“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
It is easier to run alone, rather than run in a group. Running with others means keeping pace with those around you. Not so fast that you outpace the slower ones, and not so slow that you slow down the group. There are many who simply prefer running without the ‘constraints’ of others. Consider these:
- Timing, learning the right stride so you won’t collide
- Hydration, staying healthy
- Muscle cramps, managing the pain
- Encouragement, for those who are weary or limp
- Finish line, keep everyone’s eyes on the final outcome
Perhaps this all seems difficult. To be consistent in this kind of running is far too restrictive. It seems more difficult than running alone; there are far too many issues. And yet, I have determined that running with others has its own rewards.
We were never meant to be alone— solitary persons. We were created to engage the personalities of others. We must either slow down or speed up to keep the cohesion of everyone. We may want to speed up the pace a little bit. But if we do, it would mean the separation of the slower runners. But we are meant to run with others.
We will make these decisions on the spur of the ‘racing’ moment. Yet they determine everything. Will I curtail my desire to win, without you? Can I stand at the ‘winners line’ confidently after leaving you far behind?
We belong together. We simply can’t run solo anymore. Mental illness (as well as a physical illness) has a strong tendency to isolate. We find ourselves alone, far more than what is healthy. We make excuses, far more than is appropriate. We determine to advance, or to just ‘give up’ without affecting the other runners.
At times we must ‘gear down’ if we are to run with others. We must stop thinking ‘me’ and start thinking ‘you’. This so militates against our personal preferences. We don’t want to give up our own quest for glory. We still ascribe to the virtue of the ‘first gets the best.’ But at other times an inner voice insists we must speed up to keep the pace.
Yet there is nothing in the scriptures about ‘going it alone.’ There is nothing that would suggest this. Yes, there are individuals, and yes they stand out. But the glacial mass is toward a corporate understanding of the truth– that we will arrive together (carrying one another into Church.)
I would simply suggest that we become aware of our brother and sister who are trying to run next to us. They are working so hard to keep pace. Some even limp trying to keep up. We can’t ‘blow them off.’ We realize that we’re linked with them. We can’t turn away from that. When we do cross the finish line, it will be together.
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27