I have been running on and off for about a year. I still consider myself a novice. But I finally feel as though I am making progress. For the first six months I could run about ten or fifteen minutes at a time. I took walk breaks for one or two minutes after that. After about six months I could run about 5 km by doing this.
As I was starting running, I also started reading Runner's World and Zest in print and online. More recently I started reading Oxygen as well, a more serious women's fitness magazine. These have inspired me to continue and made me feel so grateful to be able to run. As it turns out, I am finding it spiritually thrilling, too.
I am aware that moving my body in exercise is a gift. Staying injury-free takes some work, too, and I'm grateful when I can do it. I have been listening to a Christian music playlist while running. One song is by Mary Mary and starts off with a spoken voice-over: "Whoa, it sure is hot out here. I don't mind though; just glad to be free." Every time I hear this as I am hot and sweaty, I am overcome with gratitude that I can be free: both free to run, and free to know Jesus. He has set me free from slavery to sin, and moving my legs somehow feels like a celebration of this. The song begins and the lyrics pump out: "You took the shackles off my feet so I can dance! I just want to praise you! I just want to praise you."
I feel as though I am using well the gift of health I have been given by looking after my body and keeping it fit. And so I also want to look after the amazing gift of spiritual freedom, by exercising my faith muscles by talking about Jesus and spending time with him.
Is there any connection for you between physical and spiritual exercise?