I have seen how God has intentionally given me a “second chance” in many areas of my life. He gives me a new redemptive-style chance where I can do things his way instead of according to the ways of my former life.
For instance, this was true with a job that I had in the past. When I was struggling with “mental illness,” I lost that job miserably. After I became a Christian, God provided me with a job very similar to the former one. I thrived there. God even allowed me to share the gospel with many people at the new job that he had given me. This has been a theme in my life ever since I became a Christian: God apparently delights in giving second chances in my life.
Recently, God has given me the opportunity to “redeem” my running. Maybe that sounds a little petty or fleshly, but God can use almost anything to sanctify us. He can change past sins and failures into holy, wholesome living.
If you have read my book, you know that I used running in a very negative way in the past. When I had an eating disorder, I used running as a way to purge my calories. I ate the bare minimum while also planning out how I would run 40-50 miles per week.
When I became a Christian, I was so convicted about my eating disorder that I immediately made the decision to start eating normally. I also stopped running. To me, running was an integral part of my eating disorder: I had to stop it at all costs. So, I stopped all my running in 2012.
As of today, I have fully recovered from my previous eating disorder. I have learned the truth about basic nutrition and exercise. I have renewed my mind with Biblical truth. We have to be good stewards of our bodies. Our minds and bodies are the temple of God. I have put in the work and now my mind and body are healthy.
Recently, my gym has organized a team to run the Smoky Mountain Relay in North Carolina at the end of April. It is a race where a team of 12 runs 206 miles in 36 hours. I have always wanted to run a relay like this one, but I never had a team of runners to join me. This was finally my opportunity. I was hesitant to sign up at first. I did not want to awake the “great eating disorder beast” again. But as I thought more about it, I quickly realized how much that God had really changed me. I thought to myself, “what if I could run again but do it in a way that would glorify God?”
I prayed about it and sought the Lord on it. I realized that once again this was another second chance. God is giving me a chance to overcome my sinful past. Now, I can instead run in a God-honoring way that will bring him glory.
I have already started training. It’s not going to be easy. As a member of the relay team, I will be running the race to obtain a small medal keepsake at the end. That’s great for memories – but it’s not things such as this that my heart now longs for. Instead, as a child of God, I know this will just be part of another small leg in the race God has for my life. My interest now is in a far greater race. May God bless and preserve me in that race as he further sanctifies me and bears fruit through me.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”1 Corintians 9: 24-27