I Love to Take Risks. Someone Special Also Loves for Me to Take Risks.

There is a race this weekend I am participating in. The distance, competition and course have all earned my respect enough to taper. The last time I backed off for a race was the regional cross country championships in November of 2007. 100 plus mile weeks with intense workouts has dropped to 60 last week and 40-50 this week. Many different emotions, energies and feelings have inundated my mind and body. None of them great. I cannot wait to run this race and bring the mileage back up. #taperrage

There is a race this weekend I am participating in. The distance, competition and course have all earned my respect enough to taper. The last time I backed off for a race was the regional cross country championships in November of 2007 (my junior year of undergrad, I am old). 100 plus mile weeks with intense workouts have dropped to 60 last week and 40-50 this week. Many different emotions, energies and feelings have inundated my mind and body. None of them great. I cannot wait to run this race and bring the mileage back up. #taperrage

Hello. It has been a while since I have done anything on Tales of a Ragamuffin. Since I know I have about five regular readers (three of which are family members) and have been spending a lot of time with them recently, I haven’t felt too guilty about not writing. But I do love writing. What I hate the most is missing two #AffirmationMonday posts. But, I want everyone to get the time and effort they deserve. And because of traveling and trying to be present in the moment, I just didn’t get to it.

I have some favorite movies. The absolute usually changes depending on mood. But I do have a top three or four. I have favorite books that also change depending on mood and stage in life. Same with music. I also have a favorite story in the Bible. I enjoy a lot of the Bible. Mainly the accounts of the life of Jesus. But this story has been my favorite since the time I read it in my parent’s basement when I was 17.

It is a story about a woman. Jesus is just starting to become a rock star. He is traveling around the region loving people when he takes a boat across a sea. Upon arrival to the other side, he is met by a large group of people. In that group is a man named Jairus. Jairus happens to be the ruler of the local synagogue. If there is one group of people Jesus didn’t see eye-to-eye with, it was the religious leaders of the day. But He loved them. Jairus had a young daughter dying and asked Jesus to go with him to his home to heal her. Jesus agreed.

As they were walking through the crowd, people were pushing and shoving to try to get close to Jesus. I imagine it was probably the first moshpit in the history of the world. Jesus was a rock star. Enter the woman. She is not named in scripture but she has been suffering with hemorrhaging for years. Despite multiple attempts to heal her bleeding, no one had been able to help her. So, she had heard about this Jesus and knew if she could lay one finger on His robe, she would be healed. She did and she was.

Jesus felt energy discharging from Him. He went out of His was to stop and try to figure out who had touched Him. His homies all told Him many had touched Him. But Jesus insisted someone reached out for help. The woman came forward. And Jesus loved her immensely. The main reason Jesus loved her: her risk of faith. Jesus had spent time with the religious scholars of the day who didn’t believe in Him or anything He did. And here comes this woman, terrified but desperate. She had suffered for years. And in her suffering and desperation, she reached out with complete faith to this person she had never met.

To me, this is a gorgeous story for so many reasons. There are two main reasons:

1) Jesus loves and rewards risks of faith. We just have to be willing to reach out to Him. Like the woman, it often takes suffering and desperation for me to get there. But when I do, Jesus is excited. He loves the risk immensely. And He loves me immensely.

2) As a Christ follower, I am starting to realize I am called to absolutely know, love and reflect Jesus. If we are to reflect Jesus, we have to reward risks of faith. When we see people around us taking risks to be closer to our Leader, we have to encourage and love that. We have to encourage and love each other. Because He loves and encourages us. And our risks of faith.

When I get to meet Jesus face-to-face, the first thing I want to hear Him say is what He said to the woman: “You took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole.”

*Editor’s note: After Jesus found out who touched His robe, He healed the daughter of Jairus. While there are multiple accounts of this story in the gospels, all told from different perspectives, my favorite is Mark’s. It can be found in Mark 5: 21-43.

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Running the Risk…

I would like to run here. It would be nice. And soft on my 25-year-old joints.

I would like to run here. It would be nice. And soft on my 25-year-old joints.

Yesterday, about 10 minutes before I normally leave for my run, it started dumping. Hard. Huge, wet snowflakes mixed with rain. And the wind was blowing what looked like 358,956 miles per hour. To say it was not appealing for a run would be a gross understatement. I happened to check Facebook and saw a friend’s profile picture. This picture was of another runner who passed away too young. It reminded me of him and a college teammate of mine who also passed away way too soon.

What were their last runs like? This thought was more than enough to get me to lace up my shoes and trudge out into one of the most insane runs of my life (weather-wise). It was also one of the most gorgeous runs of my life. Let me tell you why. It hurt. It was tough. It was mentally draining. It was cold. It was uncomfortable. I could go into the million reasons why I adore running but what it comes down to is I love the discomfort. I love the challenge. I love the hurt. Because it makes me a tougher, humble and hungry runner. The discomfort experienced by a runner is a cause of fatigued muscles. The heart, the legs, the arms, the core. It is a breaking down of muscle fibers so they grow back stronger.

Discomfort is what produces growth in my life. Discomfort is what makes me move. The biggest time of growth in my life – spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally – has been the past 14 months. This has also been the most challenging, tough, uncomfortable, hurtful and gorgeous 14 months of my life. The thing with being comfortable is it feels great (obviously). It is safe, secure and pleasant. It can also trick us into settling. Or keep us from moving. Or from growing.

A quote from my first post has been one of my guiding lights for the past year.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Emerson

This is a sure way to make me uncomfortable. Obviously this can lead to some sketch situations, but no matter what, it creates a story. And the majority of those stories have been meaningful. However, for me, there is a certain Trust and Belief in all things working out for the best. More to come about this in a future post.

What are you afraid to do? What makes you uncomfortable? What area in your life feels incomplete? What risk are you not taking?

For me the answers are: I am afraid to commit to one person but I am also afraid of loneliness. I am also terrified of living a life that doesn’t matter or isn’t fulfilling in the right ways or truly connecting with those closest to me. Conflict makes me uncomfortable. I like everyone to be content and peaceful. I feel incomplete in almost every area of my life. The biggest risk I am not taking is allowing myself to get super close to some people. Or perhaps being vulnerable.

What are your answers? What are you going to do about them?

Let’s get uncomfortable. Let’s take some risks. Let’s live big lives. With gorgeous  stories.