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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Run? now where did I put my shoes…

In retrospect she does not think she will ever forget the day she leaned against a fence chatting with other random volunteers serving in the aftermath of a hurricane. For some random reason, one of the leaders from church made a comment about her. “That is because she is committed,” he said. Her heart glowed with warmth that someone would ever think that about her. Another part of her laughed. The young man had no way of knowing there were car keys in her pocket. All her earthly possessions fit in her car. The knowledge she could leave tomorrow gave her strength to stay…

So I wrote about a year and a half ago as I pondered my coming to Jersey and what it meant to begin pouring my life out here and putting down roots — something I had never done before in my life.

Over the last four and a half years, I have experienced many emotions regarding my commitment to stay and the relationships I have allowed myself to build here. After I got rid of my car, I could no longer drive away; but there were days when I wanted to walk away. Walk and walk and walk and walk until I had no strength to walk any further.

There came a time when the relationships here became too strong for me to be able to just leave. During the hard times I would dream of walking and walking and walking and walking, and then I would add, “but I would have to catch a bus back in time for step group (or dinner group or whatever the case was) tonight.” Driving away was no longer an option, and pretending I could walk away was getting harder.

A few weeks ago, the runner in me resurfaced. I think this was for many reasons. For one, for the first time in years, I actually have no commitments to keep me here. If I want to leave, I can. The bulk of my income is even made virtually, and I could move anywhere in the world without losing it. I am free to go… or stay. It’s like grace. I get to make a choice.

All my fear of love and intimacy began to resurface. “Bolt,” it said, “this is your last chance. If you stay, you’ll never get away.” That’s what I used to do. I ran away from anything that looked like fuzzy feelings, commitment and love.

So my mentors and I have been having lots of fun working through this. Last week a friend sent me the closing clip of Runaway Bride. “Even the runaway bride turns in her shoes at some point,” she noted.

So I have been working on turning in my shoes. What does it mean to want to choose love and intimacy? What does it mean to really let people into my heart for no other reason than enjoyment? What does it mean to freely give myself to others? And for crying out loud, how can one do this without it terrifying them and making them want to run like hell???

Yesterday morning as I started my day, I pondered something hard that is happening in one of my relationships. The old thought pattern came into my brain. “Leave,” it said. I stopped myself, “Laura, just shut up. You know you don’t want to leave anymore. You want to stay. You aren’t going to sacrifice your relationship with so-and-so in order to not work through your issues with so-and-so. That would be stupid.”

So I am turning in my running shoes. To be honest, even in the most terrifying moments of the last few weeks, even when I wanted to quit following Jesus, I couldn’t get myself to put them on anyway. Perfect love casts out fear. I have been too well loved here to be more afraid of staying than enticed by leaving. I am turning in my running shoes — with great joy. With God all things are possible.

Do you ever run from working through tough spots in your relationships? Do you have any desire to turn in your running shoes with me? :)


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