So we've been talking in this new church I go to about something called "Running Partners". It's kind of a literal term but also kind of not. Less sweating in Lycra and more lattes and conversation.
The term Running Partners has been used here to refer to a small group of people, between two and five, who intentionally meet on a regular basis to help one another to grow and be fruitful.
It's a Christian idea in principle so we talked about supporting each other by praying together and for one another. This includes following up on those prayers and seeing and celebrating the work God has done. We talked about accountability, but not in a way that makes you feel as though you're being judged or held hostage for your actions. But if you're anything like me, often having a ton of ideas at any given time but without the drive or focus to get it done; your running partners can check up on you and remind you of and encourage you in that dream.
I LOVED hearing about this. I think so often, the people in our lives who fulfil that role of "Running Partners" are our friends. And for the most part that's a good thing because our friends love us and want the best for us, right? But I've learned that sometimes we can keep people in our lives for far longer than they should be simply because they have been there so long they become familiar. Most people who have long-term friends have good relationships with them but sometimes relationships can go sour and when that happens, letting them stay close to us and our hopes, dreams and desires can be detrimental. Especially if they don't necessarily want the best for us.
Having said that, most of us will also have really good, amazing friends that would do anything for us. The ride or die type. But they may be short sighted when it comes to helping us realise what's best for us rather than what we profess to want. No one likes to be the bad guy and it can be hard to hear from your friends that there might be another way to do something. Or they might be more inclined to ignore that habit we've repeatedly said we want to quit. That doesn't make them (or us) bad friends, but it does make them (or us) bad running partners.
The interesting thing I discovered about running partners is that you don't even have to be friends with them! They can be so totally different to you and you may not have anything in common. The only pre-requisite is that you find someone who is open and warm to you, then stay with them. The recommendation is that you build a group of more than two so it doesn't become too dependent and also that you put a time frame on the relationship. A month, six months, a year - whatever it takes. You spend time together, get to know each other, build each other up, learn from each other, grow together and then you keep it moving and do the same with a completely different group!
If you became friends with your running partners during the process that's cool too you just carry on with that friendship! But being running partners is different. It's a commitment, an intentional relationship and it's a responsibility. You don't get to drop it when you feel like it, and you do have to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I haven't tried this yet but I'm excited about the idea. I feel like everyone should get in on it! If I could choose my running partner I would probably choose Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Dolly Parton. What a cross section of support, love and life experiences I'd get from that! Amazing.
PS: You can totally run together if that's your thing, I'm just saying it's not an actual requirement.