Running and Power

Words have power.

That sentence seems cliche, if not absolutely annoying to me. Who doesn’t know that words have power?

But, as I’ve learned in counseling lately, I lost that lesson a long time ago. The words I use to discuss my life are absent of action and intention. Life seems to just happen to me.  The trauma that wrecked me stole my youth, and much more quietly, my voice.

I spent so long in the darkness that I couldn’t see how to “choose” to walk into the light.

Running has taught me this exact lesson throughout the last year. If you asked me six months ago if I classified myself as a runner, I would invariably say that I am not. I am too fat, short, and old for that title. I wanted to be a runner. I admired runners. But, simply put, I was not one. That was for those people who were much more in shape, active, and type A than I am. Other people are runners. Not me.  

But then things started shifting. I began putting the lessons I learned in counseling into my daily life. I started using words that evoked action. And that’s when I realized, the only person denying my ability to run was me. I gave myself the language and the habits that shackled me.  My language kept me from acting. It kept me from participating.

Truth is I am a runner. I have always been a runner. I just didn’t believe in who I was created to be and I stripped myself of my power.  I might’ve crossed some finish lines but I allowed my language to steal my joy. It stole my power.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
— Hebrews 12:1-3

The same can be said for my faith journey. For many years, faith has been something that has happened to me.  It’s is something that I am invariably linked to. I have to go to church on Sunday. I don’t have a choice. I have to tithe. I don’t have a choice. I have to (insert action). I don’t have a choice.

As I traveled through my Lenten season, I learned that words lead to self responsibility and engagement.  Being a Christian is not sitting on the sideline and waiting for all the action to happen. It’s getting into the mix of things. It’s not waiting for God to force us to do something or to be something. Being a Christian is choosing life. It’s choosing love. It’s choosing to use your gifts, your time, your treasure for the Kingdom of Heaven.  

Many of my favorite passages from scripture use their language to equip us with power. Hebrews 12 urges us to “throw off everything that hinders” us. It tells us to “run” and to “fix our eyes on Jesus”.

The beauty of this passage is that it recognized that Jesus, too, had a choice. He didn’t have to submit to death. But, he chose to “endure the cross” and its shame. He chose it. For you, for me…

He chose it.

And, likewise, we too can choose to throw off all our baggage and shame. We can run the race, fixing our eyes on Jesus just like he ran it for us. He chose it out of love for us. We can do the same.

But, we can also choose not to.

We can choose not to run, not to fix our eyes on Jesus, not to throw off all that hinders us. We can choose to divorce our thoughts and our words from our actions. We can choose a language that strips us of identity and action. We can choose to not participate. We can choose to stay shackled to our burdens and our sins.

We can choose.

My name is Corey. 

I am a runner. 

I will run my race well, fixing my eyes on Jesus.

I will lace up my shoes and put one foot in front of the other.

I am not a prisoner to my body or my mind.

I am not an inactive participant in life.

I am not an inactive participant in my faith.

I am making my choice.  

I am a runner.

Who do you choose to be?