Running as Spiritual Practice

by Christine Sine

Well the posts keep pouring in for the series What is a Spiritual Discipline which is certainly encouraging me to rethink the ways that I encounter God and develop greater intimacy with God.   In particular I am finding that it is making me more aware of my everyday activities as an opportunity to interact with God which me I am more consistently looking for God and experiencing God.  I hope that it is doing the same for you and I would love to hear from you about how this series is shaping your own encounters with God.

This morning’s post comes to us from Luis Fernando Batista in Sao Paulo Brazil.  Luis is the coordinator of Renovatio Café a site that foster missional conversation in Brazil. He blogs in Portuguese at Checklist and in English at Checklist for a Jesus Christ Disciple in Brazil .

Luis with daughter

Luis and his kids prepare to race

I have always tried to keep a serious training program, some years ago I started to wake up earlier to walk, I couldn’t run because I at that time, I were too heavy to do it, by these times I got two friends who were willing to go walk with me every Saturday so we did it for a year. When came the idea to participate on a race, we did our best to accomplish the 5 km of the course, but better than finishing the race, it was such an amazing experience,  we were among  8000 people enjoying a beautiful morning to run, walk and to exercise, the view prior to the launch line was so nice with all those people running those blue skirts with some other colors. Everybody on a good mood, some people so better prepared for running, but also some people very like me at that time: running a little, walking some time and running again, but everybody happy and  in a good will, besides feeling so happy on being there, I was happy I could finish all course prior to 40 minutes and I was willing to repeat this kind of experience more times in this year.

So I started a deeper contact with a friend of mine who offered himself to prepare some weekly training spreadsheets to better my physical conditions and to get better performance. We started a kind of discipleship where he listed what kind of activities I should do (running, muscle exercises) and I would return to him my performance, doubts and some consequences, it is ironic how I started to have a good taste of discipleship here. It was good to learn how to run, the effects of food, exercises, heart controlling etc. Our friendship got so better so it is good to learn as it is good to teach too, so both of us are having fun with these experiences, we have not only time of sharing knowledge but also sharing victories as long as I have increased my performance through the races I have participated.  Because of these new kinds of concerns, I started to be careful about the quality and quantity of what I eat, how much I should rest and how to run and then, I started to lose weight, to sleep better, and now I am able to even more.

It is interesting to think how many friends I started to make when I started these kind of activities, besides the folks who are running with me, there’s so many people willing to treat their selves better and as it is certified that this is a very good way to do so, when people note that you are losing weight without needing to get drugs, they want to know more how I did it, so we start to share our lives more frequently.

Thinking in all these matters, I realize how spiritual all those things are as long as when you see your body working better, and also your heart and even your brain started to work better when you move, you think that your whole body is now working as it is supposed to be. You think your body is not supposed to stay seated all your life between  a cubicle and after office in a couch, your body is supposed to move and to challenge you to even more adventure. That is why you see so many people happy and with a good mood to share smiles, water and to cheer you up in those 5 or 10 km of race. I use to tell that I participate in these races instead of competing in them, when I am in a race, I belong to a people willing to live more as to live better, I can feel it in all course. I also feel as participating in my city, as I can run in some streets where prior I could run just by car. When I see so many good people thinking they are closer to God when they exercise and they feel so healthy and see their bodies responding so well, I think how am I needed there to participate also in their victories and also to help them to complete this journey to God with Jesus Christ.

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