“Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” hebrews fourteen:one
The date was August 22nd. That Tuesday featured a partner WOD AMRAP for 19 minutes. 250m row, 10 box jumps, and 12 back squats at 115 pounds. I partnered up with one of the Crossfit Kindle athletes named Jim. Jim works hard and works steady, and today was no different. We didn’t come close to topping the whiteboard that day, but we pushed through the grind of the exhaustingly long Metcon. We were drained by the end of it, but we were proud of the 7 rounds plus 4 reps that we managed to get through.
After the oxygen started flowing back to our brains, we began to have a chat about our experience together. We both agreed that there were maximum levels of suck involved with such a long work out. As we debriefed, our conversation began to turn toward the thought of doing something like that alone. The thought of doing constantly working for 19 minutes by yourself was daunting. Half joking, but mostly serious, I told him that if it weren’t for the people around me, I would’ve walked out as soon as it got hard. If it were at any other gym, quitting, slowing down, or cheating reps would have been far too easy. Besides, the last gym I was at before joining at Crossfit Kindle had a killer smoothie bar. I would’ve too quickly traded a tasty chocolate peanut butter protein smoothie for a grueling work out. But something kept me from quitting that day. It was like there was this tether around my waist that wouldn’t allow me to walk out. There have been days during solo work outs at the box that I had half a mind to grab my keys and leave, but something kept me there.
This mysterious force isn’t so mysterious though. In fact it is often commented on being the very reason why people love Crossfit so much. It comes down to the community around you. Jim and I talked about how having someone there in the midst of the grind caused us to push harder, longer, and with more intensity than if we tried doing it solo. Not only that, but when you pull up the whiteboard, you see that others have made it through the other side. There is a unique confidence that is stirred when you endure something with someone by your side, and as others who have gone before you are cheering you along.
My talk with Jim got me thinking about a Christian’s walk with Christ, and the struggles that come along the way. It’s true that as trials arise, it is so much easier for us to endure through when we have a solid community around us. People who won’t let you quit. People who will follow after you if you decide to walk out the door. People who are there to offer encouragement as your pace slows. We need those people in our lives to hold us accountable to staying the course that is laid out before us. Too often have I personally felt the temptation to call it quits, in both a WOD and my life. But I know that there are far too many people in my life who won’t let me throw in towel in either arena.
The ultimate peace for suffering through a trial can be found in Hebrews 4:14 & 15. The author of Hebrews writes, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
Think about it. We can hold on to what we believe in because Jesus has been there, done that, and conquered it. His conquest was not limited. He overcame every temptation. He knows what you are going through. He knows every aspect of temptation and suffering that will come your way. He will guide you through it, and He will see you through to victory. But you have to press on with Him. He will give you all that you need to make it to the end, except the decision to do so. He will allow you to choose that for yourself, and He will be ready to take your hand through the thick of it.
Not only will He get you through to the end, He has placed people in your life to be the audible voice of encouragement and guidance. People who have been through it themselves. These people know the hopelessness that life may bring, but they have also seen the power of faith played out in their lives. They have been through to the other side, and know that the other side exists. These people will help you along the way, keep you accountable to moving forward and help you endure till the end.
There is something incredible that happens when people who have a common goal get around each other to see that the finish line is crossed. Surround yourself with people who will not let you quit, whether spiritually or physically. These people are invaluable to you. One day, they too will need encouragement, and you will be there to push them as they once pushed you. As it says in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Press on as and because others before you have pressed on themselves.