Running Redeemed - Natalie Bymaster running the Smoky Mountain Relay

Running redeemed! As I posted previously, I committed to running the Smoky Mountain Relay.  You can check out my previous blog here.  I have exciting news to share about my victory in Christ.

As you may have read earlier, getting back into running had its challenges.  I once used it to punish myself when I had an eating disorder.  For this time around, the biggest challenge was a mental one.  When I first started training back in February, I had my doubts about whether I had enough time to adequately train for the relay.  Weather and other commitments made it challenging to stick to my training schedule.  There were days when it just wasn’t possible to get in a run.  I was okay with that.  I threw out my previous desire for perfection and replaced it with realistic expectations.

The first month of running was difficult.  It was often cold and gray outside.  Not being moved by my emotions, I put my running clothes on and headed for the door.  The most difficult part at first was the mental one.  I found my thoughts going to negative things quickly.  Each run turned into a battle.

From my previous lessons of applying God’s truths, I knew that I didn’t have to think about negative things when I ran.  In March, I decided not to think about anything negative.  When something negative popped in to my mind, I threw it out.  I replaced it with something positive like how beautiful the wild flowers looked along the roadside or how thankful I was that it was now spring.  I found that an amazing thing happened:  I began to love running!

How did the relay go?

The relay was a blast.  I have never enjoyed a running event like this one.  Although there were some brutal hills to overcome, I have never felt so free to run in my entire life.  I ran with pure joy that was expressed with a smile on my face.  I saw a rainbow, a night sky illuminated by innumerable stars, endless fields of purple wild flowers, and oversized, yellow butterflies.  I found freedom in the run to be who God made me to be.  For the first time, I was comfortable with that.

I am so thankful that I had the faith to take action!  Praise God for setting me free!  God has truly redeemed even running in my life.