I recently completed my 6th Tough Mudder in as many years. A Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacles course with 20-25 obstacles and plenty of mud. They intentionally implement several obstacles that cannot be completed without the help of others.
The first year I ran was on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. For me, this had great meaning and I was amazed at how much further I could push my body when I was running in honor of my friends. But that wasn’t what impacted me the most.
Before you begin everyone raises their right hand and states:
As a Tough Mudder, I pledge that…
- I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
- I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
- I do not whine – kids whine.
- I help my fellow mudders complete the course.
- I overcome all fears.
I thought it was a fun little thing they say before the course, but I had no idea what would happen next. Throughout the Mudder, strangers helped me without hesitation. They gave me a boost over a wall, pulled me up over the edge of a half-pipe, eagerly allowed me to stand on their shoulders so I could reach a tall ledge, and continually encouraged me.
I had no idea who they were. They didn’t know my name. The only thing we had in common was we were all in this journey together striving for the same goal—to get to the finish line.
I walked away from my first Tough Mudder struck by the way mudders acted on the course. If every Christian acted the way they did, our world would be transformed!
All of us are on the same path and journey, but we’re not always helping each other to get there. Why not?! I think part of the benefit of the Tough Mudder course is that you’re thrown so far out of your element of comfort that talking to a stranger, giving someone a boost, or receiving a helping hand becomes easier since there’s no way to complete the course on your own, nor should you. So why do we sometimes strive to get to heaven on our own?
Become a Christian Mudder!
- pray not just for those who are struggling, but with them and over them!
- invite others to join you in prayer (before meals, in adoration, before a meeting/test)
- ask strangers how they’re doing, then stop and genuinely listen to the answers
If every Christian acted the way they did, our world would be transformed!
Supporting Each Other
My most recent Mudder had 14 volunteers from my youth ministry running it with me – most of them had no idea what they were in for (bwaa-aah-aah).
After we all survived, someone asked how we encountered God throughout the day. There of course, were minor miracles such as when Nikki, who wore contacts, got mud in her eye and couldn’t see. The medical team had nothing to help, but someone who overheard came running over and asked if we needed saline. This mudder was dirty, wet, and covered in mud, but they had a clean bottle of saline for this very reason.
My Muddy Buddy
As I reflected on the day, I couldn’t pin point one specific God-moment, until I realized that God the Father was constantly impressing upon me the Truth of who He is throughout the entire day. You see, our team (The Blessed Mudders) was so large that I was worried we’d lose someone so I had everyone buddy up. My “muddy buddy” happened to be someone who was way more fit than myself. Despite the fact that he was stronger, faster, and had greater endurance, I never felt like a burden to him. He continually, and joyfully, adjusted his pace to mine. It never felt like I was holding him back. He pushed me to take on heavier and harder challenges (i.e. the giant log carry which, for most people, was a small log carry) that I ever thought I could accomplish and also helped me make it through. He let me lean on him for help when I was hurting and struggling. We carried on conversation, and he continually checked on me with a smile by asking, “Buddy?! Just checkin’!” He was so joyful to simply be alongside me on this journey. Thanks muddy buddy!!!
This is exactly how God is with us. We never weigh Him down. He doesn’t get frustrated or disappointed in our pace. He encourages us in times that we’re unsure and helps us to accomplish things beyond our imagination. God helps carry us in difficult and painful times. And He is so full of joy when we simply invite Him to be on this journey with us. How is God journeying with you right now?
Conquer a Fear Today
There’s several times throughout the course that you have to conquer certain fears (claustrophobia, fear of heights, etc.). And this is intentional. Too often in life, we get caught in our comfort zones. So I want to challenge you to do something that you’re afraid of. Conquer a fear! The last fear I conquered before the Tough Mudder was introducing myself and talking to a teen I didn’t know. (Yeah, I’m a youth minister that still experiences social anxiety.)
- meet someone new
- give a talk
- reach out to someone you don’t know
- pray in public
- invite in the Holy Spirit and ask Him to give you the courage to conquer a fear!