Riskbands

Have I told you that I’m running a marathon for SHINE Charity in just under three weeks time? Once or twice I suspect. Well last week the charity posted out my charity running vest for the big day. It’s a demure bright yellow which won’t win me any awards in the fashion stakes but will ensure that I’m visible from about a mile away for passing motorists. I will resemble a giant, fluorescent banana. I’ve had worse looks.

They also sent me out some sponsorship sheets and a charity wristband which I proudly slipped on. Wristbands may now be a fashion faux pas for all I know but I wear three. The aforementioned SHINE addition and one from my favourite singer/author Lacey Sturm saying ‘Living the Impossible’. I have kind of adopted this as my life slogan for if you had told me five years ago that I would be running marathons and writing a novel I would have snorted in derision.

The third one is a simple black band with a verse from the Bible embossed on it. 1 John 2:6 to be precise ‘Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.’ It kind of sums up how I am trying to live my life and the mindset I am attempting to adhere to. Our pastor talks a lot about the difference between being a Christian and being a follower of Jesus. Anyone can make the decision to become a Christian. But attempting to live like he did day after day is a whole different ball game.

He also talks a lot about discipleship. It’s more than just turning up at church on a Sunday, mumbling along to a few worship songs and then shuffling off home again. It’s about how you live your life the rest of the week that matters. Displaying your faith on a consistent basis in a positive and loving manner. Being the light of the world, the city on a hill. Stepping out of your comfort zone armed with only a mustard seed of faith. Taking a risk.

In corporate management speak I am risk averse in such matters. Fionnuala calls me socially awkward which is probably the understatement of the year. Or any year for that matter. I am fairly hopeless around people I don’t know and not much better around those that I do. And I make no exception when it comes to my faith. I am much better writing about it than I am discussing it; which is one of the main reasons this blog was born. I had a story to tell but knew the written medium was the only way I could effectively express myself and do that story justice.

An example of this occurred last week. I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when a colleague asked me what was written on my wristbands. What a fantastic evangelical opportunity. But what did I do? Rather than openly and proudly talking about my faith I muttered something about the Lacey Sturm wristband being the title of a song I liked prior to quickly changing the subject. Epic fail!

I felt like Peter after he denied Jesus three times and the cockerel crowed. Talking about my faith in an open plan office in front of my colleagues was a risk I was not prepared to take. It was a bridge too far. I had turned my back on Jesus. I was willing to wear his name on his wrist but not declare it with my voice. I was left an embarrassed Christian as opposed to an unapologetic follower of Jesus. I had let him down and felt pretty rubbish.

The good news is that Jesus doesn’t turn his back on us even when we repeatedly turn our back on him. He’s got a thick skin that way. He is a bottomless ocean of patience and forgiveness, the ultimate grace generator. And when you stumble, or fall flat on your face like me, he’s there to reach out and help you back on your feet. To follow him. In your own time. But don’t leave it too late for you never know what’s round the next corner.

The next time I have an opportunity to demonstrate my faith I hope I don’t waver. I want to be a follower. I want to step out of the boat in faith. Christians wear wristbands. Followers wear riskbands. 

Do you wear a wristband? What does it stand for?

Are you a risk taker? Or risk averse?

17 thoughts on “Riskbands

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  1. I have one wristband: “What would Talbot do?” It’s from author Mark Tufo, from his epic zombie series Zombie Fallout. I like your Bible one better though. I often feel like Peter and think of that articulate quite often. It’s difficult to be gay AND talk about God. I try though. But you’re right, it’s much easier writing about it.

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  2. Great post today, Stephen! Sometimes it is hard in those situations where people unexpectedly ask you about your faith. Sadly, you can’t say, “Let me write you a paper on it and I’ll get back with you.” That would be so much easier.
    I have so many wristbands that I can’t wear them all at the same time! I used to try, but I have to admit I looked kinda dorky. My favorites include one I got from a church camp about Creation vs evolution, a 4-H one, one from the Ark Encounter, and some from my best friends. Believe it or not, I have thrown quite a few away! I’m a jewelry girl, what can I say? Also, I’d say I’m a risk taker. 🙏❤😊

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  3. I personally can not wear wristbands but my son does. His vary from day to day. He has a Children’s Miracle Network one, a Kindness Project from Farmer’s Insurance, an Anti-Bullying one and an Autism awareness one. He loves getting new ones and wearing them all around town.
    I’m kind of both a risk taker and risk averse at the same time if that makes any sense. It depends on the situation, my mood and who I am with at the time. I am trying to come out of my shell more and become a little more adventurous. There are so many things I want to do but I will have to be more confident to do them.

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  4. LOVE your Lacey Sturm wristband- she’s one of my favorites. I love running races for charity events. There’s a 5k near where I live that raised money for melanoma, which I have lost many family members to. Good luck with your race! 🙂

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  5. I was painfully shy (and not a little socially awkward) for most of my life, but thank goodness for me, God has been shoving me out of my comfort zone since I first met Him. I remember one of the first times when He gave me a nudge to speak during one of those moments in a small group Bible study when a question is asked and there is an echoing silence.

    There was an almost physical sensation as if someone was whacking me in the back of the head and a clear command, “Speak up.” I’m afraid I was a bit like Moses; “But I can’t speak well. I’ll sound like an idiot… please send someone else (see Exodus 3 and 4).”

    And yet… He insisted and I spoke. And no one laughed or threw rotten tomatoes. Now almost everyone who has spoken to me for more than 4 minutes knows where I stand and Who I belong to!

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  6. I have looked back over your blogs and i can confirm yes you have mentioned the marathon ;). Seriously good luck i hope the training is going well? I personally do not wear a wrist band not my style really. I remember wearing a LIVESTRONG one back when they very first come about. Hats of to people who do wear them. I must admit whenever i see them on some people it does make me wonder what they are supporting. Do not ever deny your faith either. You believe in something you should be proud. Also just because you are proud it does not mean you are pushing your beliefs on someone.

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  7. Stephen: First, thanks for following my blog. I’ve started following yours and really love your posts. I love a good play on words, and as someone who is also more comfortable sharing my faith in writing than talking one-on-one, your creation of the word “riskband” really hit home for me. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

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