Have you ever been asked to do something, said yes, and then within 10 seconds wondered why you said yes? This was one of those times. My wonderful sister-in-law called and asked me to participate in a 5k with some obstacles. She made it sound fun. Then I looked at the website and questioned my sanity. This was no ordinary 5K. It was the Warrior Dash and I had never run more than a mile-ever. So I recruited friends and family to join in the “fun.” Misery loves company-right? My sister, several nieces, other family members and friends all said yes to the challenge.
This was going to encourage me to train. I set the goal of being able to run 3 miles before the race. I began increasing my workouts. April came and in Minnesota it means you can go outside again, so I went for my first official run. My expectations were not very high. I am not built for speed. I had my new running app and music loaded on my phone. Off I went. Much to my surprise I was able to run 2.5 miles without stopping. My training was working and my confidence was building. I have this. I can do this.
Then race day finally arrived. We had all decided we would go for it and see what happens. Secretly, I wanted to beat my sister, but other than that I just wanted to finish. We arrived and received our numbers and timing chips. At some point we got a look at the small mountain we had to run up at the start of the race. We were starting at the bottom of a very large ski slope. There went my confidence. I went straight into survival mode.
My friend Karen said she would run with me. We would stick together through the race. Now mind you, she is in much better shape than me. I didn’t want to hold her back and I didn’t want to frustrate her with my lack of athletic ability. She never left me. I would tell her to go for it and that she didn’t have to wait for me. She never gave up on me. There were many times I thought I was done and walking the rest of it. Instead, because of her encouragement, I ran more than I thought I could, I succeeded at the obstacles and finished full of mud and proud of my accomplishment. I was so grateful that she stuck with me.
We aren’t meant to do this life alone and yet so often that is what we do.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
A little encouragement goes a long way when the road is rough. We can do simple, little gestures that make a huge impact. Kathy, with Best Life Ministries, has a gift for sending notes of encouragement through email or Facebook that instantly lift my spirits. As we begin to clean our inner house, it can feel daunting and scary. It’s much easier to take that first step when there is someone in our corner cheering us on.
Let me encourage you: taking that first step will begin a life change. You will never regret it. Imagine how free you will feel when anger has lifted, when you finally believe you are worth it, or when you forgive. You are worth it. Take that step.
Let’s do what we can to encourage one another starting today, starting right here. What have others done for you that is encouraging? How do you encourage others?
Oh, and by the way, I did beat my sister :0)