What are you running for?

Rachel Feintzeig is the Work and Life columnist for the Wall Street Journal, which means she writes about the “intersection of jobs and everything else.” Last week her column was, “Yes, you can be more than your job title.”

Rachel told of getting the new job at the paper and being asked to write a paragraph to introduce herself. She said writing the first few sentences was easy. She reviewed her past reporting, mentioned her husband and kids, and then…what? What could she say that would distinguish her amid all the daily routines of life? Her days were “a blur of work and kids.” She felt lost.     

She recalled one particularly stressful day when, without thinking, she dug out a pair of gym shorts from her dresser and just ran. She ran a mile in a loop back to her house. She was still stressed, so she ran some more. 

Rachel had never been an athlete, but as she started to run more, she noticed that it made her feel better. She was better able to handle stress, better able to focus and write. 

Now Rachel says that being a runner makes her better at all her other roles in life.

Next Sunday, May 1st, the Pittsburgh Marathon returns for the first time in three years and our church will be in the middle of it all.

For over a decade, we’ve been out on the street at 5:45 AM on Marathon Sunday, blessing runners. We pray with folks in small groups or one-on-one, or over the loudspeakers to the hundreds of people heading to their corrals. Many people are nervous about taking on so big a challenge. In the moments before the race, many are anxious, seeking a higher power. Hearing words of blessing, grace, and peace is important to them.

Sometimes I ask them, “What are you running for?” It turns out that many people run for God, for a loved one, or for a cause that matters to them.

But shouldn’t we all know what we’re running for?

Shouldn’t we all ask ourselves what drives me; what is it in life that I just have to have to know that I’m OK?

As much as running makes us better at everything else, one day, our knees will say, “Enough.” Over the course of our lives, we’ll all eventually have to give up the things we’re running for.

That includes running.

But we are more than our job title. And if we run through this life for the One who gave us our knees and legs, heart and lungs, in the first place, we will “run and not grow weary, we will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

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