Running for my life- Why accountability matters.

I have 5 children. Have I mentioned that before? They are the joy of my life. And I don’t mean that in a cliché way, but in the truest sense of the words. No matter how bad of a mood I am in, when my 4 year old boy tells me I am “Super super duper PWETTY!!” everything is ok. Or when I watch my 11 year old girl turning into a young lady right before my eyes, my heart is glad!
However….
Our children also provide me with the most challenges. Raising children is nothing if not a roller-coaster of emotions. It is for that reason my favorite thing to do at the end of the day is go for a run…….by myself. When I time it right, dinner is almost ready and can be kept warm, daddy comes home, we kiss, I pass the baton, and run out the door- literally. My run takes me west, so if I am especially lucky I run right off into the sunset. Endorphins start pumping and the stress/joys of the day get all worked out in 2.12 miles. But sometimes I don’t plan so well, and I get to day 5 with no running and start to feel the need, although not necessarily the “want.”
Like today.
It’s Saturday morning and I would much rather make some tea and sit on my rocking chair on the front porch. But my body is singing another song. I know I need a work out so I call to the kids, “Get your bikes ready, we are going for a run/bike ride!”
This is the first layer of accountability.
1. Tell Someone.
I really didn’t want to run, but I knew if I told them, their excitement and drive would keep me on track. (Read: If I changed my mind I would have to endure 5 children wining!)
Normally taking the kids means I go slower. (Picture herding cats.) Recently, however, the littlest one got a bigger bike which helps him go faster. On the down side, however, he barely fits on it which makes dismounting a little tricky. Basically I have to be right next to him when he stops or he freaks out. Usually this is not a problem speed wise as I am the one cheering him a long.
”C’mon William, you can do it! A little faster 🙂 Mommy needs a good work out!” However the last time we went I noticed his tires were a little flat. Apparently that was the problem because after pumping them up this morning, he rode like the wind!
To add to the intrigue I brought the dog. Apparently I am crazy.
This provided the second layer of accountability. 
2. Choose someone faster than you.
I didn’t realize I had done this. I thought I was safe with William. But his newly pumped up tires actually made him faster than me! I found myself running for my life, or his, realizing I had to catch up with him before his next stop! All the while I had a crazy boxer puppy trying to kill me by criss-crossing in front of me. I was so tempted to stop the whole thing. I was tired. This was not the run I had planned. I did not want to run this hard and I had not anticipated the obstacles. Then I remembered my goal. I wanted a good work out and actually thought my kids were going to slow me down. Yet here they were, charging me forward, providing the training that I thought I wanted, and all I wanted to do was yell “STOP!!”
But I didn’t. I remembered the goal. Get in shape. I remembered the means. Running hard. And I relinquished control. Somehow we think that we can cruise through life and still become who God wants us to be. We read about a refining fire, clay that needs to be heated, a race that needs to be run with endurance, and yet we despair when the obstacles come. This is the only way to the heart of God, to join in the fellowship of His sufferings.
When we finally crossed the finish line into the driveway, I felt so good. Knowing I had run faster than I had anticipated, I couldn’t wait to check my “Run Keeper.”
This brings us to the third layer of accountability.

3. Keep Track.

When I checked the running app I found out I had cut 23 seconds off my 2 mile run. I had zero expectations of improving my time while wrangling 5 kids and a dog. But God knew. And now I knew because I had been keeping track. This running app has been the best thing for my running. So many times in our lives we think we are doing better, eating better, working out better, loving better. But without some type of assessment, the reality is that we normally give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If you asked me how many times a week I run, I would probably tell you about 3. But when I check my app the results don’t tell the same story. The app encourages me when I make progress, and gives me a check when I miss the mark.
As a math teacher another example comes to mind. How many times do math students say they understood the material, until they took the test?
Right after I finished typing that last sentence one of my blessings came up to me with a math test she had taken. She missed a few. She had no idea she didn’t understand the math. Isn’t God funny? His timing always amazes me.
“I hate tests!” she let me know. And I can relate. It can be really painful when we find out that we weren’t quite as right as we thought we were. Sometimes we feel like a child or situation “makes” us impatient. Or a coworker “makes” us lose our temper. But the reality is those feelings were there all the time. What if I didn’t keep track of my children’s test scores? How would I measure progress?
Growth is not easy. Making yourself vulnerable to another person is hard. Continuing on when you want to give up is not the norm. But God never intended for us to go it alone. In fact He said it was not good for man to be alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.
    Pray that the Lord would give you a trusted friend. And then take the plunge. Confide in them. Allow them to pull you up. Choose someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth in love. You don’t need a venting partner. You need someone who loves you enough to tell you hard things, but won’t heap judgment on you either. And write it down. A journal. A blog. A chart. On your phone. Anything. This allows you to see God working. Over and over the Israelites were told to write it down and remember! We are so forgetful.
    God is so good. He knows just what we need! He knew I needed a run. But you may have needed some time on the couch!! And that is ok too! I am praying for you today, that God would send you that person to hold you up and bring you closer to the finish line!
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2 thoughts on “Running for my life- Why accountability matters.

  1. Love this blog, need this blog. Need to start running again….and grading math papers. When I read the part about impatience being “in there” and not another person's fault when you manifest it, I thought about my cursing co-workers and how I find that I curse-especially in the kitchen. I literally said out loud “Oh, $(%&! That's true!” Soooo, I guess I start there. With my mouth. 😀

    Like

  2. You crack me up girl! We start with God's grace and faithfulness! 🙂 He is there.

    Like

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