregnancies slowed down and so did the hormones that come along with it and I found myself out of balance. To top it all off, I pulled a major muscle that has caused my running to come to an all-out hault. As with all of the suffering God allows in our lives, it never comes without purpose. I’ve felt impatient, anxious and antsy having to rest from running while seeking other forms of excercise. I’ve even seen how little idols can be erected in our hearts due to how fit we think we are or need to be and living in bondage to even a seemingly harmless thing such as excercise. But our hearts are idol factories and we all make idols out of even those good things. Sometimes it’s easier to make them idols because we hide behind the fact that they are “good” and “beneficial”. I came across this article the other day and it really resonated with me. Sisters, Serene and Pearl write,

“Have you noticed the culturally accepted new fit female image is “hard,” “ripped” and “shredded” beyond feminine soft lines? Are we the only ones wondering how and why the unique differences between the male and female body have become hazier? We doubt it. The new image of female fitness portrayed by media is heading in a new extreme direction. “Guns” have replaced toned biceps, the new “sexy” is the ripple of ab muscles beneath tight skin rather than a healthy, trim waist line. Time for a tide turn we think. We’re certainly not saying we as females should not seek fitness …no way! The benefits of exercise are indisputable. It is natural and healthy to get our hearts pumping and to seek healthy tone for these bodies God made and surely wants us to honor. But many women are beating themselves up to get this new state of extreme shred. While many people under exercise, over exercising is too often encouraged and is becoming a raging epidemic. Just check out Pinterest and the pictures and posts that are pinned with the intention to be inspirational. They’re scary! Here’s a recent one we just read that is being repinned thousands of time… “I AM NOT AFRAID TO SWEAT. NOT AFRAID TO TEAR. NOT AFRAID TO BLEED. I AM ONLY AFRAID TO QUIT!”

I have 3 girls go will grow up in this culture of the pressure to be something that’s unattainable. Of course I will teach them to be active and to be a good steward of their bodies. But I also want them to treat their bodies with gentleness and love and to know that they are fearfully made with unique differences and limitations. 

These women go on to say something that is so beautifully true, ” As females our bodies are different at the literal inner core to males. Inside our core is a womb and other delicate and intricate parts that are unique to women. Exercise programs and drills that are not designed with sensitivity to the wonderful differences of being female, can be hazardous to our health aggravating such conditions as Diastasis (a split in the abdominal muscles) and incontinence. Exercise programs that are boot camp style and push us harder than our bodies are ready for can result in faulty muscle imbalances, poor posture and spinal alignment which have huge impact on bone density.”

I hope to be able to run again, but I’m also ok if I never do. I will always seek to care for this sacred body God has loaned in my care, I will do weight training and HIIT workouts and lots of yoga. But I will not bow to what the world tells me to be. I will embrace my own unique body – it’s shape and design and I will treat it kindly. I will tell my girls of their own beauty too – that pretty is not the same as beauty – and remind them of the lies and the idols that so easily entangle. And we will walk in grace together. No harsh standards or comparison, only a forward walking together – hand in hand until we hear those words we so long for in the approval of the One whom we were made for.