Run so as to win [souls].

 Photo by  Marvin Ronsdorf  on  Unsplash

If you grew up in a Catholic home, or spent any time in a Catholic home as a child, chances are you are familiar with the phrase “offer it up.” However, memories of that phrase might not be all sunshine and roses. I would venture a guess that most of the time it had something to do with mom telling us to do something we didn’t want to do. “Offer it up” was the cop-out phrase we could never argue with.

Who would have thought that the thing I most hated to hear, that phrase that would get me to begrudgingly wash the dishes, fold my clothes, or even, on occasion shovel the driveway, ends up being the very phrase that often gets me to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement?

While half-marathon training earlier this year, my first double-digit long run in months came up on a dreary, cold, and rainy Minnesota spring day. Now I love running in the rain, when it's 70 degrees outside. Fifty degrees and there’s still snow on the ground? That’s a little harder. About halfway through my run, there is a left turn I can take that would take me straight home and cut my eleven mile run to just five miles. As I approached this street, I was bargaining with myself (tell me I’m not alone in doing this while I run!) and I kept reminding myself how I got to hang out on the couch and enjoy the rainy day in just the way it was meant to be enjoyed. “Yes, but you can do that SO MUCH SOONER if you take this left turn…” Back and forth just like that. But as I approached the turn, for some reason a friend of mine popped into my head. This friend of mine loves Jesus immensely, but has yet to discover the beauty and fullness that is the Catholic Church. I was distracted by the tug on my heart to pray for my friend, and I was so distracted by that prayer that I missed that left turn. And I decided that I would “offer up” the rest of my run for this intention.

From then on, anytime I have trouble getting myself out of the house, I find a way to offer it for someone else. I will often even spend specific parts of my run offering them as sacrifice for a specific intention. That hill coming up? That’s for her. This spring to the finish? That’s for him. If my roommate is having a rough day, I talked to a friend who was hurting, or something is weighing heavy on my heart, I pray and I run, and I, no longer begrudgingly, “offer it up.”

Brianna St. Amour is a Middle School Youth Minister just outside St. Paul, MN. She is a Minnesota transplant from Northern Vermont who misses hiking in the Green Mountains but has traded it for exploring the Twin Cities (when its not too cold to breath!) She loves New England Sports, Golf, running, biking, and telling people about what Jesus has done in her life. Coffee, Mass, sunshine, baseball, friends and wine are ingredients for the perfect day. 

Johnna WilfordComment