A Lesson in Going the Distance
There are countless things I could say about running a marathon. You learn your strengths, your weaknesses, your limits and how to test them. You learn about your body, what it needs and what it can do. You learn what motivates you and what distracts you. You learn the degree of pride you cling to and the degree of self doubt you hide behind. You notice who cheers for you and who is silent. You learn to persevere through pain and to work harder when you feel good. You learn to identify your fears and recognize your own excuses. You learn what you’d quit for and what you’d run for. In 26 miles and the 100s you put in ahead of time : you learn to see clearer who you are and all that your made of.
5 months ago I said yes to running the LA Marathon for the sake of impacting the lives of the 663 million people who go daily without clean water. Women and children spend their days walking an average of 6 kilometers each way to fill a can of dirty water at the nearest source and bring it back to their families. Sometimes these trips must be taken 2-3 times each day. Young girls who are sent out to get water can’t be in school and risk the dangerous reality of being kidnapped or raped on their commute. This clean water crisis I'm referring to is one of the many injustices that cause nearly half the population of the world to live in global poverty. It's a problem so big it'd be insane to think that we can make an impact, right? Well, we'd disagree. We ARE making an impact. The more people care - the more people get clean water and the opportunity for growth and prosperity of the nation increases. So maybe we’re crazy for big dreams - or maybe your crazy for not dreaming big enough.
Team World Vision is a family, and each teammate is willing to sacrifice their time, money, energy, and physical ability in order to pursue the mission of bringing lasting change to communities in need. We are the world changers, the planet shakers, the everyday difference makers. We have different stories, different reasons, and different skill levels. We are one tribe with one purpose and one heart. We’re not just runners, we’re sacrificial people lovers. We make up a community that doesn’t just raise money and do crazy things. We make an impact and change lives. We raise up a signal of hope everywhere we go. Whether we run or walk, our footprints stand out because each one has been made through surrender. We believe and make moves towards God-sized goals, because we know and have seen the ever-faithful love of God in our everyday lives.
This year, TWV LA had a goal to provide clean water for 20,000 people. We dreamt of the Staples Center filling up its seats with people who have recieved clean water because a few crazy souls said they’d run a marathon. Well, 2 days ago we did it. 850 of us took over the city and ran the streets of LA in the 2018 LA Marathon. We left fingerprints all over our spheres of influence, however big or small, and raised enough money to provide water for 20,908 people (& counting!).
We ran, we hurt, we wanted to give up at times, but still we persisted. Because still there were people without water. Now we’re tired, we’re sore, and we’re using up a sick day for recovery. But every ounce of pain and every sacrifice we made is completely incomparable to the suffering that nearly HALF the population of the globe that lives in poverty is experiencing. So yeah, we’re crazy. But if crazy means we can save even 1 life - you better believe we’ll make insanity our profession.
The greatest thing I learned from running this marathon, is what it feels like to give yourself up for the sake of another. I learned the length I would go to in order to seek justice. I also learned the lengths I wouldn't go to just yet. I learned how much/little I think of myself, how much/little I think of others, and how much/little I needed to change what I think about. I learned that the words church and family are interchangeable. I learned that a Saturday spent running in the park with my team worshipped the Lord as much as my Sunday’s spent singing along in a local church service. I learned encouragement is powerful and the lack of it is detrimental. I learned that no change will happen in this world unless enough people care enough to do something. I learned how to be a better runner, lover, servant, advocate, hero, voice, influence, and most importantly how to be an emptier vessel.
I won't try to convince you to run a marathon. My only wish is that I'd convince you to consider what you would run for. What motivates you, what propels you, what stops you, what length would you go to for something you care about, what is something you care about. What dreams of yours aren't big enough? What ways can you pursue your passion and simultaneously serve another person? Think of these things. I'd hate for you to go years without overcoming fears, pushing past limits, or achieving the great things you were designed for.
Our fundraising page is still open if you'd like to help us provide life-saving clean water to those in desperate need. Roughly $50 is the cost to provide water for 1 person, but any amount counts! Give what you can and we'll do all that we can. Share a little love HERE
Scripture study: Read through and meditate on how God may be calling you to serve or love people around you in a deeper way. What are some of the gifts He has given you, and some of the things you are passionate about? How is He leading you to use those gifts and passions for the good of others? Are there areas of your life where God may be calling you to dream bigger? Ask God how you can make loving and serving others a natural rhythm in your life? Are there any fears holding you back taking these steps? Take some time in prayer and afterwards journal 3 ways that you are gifted and 3 new ways you can love well this week.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him."John 4:23