By Christy Pratt, Perth.
It’s been over a month since I ran a half marathon. 21 kilometers of sweat, blisters, and sore aching muscles. 21 kilometers of thinking about life, love, God, and everything I see around me. I started running because I wanted to live a healthier life. What I didn’t realise is that it would give me hours to myself to think. We often talk about how essential spiritual practices are to our lives and our ministry. I would say that in general I am very bad at spiritual practices. I don’t sit still well, meditating is beyond me and I get distracted when I’m trying to focus. It just doesn’t really work for me. So finding a way I could talk to God, while doing something active was perfect.
I can remember this one Sunday towards the beginning of my training. I was supposed to run 9km, which would be the farthest I had run till that day. I threw all my gear in my gym bag and headed off to church. The weather during church was a little iffy and I was getting a bit nervous about what it would look like while I was running, thankfully I had packed a raincoat. The morning activities came to a close and I got ready for my run around Lake Monger. As I left the building the last stragglers said their well-wishes for my jog and I went on my way. As I ran around the lake I became more and more aware that my headphones were probably going to get ruined in the rain, so I took them off, hid them in my jacket, and put my hood down. At this point it was pouring down rain, like sheets of rain. I had a slight moment of panic and then this extreme calm. I continued to run my 3 laps around the lake in the rain and fell in love with running in the rain. I loved being forced to turn my music off, to stop listening to all the chaos and enjoy the world that was around me. To feel every drop of water fall on my skin and my face and find the peace in the chaos. Now I find myself looking forward to those rainy runs.
I’m not training for a half marathon anymore, in fact I’ve found it very hard to get back into running in the last few weeks. And as I sit here and reflect on my last few weeks I can tell that my head feels a bit more fuzzy. I don’t have the same focus I did when I was running all the time. But I also realise that my muscles needed a break, badly. They needed time to rebuild after working so hard. So what does this mean for my God-talk time? If I’m not running, when does that happen?
The good thing about God, is that God’s not very good at being scheduled in. God’s always there, always ready to listen. And though your body may need a break from physical activity every once and a while, your spirit feels fuller when it is active. Running has taught me how important that time away is, the time to be honest with God. To bare everything and let your soul sing out. So make time. Find time in your busy life. Because God will be there, ready and waiting.