The truth is: I like to do things well. Running was something I could not do well. Even as a child I dreaded the once-a-year-all-school cross-country race day. I often felt it was a minor miracle that I survived to the end of the 1 km run. Running was tough, all those hills to navigate, the need to persevere even when you could barely breathe and always finishing last was difficult on my pride.
Two years ago, my husband started training for half marathons. I was adamant that I would never go into such a thing. Yet something deep within intrigued me about the actual race day. There was celebration in the air that comes from goals accomplished. Laughter and joy permeated the atmosphere. Strangers cheered one another on. That’s the part that touched my heart. A sense of community with people I had never met, rooting for one another when life felt hard. It was beautiful.
My children wanted to follow in the footsteps of their father. I didn’t want to push them into anything. I know that the running world can be intense, focussed and driven. Let them be kids and run when and wherever they want. Not everything needs to be structured in their lives. Yet they both said they wanted to try and now they love it. Their smiles are big and genuine. They are learning life lessons about setting goals, working hard and finding joy in finishing what they have started. Their enthusiasm called me to take to the track as well. My young daughter’s words run through my mind each time I lace up my running shoes. “Don’t worry, Mom. The first kilometer is the hardest. It gets easier.” My trainers, my family, have loved me through the hard bits and found ways to help me persevere.
A few months after my husband started his running training, I also joined a club. My group involved women from different ages and stages of life getting together a couple of times a month to share stories of how God was working in our lives. I needed to hear from those who have walked through valleys in their faith and have come to the other side and still say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I don’t always run the race of faith well and I get discouraged all too easily. My support group, these women of wisdom, articulate the importance of listening for God, using our eyes to see Him and opening our hearts to understand His Word. Our time of prayer together renews, breathing hope and joy into my life. They are not merely cheerleaders, but coaches who need to say challenging things at times to help growth occur.
A journey of faith requires living in a community that loves, supports and encourages.
Meditate on the powerful words of Hebrews 12:1-3:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Listen for Him.
Look for Him and keep your eyes there when you find Him.
It will reap blessings far more precious than any running medal ever could.