March 25, 2017

Running on Empty

Running as sport is something that I’ve never appreciated.  When I was a in middle school, the majority of girls played field hockey.  I didn’t like this idea for two reasons: first, who plays sports in a skirt?  and second, I hate running.  One look realizing that field hockey practice was almost as tedious as what the track team was doing and I realized it wasn’t the path for me.

In 2015, when I arrived in Hungary I made a decision that I was going to be conscious about being active and caring for my body (check out this previous blog post) and along with that came the concept of running.  To some, running is life giving, it’s been a means of exercise and endorphins for years and remains a way to destress.  For me, it was the opposite.  It lasted about a month and a half until a few things happened…

1. The weather got colder.

Circumstances often dictate activity… as the seasons change often times our activities do as well.

2. I compared.

Guilty as charged I had a roommate (Mandy) who ran literally most of her life, when I realized that I couldn’t keep up with her rather than still pursuing something that was good for me, I was discouraged and quit.

3. I got insecure.

As I recognized that I never would be as good a runner Mandy (self-inflicted) it wasn’t an encouragement to be better than “Lauren was” a self-condemnation that I’ll never be as good as Mandy in any sense.  Guys your “lie detector” should be going off in full effect right now. Sure, I wasn’t as good as her in many ways, but that’s because my gifts & strengths are just different than hers… (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Truly, “comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.  So as I sit here, nearly 6 months to the day after boarding a plane back to the United State I see how comparing my life “here” to my life “there” is an equally dangerous thing.  I’m missing out on moments of joy in Pennsylvania when my mind is preoccupied with what “could have been” rather than what is.  You see, being in America is exhausting, at moments I’ll be honest I feel like a failure… this isn’t where I planned to be, and I have lost some ability to relate to certain people, and gained a new sense of compassion and connection with others.  Ultimately, being in a place of humility birthed in truth is freeing.

So what’s the point, how does this tie together, a running fail a year ago and my life today?  It’s easy to be “running on empty” when others or past experiences dictate how you live & feel about yourself.

About a month ago, I decided on a whim to run a 5K, on 2 weeks notice… Did I win?  No way!  Did I set any records? only my personal record (last time I tried to run a 5K I walked 3/4 of the time). Here’s a shout out to Pepé who ran beside me encouraging me through the moments when I said “I can’t do this … or …  without you by my side, I’d be walking right now.”  Am I going to become a runner?  It’s pretty unlikely, I actually haven’t run since that day!

I’ll wrap with more words from Mr. Roosevelt I was reminded of yesterday…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

How are you taking risks these days?

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