As a teacher, I work with my students to help them to grow into honest individuals with integrity. They learn that they’re in charge of their own actions, attitudes, and moods; that they can’t blame others for their wrong actions; and that they must aim to do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking. Yet, in both my work and in my hobbies, I see adults cutting corners, pushing the rules, and lacking integrity.
One of the things that I love about attending running races is the comradery of the event - how it’s a race, yet everyone still supports one another, everyone gets a medal, and the focus is on personal bests. It differs from other competitive events because even with people aiming to make it onto the podium, the race directors rarely place judges or referees on the course to monitor for cheating. This past week, Silvain and I listened to a podcast by Jamil Coury and Jubilee Paige all about cheating in ultra marathons. It was shocking to hear that there are runners who use strategically planned out elaborate methods of cheating just so that they can win in a race that such a small percentage of the country’s population actually cares about.
As runners, we need to be true to ourselves and true to the sport. No matter the size of the race or the size of the prize, we must be ethical, even if the race takes us to the middle of the forest where we’re the only one for miles. This integrity is what we want to teach our children and what we expect others around us to uphold, in all contexts of our lives. Race directors shouldn’t need to hire judges, and members of the running community shouldn’t feel compelled to investigate suspicious times and rankings. We should be able to trust that our competitors are running the same moral race that we are.
Although running is so liberating, there are still many things that I can’t do. That’s life! Physically, I can’t fly over the trail. Legally, I can’t run with my rifle and shot a deer: It’s not hunting season, and if is was, the trails that I normally run on are within town limits, anyway. Relationally, I can’t be too late for dinner. Ethically, if I’m running a race, I can’t cut corners, because I’d be lying. Morally, I need to care for my body and not abuse it, because I’ve been given the gift to steward it. Spiritually, I have to think positively, because I know that God, for my benefit, wants me to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Phillipians 4:8 NIV).
We’re not ever one hundred percent discharged of responsibility. Even if we find a place to run that’s free of outside answerability, we still have to be true to ourselves. Now for me, I know that if I all I had to concern myself with was myself, I’d literally be left to my own vices, and it wouldn’t be pretty. For me, listening to my heart and gut, is letting God into my life and running how He created me to run. Running unconstrained, for me, is running how God desires me to run. I have to choose to align myself with Him.
This isn’t stifling. The more I give myself to Him, the less I feel controlled, because the more I delight in how He created me. (It makes Him happy, too.) I can’t run any other way. It’d be wrong for me to run like I wasn’t intended to. There’s freedom in boundaries. And, I don’t have to worry about being judged if I don’t get it quite right - It’s not that He doesn’t judge, it’s that His judgement is perfect and right and loving. I welcome His presence and eyes and judgement, because I choose to run excellently. Not being able to do whatever I want is a release not a duty.
Who We Are
Hi! We're Michelle and Silvain: a married, Christian couple that's always seeking to learn, explore, and take on new challenges. Our adventures take us up mountains, down trails, and to faraway places. Follow us as we live, love, and are crazy! Forever!!