I was starting to list for myself this morning some of the strange behaviors that I willingly engage in for the love of running. I thought I'd share some of that list with you as a way to enter into a larger discussion.
-Right now as I type this, I have an ice pack strapped around my left ankle. At my desk. At work. My left Achilles has been bothering me, and this is one of the few times I sit still long enough to ice!
-Last night I slept with two socks on that same foot. Just the left foot. I've heard that keeping the foot warm is a key to recovery. It looks weird. It seems to help my ankle.
-This year I have purchased three brand new pairs of shoes. I've never worn any of them in public. They are just for running. The shoes I wear around are all over a year old.
-Last night I felt achy, sore and tired. So I got up early this morning, ran 8 miles, and I feel better than ever.
-I don't eat French fries. I have found that any kind of deep-friend food has an adverse affect on my morning runs, so I avoid them during peak training.
-I check the weather every night just to see what the temp will be in the morning.
-I blow my nose into my shirt when I run. I've tried the farmer blow and it just doesn't work for me. You probably didn't want to know that. I could go even more graphic, but let's not go there.
So why am I thinking about all these strange behaviors today? It occurs to me that in the name of our passion, we will do some pretty outrageous things. We willingly engage in behaviors that may seem odd or even ludicrous to others who don't share our passion. Imagine the frenzied fans at a Seahawks game with bright green spiked hair. Picture the crowds gathering at national scrapbooking and Star Wars conventions. Think of the lines of people camping out to be the first to own the next iPhone. More likely than not, one or more of these groups seem strange to you. You don't understand their passion, so their behavior is hard to comprehend. But you know at the same time that you have a similar passion in your life that may be misunderstood by others, be it Duck Dynasty, Starbucks, or vintage cars.
This weekend at church, we talked about the life of the prophet Jeremiah. This guy lived boldly for God- what God told him to say, he said. What God told him to do, he did. And this made him look strange; very strange. It also offended and bothered a lot of people who didn't understand his passion. But here's the connection for me: Why is it that I am so willing to look strange when it comes to my hobby of running, but often so unwilling to look strange when it comes to my faith in Jesus? To be honest, when it comes to faith and Jesus in my life, I usually try to fit in. I want to look normal, average and regular. I don't want to offend or turn anyone away because of "strange behaviors."
Somehow this feels out of sync to me. How could I bring the same attitude I have towards how others view my running that I do to how others view my faith? Could I be more bold to live out loud and let the crowd- be they skeptics or supporters- react however they want? Here are some paths I'd like to walk in, and thus be accused of strange behaviors:
-I'd like to love more outrageously. When someone is hurting or in need, I want to be more proactive to go to extreme measures to show love. I don't do that very often.
-I want to treat everyone like they have unsurpassable worth. I want to treat people who are nothing like me with the same kind of honor and respect I would give to the president if he walked into the room. That's hard to do.
-I want to respond with grace and love when others grow harsh or mean. I want to bless bad drivers, not yell at them.
-I want to talk more often about Jesus, how much he means to me, and how I really believe he's the hope of the world. I want to stop worrying about who's listening or how they might respond.
You know, if I engaged in these behaviors, I would look strange to most people, especially to those who didn't understand my passion. But I do this all the time with running- why not with Jesus?
What's on your list? How do you want to live so that others might see you as strange?
On your journey, may you joyfully be strange for Jesus!