The Bare Soul - May 27, 2007
Take A Risk!

Occasionally, I will flip channels on a Sunday morning (when I have not gone to church for one reason or the other) and I will usually flip past, rather quickly, I might add, the plethora of preachers that saturate the new week's morning airwaves. One particular Sunday, however, I remember stopping on a particular sermon being delivered by a familiar face that most would recognize. What captivated me about this particular message was the minister's insistence about a particular greeting he would reject when spoken to him. People would often say to him, "Take Care!" when ending a conversation with the renowned eulogist. He would come back with, "No, most certainly don't take care, but TAKE A RISK". The implication and admonition is simple but profound. Don't go through life always fearful and watchful, but take a risk with new encounters, new adventures -- step out of yourself and be daring and see what God will do!

Now, this particular program was on more than 10 years ago, but I still remember it vividly and try to practice it religiously. Not in the religious sense of rote or out of an obligation to be daring for daring's sake, but to stretch and expand myself to reach God's goals for my life.

If you would have told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would be a barefoot runner today, and that I would have completed nearly 30 barefoot marathons, I would have been slightly amused but probably skeptical. Back then, I was running faster than I have ever ran, with marathon times around 3 hours and 15 minutes. Why would I change what I was doing if it was working and I was getting the results I wanted? Well, the reason is simply that my running took a turn for the worse in that I began to incur injuries. I was at a turning point in my running in 2003. I knew I had limited choices since my knees were getting so bad from the incessant pounding of bad running form. Number 1, I could have my knees surgically "scoped" and have the knees cleaned of all the build-up that was causing intense pain. Number 2, I could quit running altogether and hope that maybe someday my knees would improve so I could lead an active lifestyle once again. Or number 3, I could try out this "wild" idea about barefoot running and how it promoted proper foot strike and had how it had virtually eliminated injuries from many who had testified to its benefits since taking the risk of throwing away their trainers!

Of course, the decision, as they say is history. When deciding to go with the idea of risking possible further physical damage to my legs and feet by this radical notion of barefoot running, I had no idea where it would take me. Once I tried it, it was like an epiphany! I felt it immediately in my legs and my feet that what I was doing was the right thing. My fear subsided with every run and I knew that I was on the road to recovery.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone should throw away their trainers and do what I do. Many runners and walkers do fine with their shoes and have no catalyst to push them to do otherwise. However, what other things might God be pushing us toward, and yet we have fear of the risk and the possible disappointment of failure? God does not want us to be presumptive nor daring to the point to endanger ourselves or others unwittingly. Yet, He does desire us to step out of ourselves at times and do something that very possibly He has been "nudging" us toward for some time. Today, we should ask ourselves: "Am I shrinking from an opportunity that God wants to bless me with by telling myself to 'take care' and to not venture out, or am I ready to 'take a risk' and accept a new challenge and a growth opportunity?" The decision, as always, is ours to make.

Having a Blessed Barefoot Blast!

Barefoot Rick

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