Last year my buddy Matt Smith and I trained together to run the half marathon in The OKC Memorial. It was such a great experience for us to struggle together, grow together, and finish the race!
At the beginning of the year Matt and I decided to invite some other folks to join us on Saturdays for what has become known as The Run/Walk K-Group. It has been such an awesome experience to see folks of all ages come together on Saturday morning to run, walk, and pray together. Some had never exercised in the past and others had…it didn’t matter. We came together to encourage one another, pray together, and go a little further then we did last week. Some had a goal to participate in this year’s Memorial Marathon in some way, others had a goal to walk or run in a 5K, while still others had a goal to stick with the K-Group for the whole semester.
On Saturday afternoon, the group that would participate in The Memorial met at The Olive Garden for “Pasta and Prayer.” Everyone was so excited for the race and a little nervous about the weather. Matt and I would run the half and Karen Bradford, Kim Brown, Jennie Rosch, Kimberly Smith, and Lacey Fisher would run the relay.
On Sunday morning the weather was horrible and it was questionable if the race would even happen. Once we got the go ahead the streets filled with 26,000 runners and walkers from 48 states and 7 different countries! The rain cleared and the humidity was oppressive, but the people who came to run were amazing! I wasn’t 2 miles into the race when a runner came alongside of me and said, “Great job buddy! You’re looking like a champ!” I didn’t know the man, but his encouragement caused me to pick up my pace. Over and over again, throughout the race, encouragement came from men, women, spectators, and traffic cops directing traffic. “You’re looking good!” “You’re looking strong!” “Only 3 more miles to go!” “You’re almost there!” “You’ve got this!” I didn’t “feel” what others were saying to me, but their words had a profound impact on me! Their words had such a profound impact on me that I began to find people who needed encouragement and say to them what others were saying to me!
The encouragement I received led me to think about all of those who are struggling with things far more treacherous and challenging than a run. There are folks all around us who are struggling with depression, anxiety about their health, divorce, a myriad of addictions, hopelessness, the loss of a loved one, and so much more. How different would their lives be if we took the time to encourage them like those who took the time to encourage me on Sunday?
In Ephesians 4:32, Paul told the followers of Jesus, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I’m going to put that verse to use today. I’m going to find someone who needs some encouragement and say, “You can make it!” I hope you will join me.
In His Steps,