For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
Saturday is the 5K run that I have been training (on and off) for since last fall. It is the reason that I started training in the first place. The Gasparilla Classic is the race chosen by the Christian radio station that I listen to, WJIS (JOYFM) that will raise funds for a group called Abolition International. Their mission statement Bringing an end to sex trafficking & exploitation through education, empowerment, and comprehensive restorative care.Bringing an end to sex trafficking & exploitation through education, empowerment, and comprehensive restorative care.Bringing an end to sex trafficking & exploitation through education, empowerment, and comprehensive restorative care.Bringing an end to sex trafficking & exploitation through education, empowerment, and comprehensive restorative care.is “bringing an end to sex trafficking and exploitation through education, empowerment and comprehensive restorative care.” In the past, the station offered the opportunity to get involved by running in the Disney half marathon. This year, they moved the race closer to my home and opened it up to a variety of types of races including the 5K, something that was a more obtainable goal for me. I knew that this was my chance to be a part of this mission and to help raise funds for something that is becoming dear to my heart. It seems like everywhere I go, I learn more and more about this awful truth that impacts women and children all around the world. To be a part of “Team Freedom,” not only did I need to commit to running the race, but to raising a minimum of $400. The fundraising was the easiest part for me. The training has not been as easy. While I ran the Jingle Bell run in December on the advice of my personal trainer to prepare myself mentally and physically for the Gasparilla race and did very well with some help from my friends, since that time, training has been an uphill battle for me. A new medication that I am taking makes me very, very tired and it is all I can do to drag myself out of the house and onto the road to run. Though my goal has been to run three times a week, it is difficult to do and while I thought I was running and walking intervals in the distance of 5K (3.3 miles), early this week, actually driving my route in the car, I discovered that I have only been going 2.3 miles. At that point, I decided to just give up. And why not? I raised the money. I’ve told my friends. Why bother to run the actual race and wear the Team Freedom T-shirt? What difference will it make? As I staggered along this week, cursing the road, agonizing over my aches and pains, waffling between giving up and determination to complete this race, it occurred to me that while raising the money was the easiest for me, perhaps raising awareness is most important. There will be tens of thousands of people converging on downtown Tampa to run the races this weekend and only two hundred of us wearing a Team Freedom T-shirt. If I go and do my best, even if it means walking the last mile, then, who knows who might see my shirt and become involved in the project? And who knows what lives might be saved? So, instead of counting minutes and counting miles, I began counting steps. Sixty steps equal one and a half minutes. One and a half minutes of running plus one minute of walking times twenty five equals 5K. That’s 1500 steps. It begins and ends with the steps. Each step is what I am focusing on. One step at a time, I will do it. We will do it. People will be freed. Our world will be changed. One step at a time, and that step begins with me.