You know what they say, “It’s easier to start a new thing than it is to re-start an old thing.” Actually I have no clue what “they” say or if they even say that but I’m here to say from my experience this has proven true for me. When I first ventured into running it was new, it was exciting, it was painful and it was hard but I had nothing to compare it to.
Each step I took was the farthest I’d ever run. Each goal I hit was the first time I’d ever been to that mile marker. Despite how hard it was to start running and earn that proud title of “runner”, when I stopped running and tried to start again was when it really got hard. Running was hard then because my body had never been pushed in that way before but running is hard now because my mind just won’t let go. I’m constantly every step comparing it to what I use to be able to do and immediately feeling discouraged. What motivated me before; the beating of times, increase of mileage, pushing myself harder, is now what is crippling me.
When you know what your body is capable of because you’ve been there, done that, and seen what it can do before yet you’re having to start over at the beginning where your body is not quite at the point where you mind still is, is so beyond frustrating. Focusing on how my body feels, the numbers on my Garmin, or the number of laps completed only has led to feelings of defeat even though I’ve been meeting my goal of running most days. Running use to be fun, invigorating, empowering, now my own negative self talk is making me hate it.
During his deployment, I read the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskcamp. In the book Ann introduces a word I had not understood its meaning until reading this book. She talks about living in Eucharisteo, which means thanksgiving. She digs a little deeper examining the word and that the root word of eucharisteo is charis – grace and in the word there is also the greek word chara which means joy. So living in Eucaristeo means living with grace, joy, and thanksgiving. Through the book she delves deeper into what a life of eucaristeo means and looks like and through it came the Joy Dare. Finding joy in the every day things and focusing on the blessing. Living in a perpetual state of thanksgiving was the purpose of the joy dare. “Joy is always possible because there is always something to be thankful for.”
That deployment was an especially hard one for me so this book helped me see past the current situation, focus on the blessings and small joys in the day to day. By acknowledging and writing down each of those joys, I found more joy and more blessings. Through doing the joy dare, what seemed so hard became more doable because I saw God in the small things, in the simple beauties around me. Often times showing me blessings in disguise and beauty in unlikely places. I found His grace and found joy through the day to day.
Reminiscing on that part of my life and reflecting on the book got me thinking about running. My problem right now with running is that I’m focused on all the wrong things. Things that are joy stealers instead joy givers.
So I’ve decided to start my own joy dare of sorts, running joys. Instead of focusing on the mechanics, mileage, time of the run, I’m going to change my perspective to find unexpected beauty and look for even the smallest joys on my run. I may run slower, I may have more breaks, I may even run less but maybe I’ll find more. Maybe I’ll see more. Maybe I’ll love running again. Maybe no matter how far I run, it will be enough. And maybe I’ll experience eucharisteo right there in the middle of the run.
I’ll be capturing the joys I find daily and posting them here once a week to remind me that running is so much more than just numbers. #runningjoys