I hate running. I mean like hate it to the point it makes me angry when people try to convince me that it’s not so bad and to run with them. Ask any of my running friends and they will say that it only took them one conversation to learn never to ask me to run with them again. It actually gets scary.
Something that always makes people laugh, however, is when I tell them I played soccer for fifteen years– one of the biggest running sports. But even then, I hated running. Coach would have us run a few miles to warm up before practice and I would want to die. Not because it was hard, but because it just drove me crazy. Math has never been my forte, and I would somehow “miscount” my laps so that I finished with everyone else. I was right behind the pack the whole time was the excuse that rang in the air when I chugged water with the team. When in reality, I simply did not want to spend however many minutes running however far, only to stop.
Once I started getting injured, my joints and back would scream with any type of running, whether on a treadmill, grass, or pavement. But when I got to college and was no longer playing soccer or had a reason that made me stay in shape, I decided I needed to figure out something quick. That freshman fifteen is real! I toyed around with racquetball and tennis, weightlifting and elliptical. After four years of trying to find the right niche for my post-high school wanna-be athletic abilities and for my inability to stay focused for a long period of time without getting bored, I finally landed on yoga and cycling. Aka, stretching and riding my bike. But yoga and cycling sounds more mature for a college graduate to say anyway.
Yoga is that one activity that doesn’t mean I have to move too much but can still sweat my brains out. I am already decent with balance, so it improves my confidence along with stretching and strengthening my joints and muscles. Cycling is something I have found fits me perfectly. It still makes me realize how out of shape I am because I can always up the gears or find some hills to make my legs burn. Yet, it allows all my joints to love me and my back can actually relax at times during a ride. And I can change scenery quick so I don’t get bored. It has turned out to be my favorite.
The unfortunate thing about living in Texas is the weather is so inconsistent week-to-week that it easily knocks me out of any sort of exercise routine I should have. One day, it might be overcast and in the 30s, and the next day I’m walking around in shorts and catching some rays. Early last week, I went to bed telling myself I would ride in the morning, regardless of the weather. Thankfully, I woke up to a beautiful, 70 degree, sunny day that made me feel invincible as soon as I hopped on my bike.
The ride started off lovely. I hadn’t been on a long ride in quite some time, but I was surprised at how easy it seemed to go. A little wind here, a slight hill there, but overall I was doing well. Then all of the sudden, as I was reaching my halfway point, I couldn’t breathe. My chest squeezed tight, my legs started cramping, and the wind seemed to pick up immensely. Noises came from me and my bike that I had never heard before. Who knew you can’t bike ten miles on just a cup of coffee?! Needless to say, the last half-mile was miserable. I was about to turn the corner into my neighborhood, when I began to feel nauseous. I chanted I’m not throwing up, I’m not throwing up the rest of the way and somehow pulled up to my driveway. Once I got inside, I sat for about an hour, confused and tired.
Why was that so hard?
Why did I feel so sick?
What in the world happened out there??
Then it hit me. I had been walking around, saying that I cycle, but hadn’t actually been riding. I carried the swag of a long-distance cyclist, but definitely didn’t ride like one. I expected to hit the road for ten miles with ease, even though I hadn’t been training. I even filled my body with coffee beforehand instead of the right nutrients in order to healthily finish the ride. And when the struggles came, I wasn’t prepared for the crosswinds that hit me and caught me off balance.
While these ego-busting realities still lingered in my mind, God came, sat down next to my weary body, and whispered these words:
Just as you talked like a cyclist, walked like a cyclist, you consumed the wrong things. You weren’t ready for the ride. Beware that you don’t just talk like a Christian and walk like a Christian, only to move on with life. Consume Me, so that you are ready when the winds come and try to knock you over.
What I consume invades my heart, overflows into my words, and affects my body and soul. Only He who is Lord is healthy, so why would I intake something that plagues my spirit and infects others? How easy it is to speak or walk one way, only to fall because my foundation is built on something that cannot to stand when the winds blow.
May I continually be reminded that all I consume is expressed, and may I daily consume more and more of the One who strengthens and satisfies me so that the winds may cease to knock me down.