Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Imperfect Strides

I run these days with ear buds in my ears that are different sizes...the ear buds that is, I think my ears themselves are nearly the same size. My running clothes are fairly utilitarian but are not at all immune to wardrobe malfunctions...not of the flashing type but more of the creeping and sagging variety. My left running shoe squeaks with every step but it doesn't bother me because of the mismatched earbuds pumping all matter of noise into my head. There is no flat route in my running repertoire and the road home is always uphill.

Even with these less-than-perfect running circumstances, all working together in unison sometimes, it's still worth it. Once I'm out there, less than 50 yards into a run, I no longer notice that one earbud is fitting more snuggly in my ear than the other or that a piece of my clothing is either riding up or falling down. I'm just so terribly thrilled to be putting one foot in front of the other whether it be on the treadmill, or as now, out in the awakening spring with the dogwood flowers falling on my head as I pass under them.

There is something about taking time to push this body of mine down the street a little faster or further than the last time. It's something else too to see my girls watching as I approach the house cheering me on and learning from me as I learn the importance of taking care of the body I've been given. Still more there's this boy who holds my heart and who is working hard to be the best runner he can be and I kind of feel like I need to hold up the standard he's setting with his steady devotion and increasingly faster times.

I keep running because I want to keep eating sorbet and because it's birthday season here and that means ice cream cake is on the menu in a heavy rotation. I keep running because of how I feel after I've come home sweat-soaked and red-faced. I keep running because my clothes savvy daughters seem to enjoy calling my attention to how things were...before.

"Oh Mom!" says Kate, "I just saw a picture of you from a long time ago when you were...when...you looked really REALLY different than you do now. And Mom, you look lots better now."

Um...thanks? At least "thanks" from the "now me" and on behalf of the really REALLY different old me... "Kate, you didn't love me any less then."

I feel so much better now that I am a little healthier. I have no significant numbers to boast of on the scales and mores the better because it just can't be about those numbers. Those numbers used to rule my outlook for each and every day. It simply has to be about taking care of this body that God has given me, this body that I've taken for granted for far too long.

I recently read a book {shocking, I know} called Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul by Gary Thomas in which he poses a question that sinks deeply into my heart...
What if exercise and discipline in eating isn't as much about physical health as about honoring the God who made us?
What if?  What if in the joy and excitement of feeling better and fitting into different clothes, my little audience of four thinks that it's all about how one looks? If that's the case, I've missed an opportunity to help them honor  God in the bodies that they have been given.

What if, however, I'm able to communicate to them at the beginnings of their journeys in those precious bodies that those bodies are indeed precious and that taking care of them is an important work of stewardship, NOT so they can be the skinniest one in the room, NOT so they can run the furthest or the fastest, and NOT so they can look down on others who may be struggling with their fitness like their very own mother has for the better part of her adulthood, but instead so they can be fit for His service, what ever that may be.

What if I remember that too, on those many many many mornings when putting on my squeaky shoes and my smelly shirt and my really cool socks {I really love my running socks...they actually match!} and leaving the house is the LAST thing I want to do, when a nice cup of coffee and a good book and a bagel sound like a much kinder and gentler way of greeting the day, and when my Boy saying, "Hey Mom, you runnin' tomorrow?" makes me groan out loud.

What if I remember, instead of rolling over, that I need to "Therefore honor God with {my} body" and just do the work because right about the time I've forgotten about my mismatched earphones and my poorly-tied shoestrings...that work becomes worship! Worship aimed directly at the God who made me.

"And when he redeemed us, he didn't just redeem our souls; he redeemed our bodies and claims them for his use as well. Therefore honor God with your bodies." ~Gary Thomas


G'ma suz said...

Great post! Says it all!
from another that cheers you on
even if from afar, MOM

Sudeana said...

Stink! You're actually gonna have me out there running before long;) love it!

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