Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just Who Do I Think I Am?!

Tuesday morning I slipped out the door for a morning run, and as I watched the sun cast my shadow along the road in front of me, a mocking voice whispered in my head, "Just who do you think you are, out here running like some kind of athlete"?

Now, I've known since I began running a year and a half ago that most of the battle is mental.  Struggling against the voice that cries to stay in bed, or the whining about the weather, or the nagging concern about the time or my knees, or any number of things that might possibly keep me indoors, is almost a daily routine.  Most of the time it's best to ignore the voices and allow them to fade away with the sounds of my footfalls.  This voice, however, needed an answer.

It was, after all, a valid question.  Who do I think I am?  I despised running my entire life; avoided it whenever possible.  In high school I was one of those girls who sat in the bleachers or walked around the track with friends. In the Army I never ran a step beyond what was required, which, as I saw it, was already way too much.  I've joined gyms and exercise classes on a sporadic basis, and even worked in one for a while, but going outdoors for a sustained period of self-inflicted torture was not my idea of a good time.

And now here I am, 44 years old, registered for a half-marathon, going out for "training runs" most mornings of the week.  I have made friends with other runners and join them for group runs.  I have not only purchased, but subscribed to Runner's World magazine.  (Granted, the first issue I bought was for the sake of the recipes.)  When I get the new issue in the mail I read every article- every one- and try to figure how to improve my own timing/ stride/ diet/ you name it.  I don't obsess, but I consider carefully what I eat the day before a long run, and I'm now making my own sports drink- from a friend's recipe- so that I know what I'm drinking.  When I see lovely destinations in a magazine or on TV one thought that now comes to  mind is, "I'd like to run there".

So when the voice suggests that I am an impostor, I need to answer, if only for myself.

Because, you see, I've heard this voice before.

When I've dared to lead a group of women in Bible study, and many of them are more mature than I am, I hear it.

When I picked up John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion to attempt to read them through in a year, I heard it again.

When I choose to attend a theological conference, attempt to understand issues of doctrine, or prefer those topics of conversation over lighter fare, the whisper repeats, "Who do you think you are"?

Though I find the answer all throughout Scripture, J.I. Packer sums it up beautifully.

"What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the final analysis, the fact that I know God, but the fact which underlies it- the fact that He knows me.  I am graven on the palms of his hands.  I am never out of his mind.  All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me.  I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me.  He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me,  or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters."  Packer, (1973) Knowing God, (pp 41-42) InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Who am I?

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother- five times over, a friend, a reader, a gardener, a photographer, a foodie, a traveler, a history buff, an educator, a writer, a cat-lover, (sorry Vali) and an extremely amateur wine enthusiast.

I am also a runner.

But, far and away most importantly, I am a Christian; a child of the Almighty Creator of the universe, filled with the Holy Spirit, and a brother of Jesus Christ by virtue of the atonement which He purchased for me at the Cross by His own precious blood.  Secure in this great salvation I am moved by gratitude beyond comprehension to seek to know God better and to live in a manner worthy of my calling.

I believe that answers the question.


Janet Oberholtzer said...

I've ran (and sweated) with you, so I know ... you are officially a runner!

I like your approach of acknowledging and answering the voice and the questions in your head ... too often I just try to stuff it, rather than address it. (childhood pattern I'm still trying to overcome)

Run on!

Barbaranne said...

I'm looking for a "like" button for you comment- thanks Janet!

In this heat lately, runners = lunatics! Let's go!