“Can you run from the corner of this building to the other end of the parking lot?”
“Can you run down the hill through this shady spot?”
“Can you run from this yellow post to the next one?”
These were just a few of the questions my friend was yelling back at me as we tried to complete our first 5K. In the past we had only walked the miles, but for this one, a fund raiser for the East Kentucky Veteran’s Center, we decided to run the 3.1 miles that make up a 5K race.
For reasons that were entirely our fault (thanks Wal-Mart scented pumpkin wax), we arrived at the race just as all the runners went speeding by. Trying to get to the registration table without laughing, we spent the first few seconds looking for our packets, and then pinning our numbers to our chest. We then had to take off running to try and catch up with the others.
For someone who hadn’t run since high school track, I have to admit I was struggling early on. Luckily though, I had a great running partner who consistantly cheered me on from start to finish. Every time I stopped to walk, she would yell encouragement to keep me moving forward. “You’re doing great!” she said, even though my lungs were burning and my calves felt like they were going to explode. “You’ve got this!” she called out, when all I wanted to do was crawl off to the side of the road and die. “I’m so proud of you!” she said when I crossed the finish line, after summoning the last bit of energy I needed to follow her direction, and keep pressing ahead.
I’m happy to report that both of us finished the race with no injuries, and as I’ve thought about this event in the weeks that followed, I couldn’t help but picture how this experience should mirror our lives. Each of us has been assigned a race to run. We are in control of how we run it…the things we say, the things we do…but at the same time we should surround ourselves with people who are constantly building us up. People who want the very best for us. People who take the time out of their own race to turn around and yell, “You’re doing great! You’ve got this! I’m so proud of you!”
We have the free will to choose the people we want most by our sides, but we need be extra careful with who we pick. The beauty of it…it’s not limited to just one or two people. There are many areas of our lives where we need multiple cheerleaders. We need to find the ones who have our best interests at heart…those who cheer not just when good things happen, but who are there when we’re left standing in the ruins. Most of all, we should pick the ones who are willing to slow down and sacrifice first place so we can have second, or third…or the ones who are willing to cross the finish line with us in last place.
I’m very thankful for the people God has graced my life with, and while reading this, I’m sure you’ve thought of your own. I’d love for you to share this with them…share it with the ones who encourage and cheer you on…the ones you couldn’t do life without. Please consider sharing it on their wall with a short note attached thanking them, or forwarding it in an email. God bless you for reading, and for sharing life with me.
Photos © 2016 Salina T Gibson
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