Last year, in August, I committed to becoming a runner again. I used to run, when I was younger. Then I got busy – and lazy about taking care of myself. So I started with the Couch to 5km program. When I got up to 5km, I committed to running at least three days a week. I ran all year. This was really good for me. REALLY good, in so many ways…
Then summer came again. It rained all summer. And it’s HOT in Florida. I went on vacation for several weeks. I had not run in more than one month. The time came when I knew I had to run again. So I opted to run on the treadmill at the gym. Day One I came back and finished 5km but it was UGLY. It hurt. I thought I was going to pass out. But I was proud of myself for doing it.
I was afraid of Day Two. Now my legs were sore.
When I arrived at the gym there were several old men walking on treadmills at one end of the row. On the other end of the row, Mr. Fitness was whipping out 7 minute miles. I went for the middle, which was empty. But then the television on my treadmill didn’t work. I’m way too ADHD to run for 30 minutes on a treadmill without a television, so I moved down one, toward Mr. Fitness. That television was out too. Then I found myself next to Mr. Fitness.
It’s kind of embarrassing to run slowly next to someone who is running so fast, so I cranked up the speed to what I thought I could tolerate. Maybe a little bit faster than normal… because Mr. Fitness was going so fast. And I ran. I ran. And I ran. I thought about walking, but my pride was stronger. I kept running.
Mr. Fitness finished his workout about the same time as me. Guess what?
I ran one of the fastest 5km times I have run all year. Even after a month of slacking off. Just because I was next to Mr. Fitness.
We are affected by our environment.
This is true in our physical AND spiritual lives.
He who walks with the wise grows wise. – Proverbs 3:20
John Maxwell writes about A Growing Community, “If your current circumstances do nothing to help you grow, you’re going to have a hard time enlarging yourself to reach your potential. That’s why it’s crucial that you create an environment of growth around you. That kind of place should look like this:
1. Others are ahead of you.
2. You are still challenged.
3. Your focus is forward.
4. The atmosphere is affirming.
5. You are out of your comfort zone.
6. Others are growing.
7. There is a willingness to change.
8. Growth is modeled and expected.”*
Surround yourself with others who are growing and will challenge you – in your spiritual walk and in all of life! You will be surprised at all the good things that will come out of it!
* John Maxwell, A Leader’s Heart Devotional , 8/15.