Our Ride of Life

Photo Credit: Camille Taylor (Instagram: @camilletaylorphotgraphy1)

Something you should know about my husband, Grant, is that he is really big into CrossFit. He loves it. And while I need more convincing to go do the workouts, he used to coach it every day at 5:30 a.m.

For those who don’t know, CrossFit is a workout, and that workout is all about making yourself ready for anything in life. They use movements that are generally applicable to real life scenarios. And every year, the best of the best CrossFit athletes compete at the CrossFit Games held in Wisconsin.

While I am not a Cross Fitter, I do love watching the Games each year because it is incredible what these athletes can do. Over a period of 4 or 5 days, the athletes are presented with a range of 3-5 events that they compete each day. And the kicker? The athletes don’t know what the events will be until right before they are supposed compete that event. Talk about pressure!

The 2019 CrossFit games are coming up, and yes! I have my favorite athletes now. Before the 2018 games, I only followed two of the athletes on Instagram. However, Patrick Vellner – who took second in the games last year – truly inspired me and I started to follow him on Instagram as well. Even though Vellner ended up taking second overall in the games last year, he did not start out too well. On the first day, their first event was a bike race where the athletes had to ride 10 laps to finish. Each lap was about 1,200 meters, which equaled around 7.5 miles total.

Instagram: @pvellner

On the first day of the Games, in the very first event, Vellner hopped onto his bike like the rest of his competitors and started out on the race. You have to realize that these were tight quarters the athletes were riding in. Forty of the best Cross Fitters in the world were riding side by side as fast as they could, so there wasn’t much wiggle room. As Vellner rounded the last corner of lap 1, he was clipped by another rider, which sent him reeling off balance. In an attempt to stay upright, he swerved and flew straight into an unsuspecting athlete named Brandon Luckett. Shortly thereafter Vellner’s bicycle chain broke and he had to switch bikes. As he swapped cycles, the other athlete, Luckett, brushed himself off and mounted his own bike and began riding again. Vellner quickly caught up to Luckett and they rounded out the first lap together.

I think this would have been an extremely discouraging moment for Vellner. Here he was, starting the CrossFit games in the first event of the week, and on the first lap he crashed and fell way behind. I think it would have been easy for him to throw in the towel and give up. Tally the event up as one of those unfortunate moments in history. However, before Vellner could make up his mind to do so, Luckett looked back at Vellner and said, “Let’s go catch em,” and took the lead.

Vellner described that moment and the rest of the race like this,

“We rode cooperatively for 9 laps and ended up catching 4 or 5 riders. Having Brandon to team up and ride with, kept me mentally engaged in the event when I easily could have just mailed it in and fallen off. It still didn’t make for a great finish, but Brandon pulled me along with him – and the camaraderie kept me focused on the competition. It was he and I against everyone else.”

Instagram: @pvellner

When I read Vellner’s experience in his own words, that last phrase hit me – “it was he and I against everyone else.”

Too often we are riding our bikes in life and we get clipped by another rider or some other random object. Maybe it was an accident, and… maybe it wasn’t. Either way, sometimes we lose our balance and we crash. It is in those critical moments that we decide what we are going to do. And it is in those moments that the Savior will be there, look us in the eye and tell us, “let’s go catch em.” In that moment, it won’t matter that you fell, because it will be you and Him… you and the Savior… against all the worldly temptations and distractions. He is there to help us up and keep us going. It won’t matter when we cross the finish line, all that will matter is that we do – and recognize that it was the Savior who kept us going.

It takes effort, strength, faith, and endurance to keep going. It takes the scripture reading each day to recover when someone clips our bike peddle. It takes the personal prayers in the morning and evening to handle the gusts of wind against our wheels. And it takes the church and temple attendance throughout the week to strengthen us when our bicycle chain breaks. In a time where the world tends to blow us around on our ride of life, we will always be able to look over and see Christ smiling back at us, encouraging us, and loving us as we keep riding.

Please know that Christ will ALWAYS be cheering you on. Why? Because He has crashed too. His bike peddles have been clipped too. The gusts of wind have blown Him over too. His bicycle chain has broken too. He understands how we feel. He knows what it’s like when all of our hopes and dreams seem to darken and crumble around us. He has been there too. And because He has been there, He knows how to help you. He knows how to help me. He loves you. He wants you to succeed!

Brandon Luckett ended up taking 34th in the bike race event, with Patrick Vellner taking 35th right behind him. While Vellner may have had this small setback on day one, it didn’t stop him from taking 2nd overall at the end of the games.

Ultimately, it won’t matter that you crashed during your ride of life. In the grand scheme of things, it was really just a small blip in your journey. What really matters is that it is you and Christ against the World. Against all the worldly temptations and pitfalls this world offers you. Against Satan. It’s you and Him. You and Christ. The most powerful team anyone has ever seen. Together.

And as you trust Him, and follow Him, He will pick you up every time. As you live by His commandments, those crashes will become less frequent. And when they do happen, the scrapes and scars won’t disappear… but you also won’t feel them as deeply either.

I know this. I do. I know that Christ lives. I know that He makes an already crazy life, a lot less crazy! He withstands the majority of the wind so that we don’t have to. And how grateful l am that He does. I cannot do this life without Him. I just can’t. Because I need Him… we all do.

Love, Shalee

One Comment Add yours

  1. Lana says:

    This was amazing to read. So inspirational!! Thank you!


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