The Journey: Running Mates

The Journey: Running Mates

Some of my best “Ah Ha” moments come through conversations with friends. I have the blessing of knowing some amazing people. People who positively challenge me, encourage me and strengthen me in my journey. I call these people “Running Mates.”

My Running Mates (RM) hold a special place in my life. First, they take the time to know my heart. They learn who I am and how I think. They help me grow because they recognize the identity I have in Christ and are there to encourage me as I step more fully into the person I am and I am becoming.

There was a time when I had no Running Mates. It was a lonely place. In one fell swoop, all those around me I thought were a support network disappeared.

God took me to Proverbs 15:22 “Without advice plans go wrong, but with many advisors they succeed.”

In that moment, I asked God to help me find the people who would take the time to know me as me. I asked for God to surround me with those who would carry different skills and expertise. I did not want people just like me, but I asked for people who were passionate pursuers of God and seekers of Jesus. I wanted people who would commit to having staying power, even when we might hit bumps in the road of our journey. I asked for healthy relationships, free from jealousy, vice and control. I asked for wisdom. But, more importantly, I asked for God to help me recognize who those people were!

It took time. Relationships are not built in a day. But, over the next few years Jesus connected my life to the lives of others who are Running Mates for me. I am not perfect and I have many opportunities for growth…but the grace that connects us allows each one (me included) to look past the surface to the heart beneath. Over time, relationships have opened with people who hold me accountable (in the most positive sense of the word) and have my back. These relationships go a step deeper than casual friendship.

They go to the point of permission to remind each other who we are in Christ and help lift each other up if either of us stumbles, falters or falls. We are all running the race and pressing on to the high calling of Christ, which means we are moving in the clash between two kingdoms. As most of us have realized, moving forward sometimes requires a bit of encouragement as we stretch and grow.

All of my RM have different areas of experience, expertise and gifts they bring to the table. A fabulous myriad of creativity and variety! In place of the original group that went away, God has provided multiples of RMs that I can call friends. The joy is that He continues to bring more. I tap into their lives when I need help in their area of specialization…laughter, wisdom, perspective, joy, encouragement, healing, ministry experience, Biblical expertise, etc. They have an open door to connect with me at any time. And my prayer is that I can be an encouragement for them, as well.

I do not communicate with all of them on a day to day basis…that would be impossible! But I do have on-going conversations with them that seem to pick up where we left off the last time we were together. I am stronger for them. This community of fellowship is a vital part of my growth, consistency and encouragement!

Who are your Running Mates?

(Photo by Chris Raven)