Emily Capes is a Runner

Emily Capes

I’m a runner.

I run about 5 days a week, at least one mile as a warm up before a workout up to whatever long distance run I am training for (longest training run was 21 miles).

If you saw me – you’d probably NOT say to yourself, “Now that person is a runner”.

I don’t have a runner’s body.

I get up most mornings before 5:00 a.m.  That is not always easy for me to do.

I get sick many of the times that I run longer distances.

I’ve had surgery on both of my feet and I still run.

I run slowly.

But I run.

I am a runner.

Labels.  How we see ourselves is pretty interesting.

It wasn’t until I had been running consistently for at least four years that I was able to call myself a runner.  I’ve run seven marathons and more than ten half marathons.  It is one of the hardest things that I do and I love it at the same time.

I wonder why we are willing to claim some labels that don’t apply to our lives and are resistant to claim some that fit us.  Our labels aren’t all that we are but they represent what shapes who we are.

And then teenagers. Whew.  They swap out labels.  They try them on. It’s interesting to see the ones they resist and the ones that they desperately want to be associated with.

In the middle of all the different activities, experiences and labels they want to be a part of – we have a chance to give them experiences in the youth ministry that might actually label them in a way that they become more of who they really are.

Servant. Compassionate. Child of God. Helper. Beloved. Light.

That list can go on and on…

One of the ways that I love to invite my teens to try on those labels is by participating in the 30 Hour Famine.  It’s not easy.  Their stomach hurts because of hunger. They learn things about other children around the world who are really hungry.  They feel helpless.  They raise money for World Vision – maybe really for the cool t-shirt instead of for the kids – but they raise money.  Their lives will be changed.  And they will make lives better in other places.

Like all the years I had a hard time seeing myself as a runner – our teens may have a hard time seeing themselves as a servant or light.  BUT they do it and they are.

Plan to put the 30 Hour Famine on your calendar for 2014. Give them another label to try on. To live out.