About a week ago I ran my first half-marathon. It was something I had always wanted to do when I was a teenager, but gave up on it when I struggled to run 15 minutes on the treadmill as an adult.
Surprisingly, I was doing great for the first few miles—even though I hadn’t eaten anything, I was full of energy. When I got to mile 9 they were handing out energy gel packs.
I thought to myself, “I don’t need this!” But I grabbed a couple anyway.
After a little while, I started to notice that I was running a little slower and my pace was dropping. I felt like a car that was sputtering because its gas tank was getting empty. By mile 11 it was like my legs stopped working— it took so much energy to just lift them. Then my stomach started to growl. I quickly grabbed one of the gel packs and ate it, but it was too late—my body was shutting down.
Although I was moving forward, I felt like I was standing still. It was the longest two miles ever. When I crossed the finish line I was extremely tired—I couldn’t even smile. I was also very hungry. I grabbed three bananas and ate it, and then I gulped down a PowerAid then a whole bottle of water. I ate energy bars and everything else they handed to me.
Today I thought about how that energy gel pack in mile 9 was like a Sunday morning worship service.
Although we went to Saddleback church during the half-marathon weekend, the service did not feed my soul.
As this past weekend came closer, there was threat of snow in our area. Secretly I had hoped the worship service would be canceled so I could stay in my pajamas and curl up under my fleece blanket.
Worship service was not canceled so I went to church. I had no idea that I needed that “energy boost” of spiritual food.
It had been two weeks since I was at a real worship service and my soul was tired and hungry.
Whenever I feel like staying at home rather than going to church for Sunday morning worship, I will remember what it felt like to skip that energy pack and run the last two miles of the half-marathon on my own energy.