Yesterday I participated in a new 5K to benefit a local children’s home. This.course.was.TOUGH! It largely consisted of hills, including a long, winding hill up to the finish line at the home.
Thankfully my friends and I had gotten the race route ahead of time and did a trial walk of it the previous Saturday, so we already knew what to expect. As race time approached yesterday part of me wished that I didn’t know what was in store for me–sometimes ignorance is bliss, right?–but I think that knowing in advance that we’d have to encounter some pretty steep climbs helped psych us up for the race. I can’t say that knowing what the route held in store ahead of time made the race any easier, but maybe it gave us some added mental toughness to help get through. I’m proud to say that, despite the challenging course, I actually posted my best race time to date!
After the race I thought of how that can relate to my spiritual life. Similar to the 5K, knowing that I’ll have some steep hills to climb in life may not make those hills any easier to climb, but I think it helps me to run with endurance, knowing that at some point those mammoth hills peak and I don’t have to constantly climb. I also know that the leveled off times don’t last forever either; eventually there will be another challenge to face, another hill to climb. I’m learning to pace myself and enjoy the “easy” times while they last but also prepare for challenges ahead.
One more lesson from yesterday: the race is so much easier to run when you’ve got people cheering you on. At several points along the route there were volunteers giving words of encouragement and high fives. On that last steep hill up to the children’s home many of the children living there stood along the driveway and cheered for us. There were other people, mostly runners who’d already completed the race, standing at the finish line and cheering for us as we crossed the line.
I can’t imagine the difficulty of running a race (literally or metaphorically) without some cheerleaders along the way. That thought challenges me to be more thankful for the cheerleaders that God has put in my life, and also to seek ways that I can cheer on those around me.