I have never been a guy considered to be ‘light on his feet’. Therefore, I have never been much of a runner especially long distance running. The pounding stride after stride, the monotonous motion for miles and miles through a flat and redundant landscape does not excite me. Because it is all for what? To “get into shape”? No, I’m good. Not because I don’t like exercise or activity, but because there are thousands of more fun and enjoyable activities to do to “get into shape”. So long distance running is not for me. However! In college, I discovered a form of long-distance running that I love called trail running.
Trail running (or running trails) to me has all the perks of regular long distance running without the negatives. When running trails, you get the exercise with an objective more concrete than ‘getting into shape’ because there is a destination; a view, a mountaintop, a new and unknown place. It carries a sense of mystery and discovery that we as humans want…possibly need.
There is something about hauling off into the woods, jumping over rocks, and sprinting through tight spaces that ignites me to a place of pure ecstasy. As I run through the forest with a destination in mind, I hear the soundtrack of Last of the Mohicans playing in my head. I focus on every step with the intent to propel myself forward and the faster I go the more excitement fills my heart for what is around the corner…AND around each corner is a new spot full of fallen trees, roots, hanging limbs, and boulders that become my playground, and with a playground comes a list of potential injuries. Therefore, being intentional with each step, planting with the intent to explode in the direction I need to go, helps me stay in the moment and my lower body from doing anything harmful to myself. Though the mindset of intentional movements is challenging me physically and mentally; it protects me from injury because there is no wasted movement. Therefore, since there is no wasted movement, my mind is not on autopilot like some other long distance running activities. So I find the element of creativity is activated in my movements, and my mind is engaged as I move.
One day I thought about this as applying it to my own life. When I live with intentionality, I don’t waste a step, a moment or day. I live with the intention to love, to enjoy, or to impact. Everything I do is to propel myself forward but not in the safest or most comfortable way. Like trail running, if safety is the goal then I wouldn’t even be on the trail. Same as in life, if safety was my main intent than I wouldn’t be living. I’d live in a padded room with 3 specifically prepared (boring) meals every day. So with potential dangers, I become more intentional, and with the combination of both, my mind and my heart must value creativity. With this value, my life can take a turn towards something beautiful, powerful, and meaningful. It is through intentionality established with creativity, that my efforts and my actions towards my life’s activities, problems, or challenges will always have a solution or positive result if I operate with my God-given ability to create new ideas or things.
Today, may you see your life and its challenges with a level of creativity and pursue it with the intent to discover more of it for yourself and others.