Over the few years that I have been running, I’ve discovered that, for the most part, the running community is very supportive of and friendly to their fellow runners. People wave, say hello, and give encouragement. I remember mile 14 of an 18 miler last August, when a man passed me quite easily. As he passed he did so by sharing words of encouragement, telling me, “good job! you’re almost there! keep it up!”
Unfortunately everyone we encounter in life is not so encouraging, or helpful. So a week or so later I was on mile 6 of a 10 mile run (its amazing that I can remember these things!). This happened to be my last run of a 42 mile week, so I was on mile 38 for the week. I was going up a small hill and feeling pretty good, when some man on a bicycle passed. As he passed he looked over and said, “trying to muster up some discipline?” I replied, “No! I have it.” But as I continued my run I was very annoyed.
It’s amazing how that incredibly rude and annoying question has stayed with me all these months. Maybe its a testament to how we sometimes allow space in our minds for the naysayers. It could be that. But it could also be that since encountering that rude man on the trail, I have noticed so many ways discipline is important in our lives. I’ve also been inspired by the discipline that I’ve seen in others.
I can say that this year I truly became a runner. I say truly because although I’ve run for about 4 years, I never felt as confident or disciplined as I do now. What changed you might wonder? First was joining a running club (such supportive people!), having a plan prepared by a real live coach, deciding that I needed to eat better, and having fun along the way.
Upon reflection, it is very difficult to be disciplined all alone. We need each other, we need to the support, and we need the accountability. This is not just true in running, but in life in general. So, if you are feeling the nudge towards attempting some great task, find a group of like minded people to help you. You’ll find that it will be much easier to accomplish.
This is true also in our faith lives. In our individualistic culture we sometimes think of faith as a relationship “between me and Jesus.” The reality is that to thrive in our faith lives we need one another. We need the encouragement and accountability that gathering together brings. It is when we journey together that we have the opportunities to encourage one another, pray for one another, serve together, and grow together…all as we become more disciplined.
What about you? How have you grown in discipline? What challenges do you face? How have you been helped? Who has inspired you?