Just get back up. It’s time to run again.
In my sophomore year of college I woke up late for my basketball team’s 6:00 am mile run. Yep, I slept right through my alarm and rolled over in the comfort of my bed as my teammates ran the mile early in the morning. I awoke to the sound of a knock on my door. It was more like a banging. My eyes opened. I suddenly realized where I was supposed to be and it hit me like sirens going off in my head. I ran to open the door to see who was banging and it was my head coach.
Lap 1 – Disappointment and Failure
For a split second, my heart stopped. For a split second, which seemed like an eternity, we stared at each other. With my hand still on the door handle and my eyes locking eyes with my coach, I did what every normal person would have done… in panic mode, I slammed the door back shut. Then I proceeded to run to my bathroom to try to figure out what just happened. I heard my coach come in and she followed to check on me. Disappointment was an understatement. Can you imagine the humiliation I also felt by shutting the door in my coach’s face?! I thought the worse…”I’m off the team, I’m packing my bags.” However, in the most understanding way, she simply told me to get dressed for the run and head over to the track.
When I arrived at the track, all of my teammates were still there; finished with their timed run…waiting on me. Now this whole being late thing was not normal for me. In fact, I was one of the captains of the team, so when I did not show, there was genuine concern of my whereabouts. I felt horrible, like a total let-down in that moment I came on the scene. I thought to myself, how could my teammates trust me now?
So, I stretched and stepped up to the line…alone. My coach had a timer in her hand and told me to go when I was ready. I took off. I had so much adrenaline built up in me from all of my emotions. My first lap was faster than my natural pace. Lap 2 came around and I was already tired, and I noticed I probably used up all my juice on that first lap. Then the most interesting thing happened…
Lap 2 – They’re Cheering You On – It’s Time to Run Again
I heard the sound of my teammates cheering me on to finish. Mind you they already finished their race. Yet, two teammates joined me on the second lap and my energy picked up. My determination increased. My wind came back. Lap 3 came around and other teammates joined me, and the cheers got louder. By the time I was on my last lap, every one of my teammates had ran with me. I was running fast to the finish line, not because I had it in me, but because my teammates were pushing me strong to the end.
I will never forget the power of teamwork and love in that moment of my life. Before I even started and finished my race, I was defeated, tired, and late. Yet, I had a coach to love me in that moment and extend grace to my mistake. I had teammates who went before me and cheered me on to the finish line.
Life will often happen the same way. We mess up. We get tired. Our faith will get weak. Hope seems lost. We feel as though we let so many people down. Yet, scripture says that we have a cheering section ready to inspire and motivate us to the finish line. They did it. Most importantly, Christ is our Coach who generously extends grace so we can get up again.
Lap 3 – NEVER GIVE UP!
Sometimes we win because we have strength to finish on our own. Other times we win because of who’s watching us. You’re not alone. You have teammates cheering you on!
I absolutely love the message translation of Hebrews 12:1-3. It states, “Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish is and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that longs litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls.”
Hebrews 12:1 also talks about the weights and sins in our lives that can slow us down and get us off track. What are the weights you need to lay aside to be the champion you need to be? It’s a daily struggle to lay aside the sin in our lives and live as the champion in Christ that we are. Paul in Romans 8 speaks about this internal battle we have that we as Christians struggle with. However, in the very next chapter we get clarity that we are winners, even if we don’t feel like it.
Lap 4 – Victorious – It’s Time to Run Again!
We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37) and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because He has set us free from the law of sin and death (v.1-2). So, when your faith gets tired and your hope seems lost, remember that you are not alone in your struggles. You have a group cheering you on to the finish line because they know you can make it. Christ already won. There’s a champion, fighter, builder, and thinker in you! Get focused again and push yourself to the limit! In Him we are winners and, in our weakness, He is made strong. Never give up, just simply get back up because it’s time to run again!