Chrissy Mayer, GFC Temple Terrace 

I run but I do not consider myself a runner. 

I run because someone said it was good for me to get exercise and I figure if I run, as opposed to walk, I can be done sooner and my skin thanks me for the good sweat.

The runners high after ain’t too shabby either!

This past weekend I decided to head out bright and early, before my brain and body could realize it was as muggy as the armpit of a dog in a steambath. Once I turned the corner of the path leading to the trailhead near my home – I soon found an extra pep in my step just as I began to grow weary.

Something God quickly reminded me of that morning is there is a big difference between running alone and running with othersOn any given Saturday morning the trail is rich and vibrant with life and the energy of “one-ness”. So many generations, different stories, different paces, different seasons – yet everyone with a single goal and focus: a commitment to the journey of growth and the pursuit of health.

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us “Let us think of ways to motivate and spur one another on with acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another..”

Yall, we need each other!
You were not created to do life alone!
Find your people…Get in a group…Like now!
We were called to run our own race, YES, but God knew we would need encouragement.

Look for those who need YOUR encouragement.

1 Cor 12:25-26 “This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”

Look for those who are alone.

When I was on the trail I intentionally kept an eye out for others who were alone. It became like a fun game actually! I started to look for those who didn’t come out with anyone else but who were brave enough to show up. I looked to affirm their effort and presence with a simple smile between breaths, a nod and single hand wave and I would watch them perk up. I hoped to communicate, “Hey, great job showing up! I see you! You belong here!” 

Look for those in your same season.

I saw a momma jogging with her babes in a stroller and two more following behind. She looked tired and was struggling. “Wow! You’re are killing it”, I thought to myself. “You’re a boss!”, I shouted as we exchanged glances. Again, I noticed her perk up too.

Look for those who encourage YOU.

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

We tend think of encouragement only in the sense of telling people something that makes them feel good but the definition of the word means to “give support, confidence and to stimulate ones development”. Sometimes encouragement may not always “feel good” but it is necessary if we want to run our race well and persevere.

Look for those who challenge you

We need to search out others with more wisdom and experience. We can learn so much about pace and form from those who have been running far longer. And we must also develop the humility to receive correction. As I was well into the second half of my run that morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me of an instance only a few days before and how quickly I had gotten defensive (when I was nearing the end of my run) and a dear friend (who has been running most of her adult life) pointed out my poor form and how “I was leaning forward too much”, which can result in injury. As I became convicted of my bruised ego, I kept running but worked to correct it. I knew that my friend was only calling me out because she didn’t want me to get hurt and only cared about me “winning!”. She loves me and is for me. When I got home I texted her and thanked her for pointing out something I couldn’t see (when she didn’t have to) and told her I was grateful for her wisdom.

In some seasons finding your people isn’t easy.
Keep showing up.
Sometimes finding a group can be downright scary.
Keep showing up.
Sometimes you’d rather stay home. I get it!
But I can tell you – When you keep showing up you will always be glad you did.
Show up and encourage someone.
Show up and be encouraged.
You can run on your own. Sure. But it is so much more fun to run together! 

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