Last week I completed 3,000 miles of running without shoes. People often ask, “Why do you run barefooted?”. Two answers top the list:
- It brings back good childhood memories. In my childhood, I took off my shoes as soon as the weather was warm in the spring and I enjoyed it.
- Running without shoes is a good parable for life.
Here are a few of things I have observed from this experience:
- Life is painful. Often people ask, “Doesn’t it hurt to run without shoes?”. Yes. It often hurts to run with shoes. If I avoid everything in life that is uncomfortable, I will not accomplish many important things. According to Paul, our hope is in our pain. Romans 5:1–5 Edwin Friedman said, “A leader is one who increases his toleration for pain in himself and others.” Planned, chosen, and managed pain can bring growth. Philippians 3:7–15
- Many big things can be accomplished by doing little things consistently. Hebrews 12:1–3 When I started running without shoes in the Spring of 2010, I began with walking a few minutes without shoes. The next week, I ran 1/4 mile shoeless; the next week, 1/2 mile; the next week, 3/4 mile; the next week, 1 mile. Then I added a mile each week until I was running without shoes all the time. My feet and leg muscles, as well as the bottom of my feet, adjusted to the new challenges and cooperated without injury. Bible study, saving money, becoming competent in any field of study or skill can often be achieved by persistent progress in small steps.
- Important areas of life demand a commitment, not a trial. A lady came beside me to discuss my lack of shoes in the Franklin Classic 10K run and after some discussion said, “I’ve thought about trying barefoot running.” You don’t try it; you commit to it to see the benefits. Many things demand a commitment, not a trial, to receive the rewards: living for Jesus, marriage, life’s work.
- Many people will think you are weird. I need to ask myself, “Are you doing what you are doing because you think it is best or to please other people and escape criticism?” Galatians 1:10 I should make decisions on what is best to glorify God and produce growth in my life.