Four years, the amount of time we stand in the sidelines, cheering on Zeke while he runs the local turkey trots. The first year was so cold, I brought several covers as the kids were hidden in layers of winter clothes. The goal was to support my husband in a great hobby: running.
We love supporting Zeke. We love seeing him off and wishing we were all running with him. We love waiting for him at the finish line. This year we cheered other runners as they came by. The kids caught the cheering rhythm like champs. They were screaming things such as "keep running strong! You can do it!"
When Zeke showed up, they cheered enthusiastically and we were so proud of his accomplishment.
Some seasons of life feel like the sideline. Recovering from sickness feels like you're sidelined. You just have to take the meds, rest like a newborn baby until you find strength you didn't know you have. Motherhood sometimes feels like the sideline. You have to let your life plans take a backseat (and stop, I know that's the best job on earth but work with me here) so that you can take care of precious world changers. I bet retirement feels like the sideline. You work so hard for so long and then you just stop. Sidelines can reveal what you are really made of.
You can stand there and be a hater. You can criticize those who are running. You can also feel so self consumed you miss all the beauty right in front of you.
You can also stand there and cheer others from the top of your lungs. Often, their strong finish depends on something you can give them from the sidelines: encouragement. Yesterday, I found joy in screaming "earn that turKEEEEYYYY!" I found it got a laugh out of people, that is, after they saw a bunch of cute kids.
If like me, you find myself on a sideline, remember that we don't see ourselves as "sidelined." We are actively contributing to the well being of others. You're only sidelined when you don't have anything to give, and you know that's not true about you and I.
God has given us encouragement, joy and peace we can pass to others as they run their race.