I had forgotten…

Dressed up for a cold but sunny training ride for Ride4CAP

Jeremiah 1:5-8 “‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you to a prophet for the nations.’  Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I don’t know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.'”

Yesterday I went on the first cycling training ride of the season for my Ride4CAP to raise funds for the Cascade AIDS Project. With shining sun and clear blue sky, it was lovely to go out and ride with my team. A nice, casual 20-mile ride with delicious lunch… it was probably the best way to start out the training season.

But I had forgotten. I had forgotten about the beast that is the anxiety that can sneak up on me. I can’t tell you exactly why, but on this casual, fantastic, easy ride, I fought a buzz of constantly present anxiety.  You would think that after having ridden multiple hours and miles, showing up to do long rides both with my team and on my own, that I would be calm and at ease on my bicycle. I wish.

Yesterday reminded me that riding my bike pushes me out of my comfort zone and can make me afraid. But I can’t give up. It is too important for me to ride my bike to eliminate stigma and raise money for services to provide hope and healing for those affected by HIV. I believe this is one of the tasks to which I have been called. Like the prophet Jeremiah, in the verses above, I have excuses why it is easier not to do this work: it is scary, I might fall, I have to ask for money, people might get tired of me, etc, etc, etc.  But God knows our fear and our reluctance to do the work to which God has called us. In these verses, there is a promise to Jeremiah that God will be there to help, and that we don’t have to do this alone.

We all have particular gifts and challenges. I believe each one of us has a unique way we are meant to make the world a better place. In the same way that Jeremiah was appointed a prophet, I am called to fight for an end of AIDS, and you are called to.[…]. It may be scary or difficult to contemplate these tasks, but we are not alone. This was true for me on Saturday when my amazing training ride leader motivated me to get out there, and my friend’s excitement for the ride was contagious.  It is worth fighting through the excuses not to let fear win.  It is worth the effort to lend a hand for our neighbor.

God formed you in the womb to be the wonderful, unique, human being that you are today.  You are gifted, and you can make a difference in the world in your own marvelous way.  Let’s support one another as we face the obstacles that prevent us from saying yes to the work that God needs us to do. Let’s support one another as we deal with the problems in our lives that make us feel broken.

Gracious God, we may be trying to figure out what to do with our life, or we may be afraid of saying yes to the challenging work ahead. Help us to trust that you will be with us always, even when we mess up, or make excuses, or are scared. Remind us that you will never abandon us, and that each one of us can be a positive presence in the lives of those around us. And always remind us that you love all of us, no matter what, no exceptions. Thanks, and Amen.

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