Who Gives Up Running?

Most of the world will give you a pat on the back for running a marathon, shaving seconds off your 5K, or just shoving your feet into sneakers three days a week.

Most of the world will look at you a little crazy when you say, “I’m giving up running.”

I mean, who thinks of exercise as an addiction that might require the exercise (pun intended) of moderation and self-restraint, even abstinence? Well, apparently I’m not the only one.

I got so excited when I read this post by Chocolate Covered Katie, that I just had to share it with you. By the way, all of her posts are fantastic and most are delicious!

Why I Gave Up Running

And if you’re looking for more of my personal story on this topic, you check it out here at FINDINGBalance: 

Reclaiming Fitness, part 1


Reclaiming Fitness, part 2

Burning Plows

fireOn Monday, we talked a little bit about burning bridges. We have to eliminate all options besides recovery if we are to recover from an eating disorder, or any other addiction. It’s the same in our walk with Jesus; we have to forsake all other options, burn all bridges to the past, in order to follow Him.

The example we looked at first was Elisha in 1 Kings 19. Elisha had been plowing in his father’s field, behind 12 yoke of oxen, when Elijah threw his cloak over him. In essence, Elijah was commissioning Elisha to become his disciple, to follow in his footsteps and to become like him. The interesting part is that Elisha didn’t simply say, “Okay,” pack his bags and leave. First, he slaughtered the oxen and burned the plows. He had no alternative now, all that was left was to obey Elijah, all of his past life was destroyed.

When we accept God’s free offer of grace, to follow Jesus and to submit our lives – including our addictions and disorders – to Him, it is essential that we burn all bridges to the past. There is no plan B.

Now, I want to take a quick, hypothetical peek beyond Elisha’s story and meld it a little bit to my own. I wonder, if Elisha ever wanted to go back? Certainly, there were tough times ahead. After Elijah was gone, Elisha bore a heavy burden as a major prophet to rebellious Israel. I wonder if he ever walked past his old home, visited his parents and wished that he could return to simpler, familiar days? Did he feel loss?

Recently, I have felt the bare knuckle punch of rejection. It’s worst when no one intends to hurt you, but invariably everyone does. And, it’s because I can’t go back.

When we moved back to Columbus, GA, I was excited because this time I already knew people in the area. Unlike so many previous moves to places unknown, there were familiar streets and places and people in this southern town. Most of my friends were from the running club. I used to meet them four mornings a week for runs up to 21 miles. We also celebrated a few birthdays together, organized local races and got pedicures for our swollen, post-run feet. But since I have begun walking full-heartedly in recovery, I had to forsake distance running and in a sense, burn my running shoes, a bridge to the past.

Right after we arrived in Georgia, I met one old running buddy for coffee. I chatted with a couple on Facebook, bumped into two downtown. I have been politely dismissed. And it hurts. You see, each of them invited me to join them for a run, asked if I was still doing races told me of upcoming running club plans. I cannot go. You see, I burned plan B.

My only viable option is anything but returning to old habits that fueled my eating disorder. For me, one of those was compulsive, extensive exercise – especially running.

If you give up your eating disorder, or other addiction, what bridges, shoes, plows will you have to burn? Will it cost you something? Will you ever have the opportunity to look back and then realize there’s no way to go back?

If you have decided to follow Jesus in all that is His best for you, including your health, physical body, habits and heart, burn everything else.

Guest Post at Haven Journal

There are two very important rules about running.

1. Don’t run unless you absolutely love it.
2. Don’t stop running when you hate it.

Between those margins, you’re safe to pursue running as a sport, or as a fun, safe and effective means to stay healthy.

Running has become the default mode of all broken exercise programs. It’s simple, requires little special equipment, can cause fast weight loss, and gee, almost everybody’s doing it. However, those who begin running as merely a painful means to an end, such as weight loss, will almost surely find themselves discouraged and maybe even injured.

If you’re sure that running is for you, if it seems to reset you emotionally and physically, if it provides you with much needed time outside in the fresh air, if it is the best start or end to your day that you can possibly imagine, then by all means, grab your shoes! And take notes, I’m going to give you a few pointers.


Who Me? An Addict?

Call it passion, drive, ambition, even obsession. But I don’t like the word addiction.

Tobacco is an addiction. Alcohol can be an addiction. Smartphones and game systems can be addictions. But exercise?

God called my intense focus on exercise an idol. “Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” Philippians 3:19

I called it training. Every morning, before anything else, I tied on my running shoes and slipped onto the lamplit street. If my schedule got too tight and something had to give, it was anything except my workouts.

Once I skipped church to get in a long run. Often, I rolled out of bed on a Saturday morning leaving my slumbering husband to wake up alone. I had goals, no time for relationships.

Many modern addictions have become socially acceptable, even applauded. The workaholic is rewarded with raises. The compulsive exerciser is congratulated on being so thin. The shopaholic is envied for her good fashion. If we finally admit that we might have gone a bit overboard, rather than confess and abandon our idols, we demand a placebo. Or perhaps we are willing to reduce our obsessive pursuits but we fear to forsake them.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who was concerned that she might be drinking too much. “Is there something I can eat or do to cleanse my body?” she asked. She wanted the glass of wine, but she didn’t want the consequences.

When my health came to a critical point, I was forced to give up running. I looked fearfully for something to take its place. As I tried hours of weight lifting, swimming, spinning and fitness DVDs, peace remained elusive. But I continued to wonder, how can  something intrinsically good, like exercise, be sin?

James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Christ is the power that removes our addictions. “And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:2-21