In less than three weeks, I will be twenty-two, but I feel old. Before the older folk chime in with “No, you’re just a young thing!” let me explain. I have a reputation for being a very active youngster in his prime who goes on long runs and bikes everywhere. While this is true, I only bike because I must, and running seems to be a must as well, even though it really hurts most times.
Since I was in middle school, I’ve had pain in various areas of my body. In seventh grade, pain in my lower back and hamstrings kept me from participating in PE class, even though I thoroughly enjoy playing sports, running, etc. I had really weak ankles and twisted them almost every time I played pickup games with my siblings. These problems plagued me on into high school and when I played football at East, my ankles continued to bother me. Over the course of lifting weights for football, my shoulders weakened and the joint is now only tentatively in its rightful place. During track my senior year, I developed shin splints running hurdles and doing long jump, because I have a high arch and that puts added stress on my legs and knees, neither of which could really handle it. Since I started my final growth spirt, my back has been unhappy at best.
When I coached track as a college freshman, I played soccer with Royal Rangers and injured my right big toe, the turf toe variety (Ie tearing ligaments that help your big toe balance your weight). Now, granted I’m not a weighty fellow, but because of my high arch, most of my weight and thus balance is on my big toes, so even today, I still feel a sharp sting of pain shooting up my leg when I walk, turn, or jog a certain way. For a reference on how long ago I injured it, I was 18 and a half.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering why I would chronicle all these aches and pains that I’ve experienced, and I assure you there is a point to all this (As there usually is when I blog). No, it’s not to complain or beg for sympathy or make an excuse for not helping out as often. Even in the midst of all this pain, I still was able to run no less than six miles at a time quite often this summer and continue to go on runs and bike to school. So why do I do it, if it hurts so much?
Running, I’ve found is the one way that allows me to take my mind off what’s going on in my life. This has some usefulness when I’m overwhelmed about things and stressing out, because when my mind is not on what’s going on in my life or the thoughts my introverted personality finds hard to communicate with the masses, it turns to my Creator and Lord.
Each run begins with the realization that I’m becoming overwhelmed by life, then I don the proper attire and start out. I tell God what I’m so stressed about and often find myself just praising Him for the beauty I see. If my focus weren’t on God, my legs would cause me to quit after a half mile, but instead I press on. The signals to stop are ignored as I’m completely invaded by Christ. You see, I’ve found that running helps me refocus and surrender my problems to God. Effective stress management, I believe, is not about relieving stress, but rather giving it up. Running is a time for me to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), Note: the rest of that chapter is pretty sweet too.
So what is the thing(s) you do to take your mind off things that stress you?
Is there a point at which commonplace profundity becomes shallow?