It’s hard to run this race all alone.
I hear the buzzing of my phone in my room, indicating I’ve received a text. I walk over to the antique desk where my phone continues to pulsate against the wood. The distinct golden grain of the oak secretary begins to blur in my vision as I look down at the phone. Picking it up, I read, “You doing okay?” The tears have begun their descent, quick and hard.
The text was from a dear friend, a sister in Christ. She knows the days have been hard. She knows of the internal battle I regularly fight against the lies in my mind and the tears I try so hard to contain.
The phone buzzes again. “What can I do? How can I pray?”
Scripture describes the Christian life in a number of ways–a path, a walk, and a race, to name just a few. I am not a runner, but one thing I’ve observed from watching friends who are: it’s better to not train or run in a race alone.
The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long journey that will challenge our endurance to the very core of our being. The blessing of having brothers and sisters in Christ who can run alongside us is an encouragement that keeps us moving forward.
An athlete who hears the cheers from friends and family in the stands is encouraged to keep going. Uplifting words spoken between teammates can rally a team to work harder. To run this race, we need our sisters in Christ. We need one another to spur us forward. It is essential that we surround ourselves with teammates who know us well.
Because some days, we might just want to drop out of the race all together.
I’m stumbling through the day, wondering if I can make it to bedtime. Feeling weary and heavy in heart, the lies seem to shout even louder, reverberating across the canyons of my mind. Then I hear my phone again. In the next text, she asks if she can take the kids for a while, giving me time alone. She knows me well enough to know just what I need. Since I won’t ask for it, she offers the help and encouragement my heart needs most.
She would have never known what I needed had I not allowed her to see me without my mask. I had to be real and transparent about my battles. I had to reveal my weaknesses and pain.
Sadly, many friendships in the church remain at a superficial level. Our pride keeps us from taking off our mask and stop pretending that we have it all together. We forget that we are all sinners, saved by grace. Not one of us has a better edge on this race than the other.
We need each other.
Have you taken off your mask to a few sisters in Christ? Have you allowed them to see the challenges you face in this race? Will you stop trying to run it alone?
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14