There is a joke around the internet: How can you tell if someone does CrossFit? You don’t have to. They’ll tell you.
As someone who is a part of this community, I can tell you that is true. (See, I’m doing it right now!)
But there is a lot we can learn from this fitness community, and it’s not necessarily how to do burpees or deadlifts.
In August of every year, the ultimate competition occurs, called the CrossFit Games, where the top 10% of CrossFit athletes compete for the title “Fittest on Earth.”
It’s fun to watch these games for a variety of reasons.
Just like the Olympics, it’s inspiring to watch talented people give their all. In an age of social media, you can follow your favorite athletes and see the work they put in all year round. So that when they show up on the screen, you can root for them in very specific ways.
At the Games, just like in CrossFit gyms across the country, every person in every place on the leaderboard is cheered for.
A few of my favorite moments from the past few years have included emotional, last-place finishes.
In 2022, a workout named the “Capitol” concluded with a 200-meter “Husafell carry” up the steps of the Madison, Wisconsin capitol building. After completing an already rigorous workout, athletes had to carry a 150-200 pound, stone-shaped bag up the steps. It was hard, and you could tell.
The athletes were required to finish the workout and after everyone had finished, there was one lone competitor, a girl named Rebecca. The footage of the event is extremely moving. She is putting in all her effort, and the entire crowd has surrounded her, cheering her on. She made it to the top and finished in last place. When interviewed about it afterward, she said, “The one-of-a-kind CrossFit community gives you superpowers. This is definitely the coolest moment of my career.”
The coolest moment of her career was a very public, last-place finish.
My point in all of this is what if we, the church, could be more like that CrossFit community, cheering each other on as we race toward fullness in Christ?
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “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.”
We are all running our races toward Jesus. Let us encourage each other in the moments where sin entangles us, and the inevitable hindrances come to try to choke us out. When the race seems long, and our legs grow weary, may we surround each other and, taking the word literally, put courage into our fellow believers.
Let us celebrate each other’s wins, and spurn each other on toward growth and maturity, knowing that our words have power and that we are meant to live in community with one another. In the moments when the race feels like too much, I pray that we all have a safe space to go to find the ones who will cheer us on.Steal this prayer:
God, you have set my race before me. Help me to run with endurance, and help me to run alongside a community that will keep me going when the course gets tough and I feel tired. Help me to cheer others on and be honest with my community when I need help. Amen.
Tory Vore is a writer, communicator, and small group leader with a passion for discipleship and the local church. She writes about motherhood, womanhood, and friendship, with God and others. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband James and two children. You can read more of her occasional writing at toryvore.com.