I ran my third half marathon this past December. Let me be really honest with you all… I’m not one of those runners who ENJOYS running. It’s hard at times and can be oh, so painful. Some of my friends who train with me run faster than me, so at times I can get discouraged.
I get tired.
I wonder if the sacrifice is worth it.
But the affects of the run are what encourage me to go out time after time.
This race was different though…
A few days before, I caught a stomach bug… and not just any old stomach bug. Ohhh no, the worst one I had ever had. I will spare you all the gory details, but let’s just say I was REALLY sick.
But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Ohhh no… I had paid to run in that race. I had made a commitment to run it, and I was going to follow through. So even though my body wasn’t 100% back to normal, I entered the race anyway…
And in mile 8 of 13.5, my body started rebelling.
But I wasn’t alone in my race. The friends who I had trained with were running right beside me. We trained as a team and so we raced as a team.
Our own little racing community.
And during my race I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit. But they wouldn’t let me. They stayed with me through the pain; through the exhausted legs that didn’t believe they could take another step.
I told them to run ahead of me.
I didn’t want to slow them down. To hold them back.
I made excuses.
But no matter what I said or how I pleaded – how I really wanted to run that race alone -they wouldn’t leave my side.
Then in mile 10 he showed up.
My husband, who had already run the race in his heat….came back for me to help me finish my race. Seriously, I’m not making this up!
And so I was passed from my friends to my husband…..always surrounded by someone who loved and cared for me along the way.
We ran the final 3.5 miles together, and it wasn’t pretty. And I wondered those last few miles why I do this to myself…
But along the journey, this amazing husband of mine told me stories to help take my mind off of the pain I was feeling and to distract me from my desire to quit.
I needed my friends and my husband to help me run that race. It wasn’t my best race. The journey was hard, but they helped me endure it. Step by step… they helped me finish the race.
Aren’t we all called to do that with those in our lives?
We are not made to do life alone.
Though you might not be a runner, we are all in a race…
“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.“- Hebrews 12: 1-3
And we ALL need others in our lives to help us focus on the finish line…fixing our eyes on Jesus. We need encouragers to help us get through those hard times. We need friends who are willing to stay in the race with us even when we tell them to go on without us. We need to be honest in life and let friends and family know when we are hurting and wanting to quit. We need friends who are willing to journey with us….even when it’s not pretty.
When the test results come back and we have cancer…
When he files for divorce and wants out…
When our children are rebelling and we need a ray of hope…
We need each other.
We need community with God and with others.
We were made for it.
And though none of us are perfect…..two are better than one.
Oh friends, how we need to live this truth out in our lives. Let’s not let another day pass without compassionately reaching out to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors….women and men whom God has strategically placed in our everyday lives.
*Let’s Talk: What are some ways that we can help promote community in our everyday lives and bring glory to God in the process? What is holding you back from reaching out and participating more in the community God has placed you in? For those of you who are craving more community in your lives…what can other women do to help include you?
I can’t wait to hear your responses!
Love God Greatly!