Running to God

by Nicole Dews

I was heavy as a child. At about the age of 12, my mom urged (forced) me to start running with her. It was the eighties, and girls should be skinny (not healthy or well-proportioned…skinny). I hated it.

Over the years, what started out as a painful hour of torture has become something quite different. It has become my time with God. It is an hour of thinking, reflection and prayer.

I no longer run for appearance, I run because I crave this one-on-one time with God. It is my time to watch the sun rise, to thank God for all my blessings, to talk through tough decisions, to beg forgiveness for my sins.

When my parents were getting divorced, I would go for a run and cry to God for comfort. When I was dealing with my own marriage problems, I would go for a run and ask God for guidance and direction. When I yelled at my kids or fought with my mom or said something mean or hurtful, I would go for a run and beg God for forgiveness.

Running has also been a time of celebration. On the day of my wedding, my mom and I woke up early and went for a run to thank God for all of our blessings and celebrate this new adventure called marriage. When my kids were babies, I would run and push them in the stroller, pointing out all the exciting things in our neighborhood – the trees, the flowers, the puppies, and even an occasional fox or deer.

On my morning runs with God, I see the sunrise and know that he is there. I experience the changing seasons – hearing the birds chirping with the coming of spring… feeling the warmth and sun of summer… tasting the crisp air of autumn… and shivering in the dark, somber mornings of winter. I love them all.

I was reading an interview with an elite runner, and one of the questions asked if he had a chant or mantra. It’s common among runners to have a phrase or saying to repeat during a run to stay motivated. Common mantras are “You can do it,” “One more step,” “Keep it going,” you get the idea. Anyway, this elite runner was asked if he had a mantra, and he replied, “The Lord’s Prayer.” It really struck me. And, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I thought that I would give it a try on my next run.

That was about a year ago. I now finish each morning run with an exhilarating ¼ mile climb, the mountains in the distance, the radiant sunrise above me, and recite The Lord’s Prayer. No matter what is going on in the world, for that moment, I am at peace. I am with God.

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7 comments on “Running to God

  1. Wow, what a cool way to end your run. And maybe it can be give us our next step instead of our daily bread. I am always very thankful after a long run. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love your blog post, Nicole. There is definitely a spirituality to running. The rhythm. The solitude. The opportunity to focus on God. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. JPMoyer MD says:

    Well I was FAT, hit 254 pounds at age 45, and was told by a colleague I’d never see my sons graduate from high school. Scared!!
    Early in life as a preteen, I was fat, was called “fat” by the other kids. My grandmother fed me very tasty foods, gravy, cakes, nurture foods, waddle foods. Then she urged me roll on the front lawn for 30 minutes to get the fat off!
    I lost 95 pounds through Weight Watchers. I have mostly kept it off ONLY because I walk every morning, 6 days a week on an indoor track. While I walk I listen to classical music, my praise and worship tunes I call them. I cannot stand contemporary Christian music but would rather listen to a Bach cantata or Beethoven Mass. These Nano things hold so much music!!
    I’m now 71 and feel terrific. That colleague’s harsh comment awakened my “stewardship” drive, I soon thereafter became a believer and the weight loss made tons more sense and meaning to me as I read Scripture and contemplated Holy Ghost temples, and keeping healthy…my paraphrase.
    I do think during the 60 minute walk, what’s up for today God? Anything special? Thanking Him for my small group, Neighborhood Church, volunteer work, all stuff He’s given me to spend my retirement doing, able to be active and outdoors, helping inner city kids and teaching medical students how to listen to their patients.

  4. Evan Roth says:

    Great post Nicole! What a beautiful way to start your day.

  5. Rob Honcoop says:

    I started saying the Lord’s Prayer in the center of a larger park I walk the dogs to each day. I do a 360 degree turn as a pray, pausing and repeating one line or another, observing the clouds or the stars or feeling the rain. It give me perspective, and a peace. I leave feeling more connected with God.

  6. Thanks Nicole, this post is still making me think. I’m trying out ending my runs with the Lord’s prayer now.

    Also, thank you for sharing your story in the comments John!

  7. Diana Kramer says:

    Beautiful. I’m so glad you have that

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