Love Runs (and sometimes walks)

A while back, one of the writers I read, Ally Vesterfelt, put forth a challenge. She was planning to raise 30,000 dollars to fund a classroom in Uganda by her 30th birthday. She couldn't do it alone, she needed our help. There were a few fundraising festivities going on, but she seemed to be focusing on a remote 5K called "Love Runs." The idea was that people would register and join together across the globe in solidarity and support. Like anything that draws people together over boundaries, it was a mysterious and wonderful idea.

Love runs

Immediately after I read it, I started thinking about all the reasons why I couldn't do it. (This is very similar to how I react when I am asked to give blood). My knees are weak, after years of ballet and tae kwon do, and my physical therapist and I decided long ago that my running days were over.

This seems like a great excuse, right? But that wasn't the point. It was an excuse.

I thought of all kinds of reasons why I couldn't do it, including my inability to correctly measure distances (yes, I'm serious).

I couldn't figure out why I was so resistant to the idea until I finally sat down with God and talked it out. The Lord is so patient with me. I realized that when I give, it is usually on my own terms. I'm good at giving money, not so good at giving sweat. I'm comfortable with serving from a distance, with very little impact to my comfort zone. This year has been all about changing that. Little by little, God is asking me out of my safe places, and into His bountiful ones. Sometimes that feels wonderful, and other times it feels completely wrong.

It's times like these that I'm glad I serve an Aslan kind of God: "Of course he's not safe, but he's good."

Lately, God has been asking me to do things which are right in line with who He is. They are not always right in line with who I am. They are relational in a way I haven't been before, generous in a more personal way, or even counter-intuitive. So far, it's been all right. In fact, it's been the best thing, it has made this year charge with energy and life. These stirrings of my heart are a great portion of the reason that I write this blog.

After God laid my heart bare before me like that, it became clear what I needed to do. I registered for the 5K, choosing to take my normal loop around my neighborhood (which just happens to be a perfect 5K), thinking and praying for the children in Uganda who would have the opportunity to learn because of what we were doing together that day. I thought and prayed about all the other runners (and walkers) who were joining together with me. It was so humbling to imagine myself in the midst of them, if we all happened to be in the same place, as we will be, one day soon.

I am thankful that God meets me where I am, at my speed, and that even though I know that love runs, sometimes, for the sake of certain slowpokes, love walks.

"Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:30-31)

photo by marco commons

Unless otherwise credited, all photos are by Cara Strickland.