Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Two things I hate: running and Jesus

Posted on 13 Jul 2013 in Christianity, Discipleship | Comments Off on Two things I hate: running and Jesus

First, a little link love that have prompted some of these thoughts: David Fitch and running combined with this post from fellow MennoNerd April Yamasaki.


Next, a rant: I hate running. I don’t mean dislike. I don’t mean ‘would prefer to do something else’. I mean hate. I loath running. It is the worst possible way I can think to spend my time. I would rather lick the bottom of your shoe. I’ve read books and articles by runners who talk about connecting with nature, or finding a moment of silence, or zoning out into a place of joy, or whatever little moment of zen they have.

I don’t feel it. I feel less like a graceful swan and more like a sick elephant. Less finely tuned racing machine and more Pontiac Aztec. Somewhere between miles two and three I hit my wall. I can run farther, I just don’t want to. I can run faster, I just don’t like it. I pick an object off in the distance and after several minutes of staring at it, I still haven’t passed it and just get angry. It’s one reason I like cycling. It’s got speed. It’s got finess. It’s got everything that running doesn’t.

That said, I’ve recently decided to fulfill a long standing promise to my wife: I’m going to run a half marathon with her. We’ve picked one out and come October, I’m running 13.1 horrible miles.


less like a graceful swan and more like a sick elephant. Less finely tuned racing machine and more Pontiac Aztec



Finally, why I need this: Because I know that in these moments, growth happens (which is also never fun). It’s similar to the times I hate following Jesus:

  1. Because forgiveness is hard and truth be told, I’d rather hold a grudge.
  2. Because denying myself to follow Jesus is unpleasant and I’d rather do whatever I want.
  3. Because community can be inconvenient and I much prefer to spend my time alone.
  4. Because if I could, I’d only tell the truth when it benefitted me.
  5. Because I love the idea of me acquiring more money, power, and influence.

But when I signed up to follow Jesus, I gave up those choices. It’s not always easy but I firmly believe it’s necessary. Life can’t be lived fully alone, I need community, I need others, I need to be stretched, changed, and experience growth. I need to tell the truth, not only when convenient but when painful. I need to live authentically not only when around others, but when alone. I need to give up my own personal preference and follow my Master.

Following Jesus requires discipline. It requires doing things that may not always be at the top of my list. It means that sometimes I have to do things I’d rather not.

NYC Marathon 2008 - the winner! Brasil

Running. I’m never this graceful (Photo credit: Marcos Vasconcelos Photography)

Why am I running? For much the same reason I decide to follow Jesus: I need to grow and change. I need the push to do something outside of myself that makes me better (in this case better health). And I do it because I trust that somewhere in the journey I will discover what I found in following Jesus: a deep and abiding joy.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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