Walking, Running, and Spiritual Disciplines

Maybe I’m the only one who does this. But I like to make connections between different arenas of life. I’ll compare reading a book to eating a nice meal. Or I’ll compare friendships to gardening. I think it’s fun. It’s kind of poetic and helps me think of life and keep a perspective.

A couple days ago I went jogging for the first time in awhile. I used to love jogging, but I just haven’t been able to do it as often as I once did. Jogging is the kind of thing you have to do regularly for it to work. Otherwise it just sucks. I was really excited because it was my first time to actually go jogging in my new shoes. Running in these shoes is like jogging on top of clouds with springs in them. It was wonderful. But after a short while I pretty much hurt everywhere. My legs were sore, my lungs burned, my heart was tired. The comfort of my shoes made me realize that it was only my own out-of-shape-ness that caused the discomfort. I really should go jogging more often.

I’ve tweeted before, “Jogging is like prayer…” I was reminded of that while I was jogging, but this time I tweaked it. I decided that walking is like prayer. It is comfortable and healthy and nice. I love walking. I’ve circled around the Lunsford Trail so many times walking and talking with friends. So many times we’ve rounded the corner to finish a lap and looked to one another, “How about another one?” Walking is delightful and enjoyable. It’s a safe place. Just like prayer. Prayer is a nice, delightful, and safe place.

Now, jogging, on the other hand — I decided — is like confession. It’s a great idea, but it hurts. I wasn’t aware of just how out-of-shape I was until I went jogging the other day and everything in my body hurt (I’ve been pretty sore since then too). Confession is the same way. I don’t truly grasp how fallen my soul is until I spill my guts to the Lord and to close friends. Then the junk in me all comes out. I hate it, but it’s so good.

I need to learn how to jog more and how to confess more. They’re painful and uncomfortable, but they’re do healthy. God, grant me grace to run to you and community with my sin to rid myself of all that keeps me from peace and from you. Teach me to live in the truth of the cross, and the knowledge that I can run to my high priest when I need grace (Hebrews 4:14-16) and to the royal priesthood around me to hear of your excellencies (1 Peter 2:9). Give me grace to confess and to walk in freedom.

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