Why Did I Start Running?

I’m coming up on one year of running in a few days and for the past couple of months I’ve been thinking about why I started to begin with. There were a number of reasons but the one that kind of kicked me the most was that I was reading J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership and he asked “Have you ever broken a bad habit? To lead others, you must master your appetites”. He then suggests:

Why not take on some points of weakness and failure you are aware of and, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of discipline, concentrate on strengthening those areas of weakness and correcting faults.

Seminary was significant and difficult but it was something I had wanted to do for years. What difficult thing had I done that I wasn’t already predisposed to? Not much really. Another thing to mention here is that I noticed many of the spiritual leaders I admired were running. Could there be a connection between physical activity and spiritual maturity?

I was surprised to find the answer to that question on line in a short piece from Men’s Health. The piece is on weight loss tricks but it deals with exercise as well:


Christian men who report feeling greater intimacy with God through prayer are more likely to be physically active than other men, according to research from Cornell University. “Studies have shown that those who have more social support move more, and being closer to God may give men that support,” says lead researcher Karen Kim. Another possible reason: “General religion in the United States encompasses theological teachings about the body as a temple, which may also lead to the consumption of a healthier diet and increased physical activity,” she adds. Amen to that.

So apparently there IS a connection. How about that?  I was surprised to find this coming from Men’s Health magazine. So much of their content is horrible advice about sex. But I am trying to lose weight and there are some good tips in the article. Plus, it is on line so I don’t have to buy the juvenile sex tips to get the good stuff.

Okay, so what else motivated me to start? A bunch of fairly random things. I watched my daughter run one day and recognized in her easy stride the things I’d been doing wrong in mine. Bunched shoulders.  Tense body. Then I watched as my senior pastor melted pounds off. Every Sunday he was noticeably thinner. Then the Sanders book. My mom dieted and lost a few pounds. A good friend was working to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the age of 50. I had put on weight in seminary that I’d kept saying I would lose but never did. Joe Thorn was blogging on running at the time and pointed me to some good resources for getting started. That’s part of what got me started and once I got going I seemed to be hooked. Right around the anniversary of my first 5k I’ll be running my first half marathon. It is really helpful to see progress.

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One Comment

  • Good stuff Tim. You have me considering it. I am rereading Spiritual Leadership by the way.

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