No Longer About Me

Hello friends! This fall I will again be running the Grand Rapids Half-Marathon with Team World Vision (TWV). Yes, this post is asking you to give. But before you skim over this as just another person begging for your money, hear me out.

This year is a little different for me. When I first started running with TWV in the summer of 2014, I had never been a runner before. I mean, I had ran a couple neighborhood halloween 5k’s with my mom but that was about it. I didn’t consider myself a runner. But then TWV came along and me and my mom decided to run the full marathon  in 2014. I completed it in 3 hours and 40 minutes for a mile time of 8:22. Not bad for my first race.

After that first summer, I was hooked. I realized God had gifted me with the gift of long legs and I could use those to glorify Him. As famous Olympic runner Eric Liddell once said, “Yes, I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast. And when I run I can feel His pleasure.” So that was my new goal: run as fast as I can as far as I can for the glory of God. Not a bad goal, I would say.

But this year God has continually been reminding me that He is never done teaching and I have so much more to learn. All that to say, in all my past races it has always been about the distance and setting a new PR.  This summer I have heard God say, “Not this year.”

Recently, my girlfriend, Lyric Bronkema, and I have gotten to know a young woman from our church who has developmental disabilities which have kept her in a wheelchair. Lyric and our friend have formed a very close friendship over the past year. She has always wanted to run and be able to dance.

Suddenly Lyric had an amazing idea. Why not get one of those fancy racing strollers and allow our friend to “run” and complete a half-marathon? But Lyric soon realized how long 13.1 miles is and how hard it is just running that by herself, let alone pushing another human being.

She told me about this idea a couple months back and immediately I was super enthusiastic and excited for her. And then she asked me if I would like to join….

But, but, I run for me. I run for my 7 minute miles and fancy medals. Yes, I run for TWV and all that good stuff, but it is also about me. I couldn’t give up all that and “waste” a whole race to slow down and push a stroller.

And then, as I’m sure you have experienced, I heard that still small voice in the back of my head. Us Christians call that the Holy Spirit doing what He does best. And the voice reminded me why I run in the first place. It was never about me. And it never should be.

So, it has been an extremely humbling decision, but yes, I have decided to run the Grand Rapids Half-Marathon on October 23 with Lyric and our new friend. And for God. And not for myself. I can’t imagine a more humbling experience for me, but after all, God is in the business of stripping us of ourselves and showing us a way so much higher.

Therefore, when you donate to me it is not going to me. Yes, the page has my name on it (Click here to donate). But I no longer run for me. I run for our friend. I run for all the women and children in Africa who have to walk countless miles to get disease-infested water that kills them. I run to strengthen my relationship with my girlfriend. I used to say I run for those who walk, but now I also run for those who can’t walk. Above all, I run to glorify the One who gave me this gift.

Thank God it is no longer about me.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Susan Pries says:

    Wow, RJ! Good for God to keep teaching you such great lessons! 😊, and you, listening and learning! 💕💕💕


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