However, unlike in May/June, there is NO light outside at 6 or even 6:30 am. Like, the sun does not even start to peek out till after 6:30am. (See my running blog to read about my running adventures) So, I went shopping yesterday to make myself feel safer about running in the dark. I bought my new friend, Ms. Mace (her marital status is ambiguous at this point)
I also bought some reflective bands to go around my ankles when I run. I'm sure I will make all the walkers/runners jealous with my awesome morning run outfits...it was either reflective bands, or a stylish vest a-like so...
And so, as I was doing my shopping yesterday (realizing I'm getting better and better at finding my way around sports/athletic stores surprisingly enough!) I realized I was paying money to assuage my fears. We do not live in a big city of murders or kidnapping...but I had a fear of someone attacking or hurting me as I walked/ran alone in the dark. I had fears about not being seen as a drunken or sleep deprived person careened down our street. (unfortunately this DOES happen in our town/on our street) I have enough excuses that make me want to give up running, I did not want to give in to fear; yet again in my life. I just didn't want fear to stop me from running.
And I thought about the irony of that thought. Usually running and fear go hand in hand, don't they? When we are afraid, we run. It's human instinct. When we get scared of something, we run away. How often do we get scared and run TOWARD the thing that scares us?!? It goes against an innate self-protection trigger. We would be making ourselves completely vulnerable as we ran towards something that we feared.
Let's twist this thought a little.
We fear being found vulnerable. We do not open ourselves, our hearts, up to most people because of fear. And due to things in our past, this is a justifiable self-protection trigger. Somewhere in the past, we trusted someone (or plural) and they used our vulnerability against us..in gossip, in abuse, in threats for power, etc. You've been there. We all have. So, our hearts say, "Heck, I am NOT going to go through THAT again!" so we are very selective in who we allow ourselves to truly open up to. We may eventually let in our spouse and a friend or two or maybe, rarely, three. To some degree. It's dangerous to put yourself out there. To run towards someone else with all your might, pursuing them, wearing your heart on your sleeve on the way- crossing that distance between you.
And God did. He ran.
In Luke 15 we read:
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
God, the Father, did not allow the fear of rejection stop Him from running. He did not let the fear of PAST rejection stop Him from running. He did not let the fear of ridicule of the servants stop Him from running. He did not let the fear of financial bankruptcy stop Him from running. He did not let the fear of "Our relationship can never be the same!" stop Him from running. He did not let the fear of ______________ (ANYTHING!!!) stop Him from running!!!
Isn't that amazing!!! This same God lives in YOU, if you belong to Him. He can and will give you the strength to overcome your fears of running in the dark; of making yourself vulnerable to others. Take the risk...run in the dark...you'll see marvelous things as the son appears.