Own It

Some people think runners are crazy.  If they don’t flat out say it, I can sense it in their tone.  You ran how far?  At what time?  In the snow?  Why?  Sometimes, to avoid looking like a nut, I’ve downplayed my love for running in the face of those questions.  I’ve even lied a bit here and there.  My responses vary depending on my comfort level with the crowd.  If other perceived nuts are around to validate my passion or if I’m surrounded by friends, the real me shows up and I admit to my crazy love of the sport.  Too many times, however, my desire for acceptance has gotten the better of me, and I’ve lost opportunities to bring who knows how many new nuts into the crazy-runner fold.  Well, the gig is up.  I love running … 20 miles … at 5:00 am … in the snow.  Just because.  When we have a passion that is unpopular or even crazy to some, the light of that passion can get lost when we attempt to fit in.

…  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence  1 Peter 3:15

A Christian lifestyle is countercultural and crazy to some.  We can find ourselves in situations every day where a Christian view is unpopular.  Instead of blending in with the wall, let’s seize the opportunity to defend our faith – not by pushing our beliefs on others, but by humbly acting and speaking as God commands us, without judgment.  Peter doesn’t direct us to defend our faith only when we’re surrounded by those who share our beliefs or when we fear no challenge; he says we’re to be prepared “always”.  If we live the Gospel, others will notice and wonder what it is that makes us consistently hopeful despite the roller coaster of life we ride.  Defending our faith will not always be comfortable, and our place on the world’s coolness scale may dip.  But, isn’t it better to suffer for standing up for what is right than to suffer for giving into what is wrong?  Being mocked or rejected is painful, but denying an opportunity to share our faith has a much more painful consequence of separating us from God.  Thank goodness He always takes us back when we ask.  God’s love, merciful forgiveness, and grace are gifts – not to be borrowed and used when convenient – but to be accepted and owned alwaysTaking ownership of God’s gifts is a call to acknowledge and share our faith – with gentleness, reverence and without judgment – regardless of who is watching.  You never know how God might use your words or actions for another’s good.

Dear God, thank you for all your gifts; please help me own them with my whole heart and share them with courage.