Remember when running wasn’t a thing? In the late 70s, we were only just starting to try on the term aerobic for size. Then Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running hit the shelves, introducing the concept of running, or “jogging,” for health . . . and for pleasure. For the first time, Americans weighed the idea that running might be more than a sport for Olympic wannabes.
My classmate Lenny Willits probably read the book, but for him it would have been old news. By the time he reached high school, Lenny had already made a public spectacle of himself, running all around our one-stoplight town on the central coast of California.
Which my friends and I thought was super weird.
While the rest of us kids rode our bikes or were chauffeured by our parents, Lenny ran. We’d pull up to an intersection and there he would be—sweaty, purposeful, and … looking very fit. It made him an oddball. A fit oddball. We whispered about him.
But secretly, we admired his passion and commitment.
Eventually one of my girlfriends and I stopped gossiping about Lenny and started meeting up on back roads to run for ourselves. Past horses and hay barns and purple fields of lupine. Past churches and gas stations and kids riding in cars with their parents . . . we ran.
I got to thinking about all this today when I dropped my teenage daughter off for cross-country practice. Our culture changed. Not because people read a book. Because a few people acted on it. Then a few more. And so on.
Reading a book about aerobic exercise is not an aerobic exercise any more than reading a book about writing is writing.
Reading about how to have a great marriage won’t magically improve my marriage unless I put it into practice.
Reading about forgiveness—or posting clever quotes about it on Pinterest—doesn’t benefit me until I make a move to forgive someone.
I don’t even think reading the Bible brings lasting transformation unless I act on it.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. ~James 1:22–25
What is the thing you’ve been studying, but haven’t acted on? How would you fill in these blanks?
Reading a book or a blog post about _________ -ing,
isn’t the same as __________-ing.
Today I commit to act on what I already know. Even if I look like an oddball.