My friends, Steve and Pam Hill, are missionaries in South Africa. I love them dearly. Pam and I were part of a close-knit group of friends when we were young adults. Ever since I have known them the Hills wanted to go to Africa as missionaries. And they went. Every time I think of them there is a small tug of envy in my heart. Not because I want to be a missionary, but because I want to be like them. I want to “be called” so strongly that there is no doubt in my mind or heart that I am doing the right thing with my life. Missionaries are my perfect example of living God’s will.
As much as being a missionary fascinates me, it also scares me. How can anybody do what they do? And then I remember: God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. It is this response, this answer to God’s calling that tugs at my heart.
After diagnosis and treatment I learned of the American Cancer Society Fundraiser Spin for Hope. (It is now named Pedal to End Cancer). I heard about it at my athletic club and decided that I wanted to participate. I did in 2010 and was the second top fundraiser from my athletic club. It was an amazing experience and I have often thought about participating again. It is always held the first Sunday in March.
However, even after treatment I could never imagine participating in a “walk,” let alone anything that took more than a day. I’m not sure why, but maybe I was afraid of walking long distances whereas riding a stationary bike is pretty safe. As I wrote in my initial post The Reluctant Survivor, I was the one always willing to sponsor. It was when my school mate and friend called to ask if I’d be interested in doing a fundraising walk in memory of our friend that my heart answered “yes” before my brain could close my mouth. During the weeks that followed I often found myself questioning my ability. I would often think, “What have I gotten myself into?” And I would wonder if there was a way out.
I trained, to the best of my ability, for that first walk. It was painful. There were injuries. But the biggest hurdle was the emotional one. The one where I was full of doubts; doubts about my physical ability. The fear of an unknown walk, in an unknown city. I was pretty sure I had said yes to something that was impossible, at least for me. It was then I would feel that tug on my heart and would remember that God does not call the equipped. And I would find myself saying to God, “Well, you better equip me.”
Even today as I begin “training” for the 2013 Avon Walk I am struck by the fact that I am not equipped. I am not an athlete. I walked 30 miles on my treadmill during the month of January. I have been slowed down by a minor injury to my left heel, so I will not be walking 30 miles during the month of February. However, there are other things I can do, such as weight training and yoga, to prepare for a marathon walk. As unequipped as I am, God continues to equip this walker who was called.