I met Richard through our online Glory Chasers Christian running group and a mutual friend Jonathan Winter. Richard is a pastor in the U.K. and an avid runner. I’m grateful to welcome him to the blog today to share his tips on making running fun and leaning into God in the process.
Guest post by Richard Pidgley
After a long hard weekend consisting of a tiring Saturday “work day” at the church clearing a jungle of vegetation and weeds from the land in front of our building and then the Sunday service the following day and other pastoral duties, I wasn’t really feeling it for a Monday morning run. But as usual Discipline, who sounds stern but actually is my great friend in helping me achieve much in life, pulled me from my comfortable bed and helped me tie my ASICS laces and get me through the front door.
1. When you’re not feeling it, trick your brain!
A good bit of running advice for when you’re not feeling it, is to trick your brain! Yes, tell yourself that although you’re not feeling it, you’ll just run for 10 minutes, your body gives in to this as it doesn’t sound too bad, but let’s face it once you’ve run for ten minutes you’re usually feeling like you can keep running and you do!
2. Make your best days the days you don’t feel like running
So I’m through the front door – thanks to Discipline – and although my running buddy may have appeared hard on me, he allows me to have some fun once I’m out there! For me, a “fun run” usually involves a new route and where possible some water. (Or a crazy mid-run photo opportunity to share on social media.)
That day I got to run near a river, which meant I was able to hop over some crazy stepping stones crossing the water. I count this as fun because if I got my footing wrong I’d get very wet! Then I ran through the river where there is a ford in the road (a shallow area for cars to drive through the water). Hey if a car can go through it, I can also go through it. And finally, to complete my crazy fun antics, I ran up through the river along a submerged bank of shingle until the water reached over my knees and I could no longer run. I came out of the river soaked but laughing to myself. How crazy is this, and it’s only 6 a.m. in the morning!
As a child of God, I can tell you on good authority that our Heavenly Father God likes watching us having fun. You see, Christianity is not about religiously keeping rules and regulations, but about a wonderful relationship with God and learning to do creative, fun stuff with the lives He gave us.
3. Look for lessons in faith while you’re having fun.
While running in that river, I soon went from splashing in puddle-depth water to ankle-depth water, then to knee-depth water. If I had continued, it would have gotten much deeper according to the warning signs close: Danger Deep Water – No Swimming.
While struggling to run in knee-depth water, my mind went to that special river that Ezekiel saw in a prophetic vision, a river which flowed from the temple out into the desert and into the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47). The river is symbolic of life from God and the blessings that flow from His throne.
The vision suggests that we get into the water by faith. The water is up to our ankles, and then as we trust God we go deeper up to our knees, and then up to our waist, and then the water is so deep and the current of the Holy Spirit is so strong that God takes us to new things, places and opportunities in His power and for His glory!
4. Be mindful of divine waters, dynamic waters, and deepening waters.
This river is divine. It’s from God and will bless us. It’s dynamic water because it is actively transforming deadness into life. Isn’t this the work of the Holy Spirit deep within us? And it’s also an ever-deepening river Scripture tells us the waters get deeper as we experience God’s dynamic power.
The ever-deepening waters speak of increased blessing as we allow the Holy Spirit more control over our lives. Yes, we go deeper when we trust God, when we pray and worship. When we wade out into the strong current of the river of God, and come to that place when we truly are immersed in God, then we experience a spirit-filled life.
Like the Jewish exiles in Ezekiel’s day, we also are living in dry and desperate times! You may feel exiled, empty and exhausted, but be encouraged for the door to God’s presence is wide open through Jesus’ work on the cross and the mighty River of God is flowing freely.
5. Take time to reflect on your relationship with God.
Are you living a spirit-filled life? If not, today is the day to see that changed. Surrender all that you are to God and invite the fullness of the Holy Spirit into your life.It’s time to get your feet wet. Start wading out into God’s river, and don’t stop until you feel His mighty current powerfully transforming and directing your life.
Here’s a running goal: Find a new route, shake things up and have some fun. Splash in some water, swing from a tree branch, take a crazy selfie, after all…
Running isn’t always about the time we run, but the time we enjoy while running.
Richard Pidgley is married to Lynne, has two adult sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and two super cute grandsons. Richard is an Aseemblies of God minister who leads Millpool Hill Church in Birmingham U.K. He has an MA in missional leadership and loves to teach the Word of God. He is also a lecturer at Maranatha Bible College Baguio City Philippines and loves early morning trail running. Contact Richard on rpidgley at millpoolhill.com