I’m not a runner. The thought of it makes tears well up in my eyes and my hands reach for the chocolate. It’s not easy for me, it’s not relaxing, and it’s not fun. I’ve done my share of 5ks and until this weekend, I’ve pretty much hated every second of all of them. I’m not inspired by Bible verses to “run with endurance” (well, I am – just not when it comes to physical activity) or witty quotes about not giving up.
It’s because I’m not a competitive person, and I don’t do well at races. Although I don’t have a strong desire to win, I’m also completely terrified of coming in last and looking like a fool. I don’t like the idea that someone is trying to beat me, or that I’m supposed to push myself to out-run someone else.
I also don’t like group games like charades but that’s probably a different post.
This weekend we did our second Color Run, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. And it wasn’t because it was easy. In fact (and I’m so glad I didn’t know this beforehand) the course is considered the hardest cross country course in our state. They hold state and national championships at it. And the three of us in our homemade glitter tutus and temporary tattoos jumped in fearlessly – because we didn’t know what we were doing was supposed to be a challenge.
We Zumba’d, we selfied, we participated in possibly the worst version of the National Anthem I’ve ever heard (bless it) and off we went. The three of us, side-by-side, walking and laughing and scheming the best ways to get covered in the most color. Our only goal: have fun.
We took turns cheering one another on up steep hill after steep hill, checking in to make sure we had enough water, stopping for photo ops and pushing ourselves just a little harder than we would have on our own. And at the end, we decided to jog to the finish together because we knew we could – and we did. We proudly wore our finisher medals, took even more photos, walked through leaf blowers (to get the color off) and stood shamelessly in the parking lot with a container of baby wipes, laughing as we tried to remove the color and the glitter from everywhere.
And I loved it. Because we never competed with each other, we were stronger together. There is something beautiful that happens when women come along side you and do hard things with you. It’s a feeling of collaboration, where gifts are used to their fullest and you pull out the best in one another.
Isn’t that what the Kingdom should be like? As we each discover our “thing,” shouldn’t we be seeking women we can come alongside and collaborate with – instead of competing? Because my gift alone might be good – but our gifts together will be great.
Run, walk, dance, or skip through your race, friends. But don’t do it alone.