Welcome to this installment in the series JOURNEY: FINDING FAITH IN RUNNING, a series focused on taking a candid look at life through the lens of a runner. But not just any running journey – one that focuses on marrying the run with the sacrifice that Christ made for us all.
How can we find Christ in the midst of an easy run? Or a grueling run? Or a run after weeks or months after an injury or a break due to life circumstances? Ink Slinger Randi (the Runner) will take us through her own journey of running, going back almost two full decades.
We know that pain and suffering have divine purpose. Perhaps you have been a runner for many years – or maybe you have just started taking up running. What better way to take that suffering and repurpose it for Christ.
When I run I am grounded. I am stripped raw of all the worldly afflictions. I am exposed – bare, raw, and vulnerable. And all that is left is me. The truest purest form of me. I am rested. I am renewed. I am invigorated. To put it simply, my cup is full. And this allows me to love better. When I don’t work on myself, the hard nitty gritty crevices of my heart that go untended for days, weeks, or even months, I lose myself. I lose who I want to be, especially with others. I lose my focus on what is important. I lose my focus on kindness, love, and self-giving. So I run to work on me. To reflect, to clean house, to realign my heart to Jesus.
Saint John Paul II reminds us that to love, to fully love, we must lay down ourselves for another. Love is an act of self-giving. And we only need to look at the cross to fully understand the magnitude, the weight, of such love. We only need to look at the cross to see Christ IS love. This giving of oneself for another is exactly the hope we have in Christ’s Passion. What a gift! What a heavy, weighty, immense gift and responsibility to follow His teachings and align our lives with this true, pure self-giving love. To suffer and sacrifice for others, so that we may love them as Jesus loves us. It is powerful. It is transforming. And it is hard.
So I run. I run to wash away the selfishness, the ego, my desires, my motivations, my greed, my anger, my bitterness, my resentment, and my frustrations. I run to cleanse myself and to kneel at the foot of the cross and say, “This Lord, all of this, all of my humanness, all of my sins are for you. I give these to you so that you may dwell in me, and I may dwell in you; and love as you love me.” Often times as the miles click by, and I’m only reminded of them by the silent vibration of my Garmin, this prayer is silent as well. It’s not quite as articulate or even really formed into words; but He knows it. He knows my heart and hears my prayer.
I am flawed and imperfect, but so immeasurably and unconditionally loved. All because Christ gave himself to save me. To save all of us! To cleanse us, to sanctify us, to make us new. To prepare us and lead us home with Him.
So I run and allow the sting of sweat in my eyes, the heavy inhale and exhale of my lungs, the strong steady beating of my heart, the aching muscles in my legs, and all my stirring thoughts to sanctify me; to kneel at the feet of Jesus and receive the love from the cross, so that I may be a beacon of His light and love others well.