Why I’m Walking Away from Running

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Last week as I committed myself to active involvement in short-term placement Missions opportunities my mind was filled with lots of things that would be missed.

  1. Family and friends
  2. My Church family
  3. My own car
  4. Walmart

What surprised me was one of the things I would miss most (after family) was my running partners.

Running has been important for many years since it helped me get into shape for the first time in my life after graduating from College. However in the last two-years it’s become something much more important  because I got involved in training programs with other runners [1]. Training with friends who are passionate about running has in turn made me extremely passionate about running.

Last week during a hike with missionaries one of them asked me how my running was going [2]. This led to my talking excitedly about runkeeper, pace-times, garmin watches, what to eat the day of a race, and the awesomeness of GU [3] [4].

Now there’s nothing really wrong with being passionate about running since physical fitness is an important thing. The problem arises when running becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of my life [5].

The thing we care about most (find our self-confidence or purpose in) is what we worship or submit to in life. There are many things people “worship” but the only thing worthy of worship [6] is a relationship with God through Christ.

Matt Papa in his book “Look and Live” describes it this way

The triune God is the only thing large enough and interesting enough to bear the weight of glory, and ultimately worship. Anything else will break your heart [7]

The point is nothing can truly bring fulfillment, so mankind is destined to go from one source of worship (or idol) to another never finding happiness.

Does God hate the fact that runnings important to me? Of course not! But if running, and the relationships with my training partners become something that I worship then there’s a serious problem [8].

This doesn’t mean God wants me to burn all of my shoes and running gear in the backyard. Instead this means I hold running (and everything else I’m passionate about) with an open hand willing to give up if the Lord leads me to.

Next month the new training programs starts and for the first time and for the first time in two-years I won’t be there. Honestly that makes me a little sad because it means spending less time with friends, and there are a lot of things about the training programs I’ll miss.

But I know this opens the door for me to share the Gospel in other Countries, so it’s definitely worth it.  And while I’m at it, I will probably tell them how awesome GU is as well.


  1. I ran in five races (three of them 5k’s) till 2013, six since then with a marathon, and three half-marathons  ↩
  2. she should have known better 🙂  ↩
  3. for those of you who don’t know what those are, GU’s are gels used by runners for nutrition during longer runs…and the salted caramel flavor is amazing!  ↩
  4. https://guenergy.com/shop/energy-gel  ↩
  5. where I find my self-confidence.  ↩
  6. deserving or able to give fulfillment  ↩
  7. Papa, Matt (2014–10–28). Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ (p. 33). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.  ↩
  8. all the GU’s in the world can’t bring happiness…even salted caramel ones  ↩

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