Confession: i am a runner

Posted: 12/03/2009 in Musings, Running, Running the Race

I am a runner.

That might sound like a rather simple statement, but it has taken me years to come to grips with this. Even as I write this I have the strange support group feeling about that statement…

“umm… hello. My name is Michael… <ahem> and I’m … I’m a runner.”

For those of you who know me, the first aspect of this title won’t come as any sort of shock or surprise. I am a runner; I run away from the tough, the difficult, the unsettled feeling of inflicted disappointment. I have been characterized as… the one… the only, “the Incredible Disappearing Man!” And while such a billing might lend itself toward a brief comic book career, it only acts as a small light into the unhealthy nature of what I have marketed as a normal “defense mechanism.” But in this quick, quiet retreat that I have perfected over the years, I have betrayed trust, skirted responsibility and growth and have ultimately sidestepped so many opportunites for development of my character and consistency. Its not pretty, but for it change I need to at least be honest about the tendency.

Secondly, and the most straightforward of the interpretations of this simple statement, is that I am a runner. I like running. Call it some sick, dilusional affection toward strapping on a pair of shoes and acting like something is chasing me, but I actually enjoy it. I can blame it all on April Dunfee, cross-country runner extrordinaire, who one day in high school invited me to go for a quick run around the neighborhood. Since then I have my favorite paths, my challenging courses and a super-marathon under my belt, and while I don’t think this is really all that strange, I have also realized that it isn’t “normal”.  So while some people are knitters, others are dancers, and still other are gardeners . . . I am a runner.

And finally , the last aspect of “I am a runner”, I have had a very difficult time coming to grips with. So, nearly 2000 years ago a guy named Paul had the audacity to say … “You are a runner.” … well not literally, but essentially.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
1 Corinthians 9:24

You might find it strange, but I am perfectly fine calling myself a Christian, but the idea of actually treating like a runner, especially a runner pushing and straining toward a goal with perseverence has been difficult for me to accept.  If I am honest this hesitation lies in the crosshairs of my habits of running away from issues and my experiences strapping on the Nikes and hitting the pavement.  I know that running, especially for the long haul, is tough, and I also know that I tend toward giving up, BUT I also know that I am called to “run with endurance the race that is set before [me]” (Heb12:1).

So this is the heart of this blog, the reason why I am writing: if I AM A RUNNER…

What does it look like to run the race well?

I’m not sure… but I sure do want to find out.

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Comments
  1. Hannah says:

    I loved reading this. I look forward to seeing more input from you as you write! It is inspiring to read what you’ve gleaned from your experiences and it inspires me to do the same with my own life application ideas I’ve been brewing with. Thank you! You’re an awesome brother, and I’m very proud of you!

  2. […] at church and what it looks like to have a heart for missions I realized that much of “Thoughts from a Runner” really could be summed up by the book of […]

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