I could have interpreted the support as pressure that I must do well, increasing my fear of failure.
But my friends aren’t like that. They know I’ve not been an athlete. They know I’ve been training. Some of them know the struggle of running 13 miles. Some of them know the struggle of not walking at all. Some of them know the cost of perseverance.
So when they offer support, they are cheering. They are hoping I do as well as I can. They are hoping to strengthen my resolve and to help me fight my fears.
And I respond looking for ways to run more intentionally. In the middle of the race, when I am struggling, I know that there are people who believe in my work more than I do. I know that when I get to the end, I will find family waiting.
There is an image of running in Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Before the “therefore” is several paragraphs of biography. Some are famous Bible people. Some are not. And some are referred to as “others”. All of them demonstrated faithfulness in the face of opportunity and resistence. Each of them is part of a group of people cheering.
I’ve often felt guilty for not measuring up to this crowd. I now see them as friends, cheering on the way, waiting at the finish.