The sun was in my face, good music was in my ears, and my feet hit the pavement. As my feet hit the ground with each strike, I was careful to land just right. After months of being injured, having knee surgery, and currently undertaking physical therapy, I was aware that one wrong side motion could wipe me out again. But six weeks of PT was working and I was able to jog several yards before slowing down to a walking pace. I did this over and over again as I reveled in the freedom I had.
Freedom to run.
Freedom of spirit.
Freedom of mind.
Over the last several months, I’ve realized why I run. I began running ten years ago. At the time, it was my source of stress management. As a mom of four kids and working-full with teenagers, running was the only 30 minutes where my mind was my own, where no one could touch me or ask anything of me.
As time has become more limited with the demands of parenting and life, running is sporadic, but a priority. During the winter months, I’m dormant because of daylight savings and weather. But running periodically in the winter is a release for me when stress or seasonal depression gets the best of me. It gives me a boost, clears my mind, and brings balance to my body and spirit.
What do you do that gives you a clear mind and brings balance to your body and spirit?
Living without the option to run poses a problem for me.
I’ve realized if I don’t have healthy options to release stress, I’m tempted to turn to unhealthy options.
Confessions of a woman trying to live addiction-free for a lifetime.
I wish I could say food is never an issue for me, but I can’t.
Do you have something you run to when you’re stressed? What do you self-medicate with? Technology? Shopping? Sports? Sleep? Alcohol? Medication? Sex? Or do you, too, run to food?
I come from a family where comfort food is normal.
I grew up pushing against it and developed anorexia. Then I became bulimic. My development and identity as a teen and young adult revolved around food, though it was hidden. There are reasons why people turn to food or other substances for self-medication. There are payoffs. It comforts. It nurtures. You’re in control of your body, your mind and emotions for a few minutes as you feed your senses with momentarily pleasures. To overcome an addiction, the payoff of overcoming it with healthy behavior has to be more enticing than what the addiction does for you.
I’ve learned if I don’t have the option to run, it messes with my mind.
There’s something spiritual about both of them being in balance.
It deals with freedom.
The freedom of your body, soul and spirit to experience joy and peace….like adrenalin that runs through your body when you run.
A rush of contentment, happiness, and top-of-the-world feeling.
What does that for you? What gives you that rush? Is it healthy? Or do you run to things that dull your senses? Do you seek things that bring balance and freedom or things that bind you and bring destruction?
I’ve done both.
I’ve fought hard to remain healthy and have balance in my life physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I’ve decided if I can only run one-hundred yards at a time, I’ll take it.
I need it.
I don’t ever want to go back to being bound.
So I fight to remain free.
I don’t do this alone.
My battle to remain free from the hold of food, self-harm, and addiction has been a journey between me and God.
He walks with me every step.
He fills me with peace and joy.
But I have to stay vigilant to keep Him in that place.
How do you fight for God to stay the center of your life?
What do you do to fight things off that are more enticing than the presence of God?
Living healthy is hard work.
Living balanced is hard work.
Living in the fullness of God requires action.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near you.” James 4:8 (NIV)
Like running brings freedom to me, so does having the fullness of God in your life.
I’ve learned it’s worth pursuing both of them with vigilance.
Freedom of mind, body, and spirit is a glimpse of eternity where there will be “no death, or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4.)
Addictions only relieve this temporarily.
Healthy balance and the presence of God relieves this for a lifetime.
Where do you need to experience freedom in healthy ways?
Where do you need to place God as the center of you life?
Where do you need to be balanced?
Ask the Lord of all goodness to empower you to make the changes needed to bring balance. If you need a prayer partner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my honor to pray with you as you work to bring balance, center, and freedom to your life.
Holy Father, draw each of us to the healthy life you desire for us. Give us grace to admit the things that are out of balance in our lives, and give us a glimpse of the goodness you have for us that is greater than any pay off our out-of-balance choices give us. Equip us to do the hard work to live healthy. Prompt us to make the first step in drawing nearer to you. Thank you that You never fail. Amen.