Several years ago, my good friend very accurately told me my life motto should be, “Why stand when you can sit?”

Not-lean.  Uncoordinated.  A reader.  That girl in school you really hope doesn’t get picked for your kickball team.  The lady in front of you in church who can’t clap and sing at the same time.

Yeah, that’s me.

And I’ve been ok with that.  I love watching all the good dancers at weddings.  I am perfectly content making dinner while my family plays soccer.  Sometimes I even sit on the deck with a good book while they have their crazy fun.

But a while back, I started seeing a problem with the way I was living.

The problem comes because I need a strong heart to be a good mom to my kids, to mother them without falling on the couch in exhaustion every afternoon.  I need stronger muscles so I can hike with them when we go to the mountains.

And most importantly, I need a strong spirit- my real, forever heart- to fight the good fight of life well. And I can’t do that if I stay content with my weaknesses, if I keep coddling myself.

All this sitting and watching, all this keeping myself safe under my crocheted couch blanket isn’t making me stronger, isn’t making my heart yearn more for Him.  

In fact, my safety in doing only what I am good at, what comes easy to me, might actually be producing bad fruit in my life.  Self sufficiency.  Lethargy.  A heart that takes refuge in comfort instead of in the Comforter.

So, a couple months ago, after a long while of reading, thinking, researching (things I am good at!), I finally felt Him nudging me out of my safe place, into a pair of running shoes, and onto the pavement.

Even after almost 4 months, I still don’t know a lot about stride, pace, and pronation.

But I keep putting my shoes on and hitting the road.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I still have to walk during a ‘run.’  I get out of breath and feel sick and I am eagerly waiting for the infamous runner’s high (does that really exist?).

Sometimes I tear up and want to cry when I come around the corner and see my house. One day, I walked in the door after a run and just sobbed into my husband’s arms, “I can’t do this!”

I fight to put my shoes on, to get out the door.  I have read that it gets easier, and it also doesn’t get easier.  A hearty yes to both of those sentiments.

This is an ugly business, this putting off the old and putting on the new… this training of body and heart.

But my legs and lungs are getting stronger, and so is my reliance on the One who graciously showed me my need for change and Who has given me every once of strength and any bit of resolve I may have to keep going.  Seriously, running is so far out of what I have ever done or have ever even wanted to do, there is no explanation except the grace and mercy of God.

Running is simply one way I die to myself and live for Him.  Laziness and love of comfort are two habitual sins that tempt me.

But God gives me strength, and help, and courage.  He does not just give me help, He is my Help.  The more I think about what He has done for me, how He has completely justified me through His Son Jesus, the more I strength I have to walk in the truth that I am a new creation, I am no longer a slave to my passions and my comfort.  I don’t have to stay the same.