|Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid|
I'm a RunnerOkay, I'm gonna come clean. I've started running. Actually I started last year - twisted my ankle (turning it 50 shades of purple!), gave up for 5 months and started again in February this year. I'm not a natural runner, you understand. When I think of a runner, I can see in my mind a slim bouncy gazelle like creature who barely touches the ground. Me, more of a 'we'll get there in the end kind of plodder'. Thing is, I've been doing it now for almost six months, on average 3 times per week. I did a 10km race in May (thrilled to do it under the hour) and loads of 5km races (every Saturday morning in Marley Park-all shapes and sizes). I never thought I could be a runner. Tried to start about 5 times over the years but always gave up after a few weeks thinking 'I just can't do it. I'm not like those runner people. Different animal. I'm a non-runner in the running game.' You know what? I've felt like that about prayer for years too and I am seeing now that there are a lot of parallels. So here goes. Puts your runners on.
You Have to Warm UpAll my failed attempts at running were down to trying to run too fast at the beginning and then getting exhausted and then saying 'I'm useless at this.' It's so important to take the time to transition. My mind and my body need time to settle in. When I sit down to pray, my mind is like an airport with 17 planes circling waiting to land.
|Image courtesy of potowizard|
As soon as I sit down, they start coming in. Some of them are things I have to do, some are things I am worried about or afraid of, some are hurts- 'she said, he said' type things. Also, my body isn't necessarily in the mood to sit and relax. It can be tense, carrying some of my stresses. For this I do a few spiritual stretches -mindfulness exercises. I find focusing on my breathing calms my mind and my body. I focus on breathing out my fears and worries and breathing in God's calm and peace. It takes a little patience but after about 5 minutes of imagining the air entering (bringing peace) and leaving (taking away unease) my body I'm not so antsy. I'm feeling more in my body, more present to
myself and to God.
The Hardest Part is Putting your Shorts OnMaking the decision to go for a run is the hardest part of the exercise. Even though I imagine pain and boredom before a lot of runs, I have never, ever gone out and been sorry I did it when I finished (okay, once when I got drenched.) Once the shorts are on, the battle is over and I am GAME ON. Choosing to sit down to pray can be so difficult. So many other important things come into your head. 'The grass needs to be cut. I need to ring my mother. It was rubbish last time. I can't face God now after doing/saying that!' The answer? 'Just put the bloody shorts on. I'm doing it, I don't care how I feel.' These days I run pretty much every second day. I'm getting to the stage, having done it since February, if the gap slips to 3 days, I miss it. It's almost like the running is carrying me. My prayer has been similar. It has its own momentum. As CS Lewis says " I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me." So there are some days when my desire pulls me in, but there are still the days when I have to say I am running/praying today because this is what I do. Pray Fat Boy Pray!
Every Now and Then you Glide
|Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid|