When God Invites You to do a Big Thing and Fear says You Can’t

I had a lunch meeting a few weeks ago.  The purpose was for me to help a World Vision guy do some brainstorming and networking.  At least that’s what I thought.

I’m pretty creative.  I’m good at ideas.  I’m good at making work for other people.  It’s a gift.  My family likes to say “God loves you and Laura has a wonderful plan for your life.”  So I was feeling good about meeting with Bradley (the guy) and giving him some ideas.  That is until he finished telling his story, turned to me and said, “I want you to run a half-marathon with Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Zambia.”

What the what?!  Not much surprises me.  Even less than that leaves me speechless. This did.

I don’t run.  Unless I’m running from a bear.

I’ve tried running.  I hate it.  Truly hate it.  Bike, walk, play tennis, golf?  Absolutely!  Run? Ugh, please no!

As I reflected on the possibility, Fear whispered in my ear:

  • What if you really can’t do it?  What if you don’t finish?
  • What if you let people down?
  • What if you don’t raise any money?
  • What if you don’t motivate others to run?
  • What if you hurt yourself and it compromises your ability to enjoy other things?

Honestly, one of the loudest whispers was:  This will be a painful, grueling boatload of work and you don’t want to do it.

But Bradley said three things in that meeting that made me think maybe his idea was so crazy that God might actually be in it and I needed to pay attention.

1. He said this run is for clean water, something I’m passionate about.  Dirty water is the leading killer of kids under 5 in the world.

IMG_1977In Zambia two years ago I danced with women as a well was dug and fresh water gushed out.  They sang “Come and see what God has done.”  The old woman next to me spoke in wonder “He saw us. He answered our prayers.”  Wouldn’t be incredible to part of an answer to someone’s prayers?

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2.  80% of the people who run on Team World Vision are not runners (as in, never done it).  And that’s both scary and inspiring.  When Bradley speaks to churches his theme is fear not.  My one word for this year is Fearless, the word I’m trying to live into.  As he spoke I sensed a little nudge.  Perhaps this is a tailor made (albeit crazy) invitation to step into something scary that God desires to use.

OneWord2013_Fearless150

3.  My first response was unequivocal.  There is no way I can do this.  (Did I mention I. Don’t. Run. Ever.?).  But maybe that’s an additional reason why this might be of God.  Perhaps, besides providing water, there is something He wants to show me of Himself in this hard thing.  His power perfected in my weakness.

There are many days of “small things”, but sometimes God invites us into something big and hard and seemingly impossible.

I think, in this case, God’s answer to Fear is “What if I run with you and do something bigger in and through you for others than you think is possible?”

So, although I have visions of my daughter (who may be running with me), dragging my lifeless body across the finish line, October 26th (Lord willing) I will be running (or shuffling) the Twin Cities Monster Dash half-marathon.  You can join me running here! They have a great training program – starting from zero.

You can donate here.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Laura,
    Thank you so much for posting this, I just signed up for the TC Marathon with Team Jacob’s Well after listening to Bradley’s story and everything you wrote is spot on. All the thoughts and all the fears. It is nice to know there are many of us facing our fears together!

  2. Marcia Mattson

    May 3, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Laura, running is free, cheap (just some good shoes and socks), and can be done anywhere, anytime. It is a wonderful way to see the really interesting parts of any place in any country in the world. Best of all it is one of the most delightful ways to be in God’s presence in both prayer and in marveling at His creation. Once you get used to just doing 2 miles, it’s a piece of cake to slowly add miles on. I so wish my ankle would let me do it with you! Go for it, lovely Laura!!!!!

  3. Here’s the thing…three years ago I met with that same guy (Bradley) and he convinced me to run my first ever half marathon for Team World Vision. It was the most amazing experience! When I crossed the finish line I felt completely satisfied. Lives changed (mine included). Mission accomplished. Until that guy called me again and questioned…”ever thought of running a full marathon?”

  4. Hello Laura – You can do it!!! Congratulations on accepting the challenge God has set before you. Though at first the half-marathon will seem an impossible distance, before you know it, you will be covering 3, 4, 5 milles no problem. Take it little by little. One foot in front of the other and don’t look back.

    All the best in your efforts, Patrick Reed

  5. Thanks for your post. Seems the Lord is always asking us to do something that has a long list of reasons why we can’t… I love your remark “What if I run with you and do something bigger in and through you for others than you think is possible?” I needed to hear that today!! What if…
    Excited to hear how it goes.

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