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Road Rules: Ruminations from an Average Runner (2)


We have a treadmill in the basement. It’s a nice one, which means we spent a pretty good chunk of change for it. It doesn’t have all of those fancy electronics or a USB port that allows us to download some online workout program, but it has the most important feature, which is the biggest motor on the market. As a rule, I like the comfort of the treadmill. It’s easy on the knees, and it tells you how fast you are going and how far you have gone. Some people don’t enjoy staring at a blank wall while they run for 30 or 40 minutes but I don’t mind the mindlessness of that. It’s predictable and comfortable.

During the summer, though, I ran almost exclusively outside. I’m not a “public exerciser,” but there was something enjoyable about running outside. Sunrises, sunsets, sweat…its all good.

Running outside is different than running on a treadmill. Outdoors is harder, stretching a runner beyond what they think is possible. The pavement is less forgiving than the spinning mat of a treadmill. Temperatures can vary outside and in Iowa there is usually wind. There are obstacles to run around, intersections to run across, and an occasional dog to run from. I like running outside, but lets be honest: it’s harder to run outdoors than indoors.

Kind of like the Christian life.

Christianity is a lot easier in the safety and security inside our houses of worship. Like a treadmill, our church facilities provide predictability, comfort, and security. But outside the doors of the church facility we find the same difficulties and challenges that outdoor runners experience. It’s harder to get on our knees and pray, and there are often obstacles to our faith that slow runners down. Yeah, it’s hard to be a Christian outdoors, but that’s where the growth happens. Outside the church house we find ourselves stretched in ways beyond what we think we’re capable of. And, it’s also where the reward is the greatest. After all, no one was ever awarded a medal for staying inside.

Categories : Running

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