By Bethany Rogers
I’m not entirely sure when my relationship with running shifted from “something that I happened to do” to “something that I truly love.” I just know that it happened; and boy, am I glad that it did.
After all, it’s common knowledge that running is deeply embedded in the physical. Yet, while many people recognize this, they are often unaware of the deep mental and spiritual aspects of running that also exist.
For me, a lover of long distance, this spiritual side of running has proven to be a major part of my life, something that has provided such restoration and peace that I simply can’t imagine my life—or myself—without it.
I find great solace in what I have begun to call the “comfortable silence” of a nice long run, which is perhaps a seeming contradiction for many people in the world today who have a paralyzing fear of silence, of quiet, of the world which is unleashed when one is left alone with his or her thoughts and nothing more.
But I love it; I live for it; I long for it.
I discovered this to be especially true in my current season of life. This year has been filled with a number of trying experiences in terms of my faith—questions, doubts, uncertainties, fears, you name it. When these problems arise, it can be terrifying and world-rocking, and for a while, it truly was.
Yet, I found that it was during these times of great difficulty and doubt that I craved running the most. There’s something about the strength in the surrender of it all. I may not have my life all together, but when I’m running, it doesn’t seem to matter. Instead, my focus shifts to the present moment, and those all-consuming worries and doubts become irrelevant for the time being.
And all that counts is right then and there: the fluid movement of the body, the swiftly passing scenery, the pounding of the pavement, the softly patterned breathing, the flood of thought, the here, the now.
It’s an incredible reminder of what it means to be set free. It’s an extraordinary testament to the great promise of the present. It’s an awesome tribute to the vast impact that rests in consistency.
When things seem like they’re spinning out of my control, I always know I can just go for a run. And during this time, I not only reconnect with myself, but also with my Creator God—who remains constant in the trenches, who meets us in the here and now, who has the ability to make himself known to us in the comfortable silence of a nice long run.
And therein lies the deeper meaning of running for me. There’s a very strange sort of invincibility that arises from being reminded that you are not, in fact, invincible.
Running heals. Running heals all.
Click here to read Bethany’s debut Hooray Run write-up, “Post-Race Perspective: Shedding Light on the Paradox of Running.” For more of Bethany’s photography, follow her on Instagram @bethjoyrog.