The Spiritual Power of Running
Over the years, running has been a real vehicle of spiritual growth for me, as well as a source of spiritual solace.
I lost count long ago of just how many rosaries and/or chaplets I have prayed for others (as well as myself!) during my runs. Running, always having been a solo affair for me, is primetime for praying. There is nothing better than running through God’s beautiful creation, while praising and simultaneously petitioning him. I have been blessed - and hope I’ve blessed others - by offering up my prayers and physical efforts during my runs.
Running is a microcosm of spiritual development, from a runner’s ‘birth’ to their maturation as an ‘adult’. Although starting out was undeniably difficult for me, there was a constant improvement in my performance during those days, much like the spiritual consolation one experiences when they have a conversion experience or there is a deepening of faith. Then, after a time of near constant improvement and victories (the ‘honeymoon’), the valley of injury and life crisis (spiritual dryness and pruning) took over. Those were the times when I felt like running - and often, God - were not on my side, or even there for me at all. But, somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that running, like being a Christian, was who I am - and one day all would be well again. As in the spiritual life, I just needed to keep showing up, to rise again after falling. And by the grace of God, a resurrection - slowly but surely - will take place.
This meditative physical activity has added such an amazing dimension to my faith journey, and I don’t think I would be the Catholic Christian I am today without it. God has used it to teach me about sacrifice and suffering for a purpose, and being committed to something for the long haul.
Running, much like life - the spiritual life in particular - are all about effort, struggle, persevering, and ultimately triumphing over self. And that’s something I think we can all get behind, amen??
Jennifer has been a runner since the early 2000's. She's the wifey to Wade and mom to two with a partially empty nest (boo!). She loves running (of course!), being in nature, writing, baking, photography, memory keeping, singing with her church choir, and her awesome Catholic faith! (If she could live at church, she probably would!) Jennifer has two adorable dogs (both Chihuahua mixes) and one of her life's goals is to own an RV and travel to all the National Parks before she kicks the bucket!