She offered me her bike one day so that we could go cycling together. I was elated because I had been praying for a bicycle for months and now she was offering one of hers for my use AND a chance to ride with a friend. That was the start of a new friendship.
Every Friday we started riding together. Sometimes there were 3 or 4 of us gals and we had a blast! Newville, PA may be small, but it offers a wonderful bike trail right near my house. I was enjoying this new friend and our exercise times together at 6:00 in the mornings, until.....
I got a text asking if I wanted to run together in the morning. That was different. I'm new to long distance running and I feel very shy about it. It's taken me all summer to build up enough endurance to run 35 minutes without stopping. I knew that she has been running a long time and is much more experienced.
I had so many fears, would I be able to keep up? Would I slow her down? What if she wanted to talk and expected me to participate? I can barely breathe, let alone talk!
I sweat buckets of rain when I run and I really didn't want her to see that.
It reminded of an experience years ago at a gym. I was getting tired of a young college guy who kept coming in and asking me if I wanted the fan on (it was mounted above us on the wall and I had turned it on earlier). The mean side of me wanted to say "no, I just have it on to bug you - I really don't want the fan on, I just turn it on out of obligation". Then I pictured myself yelling...OF COURSE I WANT THE FAN ON!" But I merely said, yes...I want the fan on.
After this kept happening, I went to the girl in charge at the gym and mentioned this to her. She told me men don't want the fan on because they WANT to sweat - thinking they will lose more weight if they sweat. If that's the case, I should be the size of a petite toothpick. I have them all beat with the way I sweat......so I didn't really relish running with a friend.
At first, I said, no. But since I'm already living on the edge with the big winter concert I'm planning, why not just keep trying new things in other areas of my life and be adventurous, I thought to myself. So I said, "sure - why not".
So I found myself running with a friend. I finally told her halfway through that I felt like I was going to die and asked if that was normal. Her hesitation made me nervous. But once she knew how I was feeling, she gave me some pointers. And they helped!
Immediately I thought about how much this experience felt like my walk with the Holy Spirit. He has been given to us to help us on our journey. We get shy about letting Him be a part of it sometimes because He will see and know everything embarrassing about us. But if we listen closely, He will give us tips along the way to help.
For instance, recently I was beginning to feel like my Portraits of White concert dream was becoming an avalanche, about to snow me under. One day I felt a gentle whisper: "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit" and with it came a sense of peace. I latched on to that and have been quoting it over and over to myself when I start feeling overwhelmed.
I smiled as I said to my new friend running easily beside me. You remind me of the Holy Spirit. Someone to run along side of us and help sustain us.
I lived through that run and here I am writing about it.
You may not be able to see the runner beside you, but He is there. Listen for Him. Respond to Him. He's not only beside you, He is INSIDE you.
What do you have in front of you that requires strength and power that you don't have? Ask for the Spirit to help you!