“…Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down.” Exodus 17:12
In high school, I was a cheerleader.
I also ran on the track team. I was fast, and sprints were my thing. One time, in practice, I beat the men’s record time for the 220 yard dash (which, in modern days, is now called, simply, the 200 meter). My time back then wouldn’t even qualify me for the 400 meter run these days, but—back in the 1980s—I was considered an athlete. In track and field, that is.
Cheerleading was never considered a sport. Maybe it was the skirts that threw people off. But, let me tell you, being a cheerleader is every bit as athletic and important as running the 4 by 100 meter relay. Each summer, just like the soccer team, we rose early in the morning to make our way to practice before heading out to our summer jobs. We rehearsed and trained and worked hard at our sport, and we learned teamwork along the way. We knew the rules of each sport for which we cheered, and we invested in the success of our team as if we were holding the line ourselves. When our team won, we celebrated their success. And when they lost, we carried the burden, right along with the players.
These days, I push myself to knock out a couple of miles on the treadmill each day. It’s nowhere near athletic, but I’m hoping it keeps my heart healthy, and I know it helps clear my mind. And, I’m still a cheerleader.
In fact, I think cheering may be one of my spiritual gifts.
I take great pleasure in watching my family and friends see their dreams come true. It’s as if their dreams become mine, and my investment in them is real and significant. Their dreams take up residence in my heart. I cheer and do cartwheels when they succeed, and I cry and pray and feel disappointment for them when roadblocks stand in their way.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you find great pleasure in cheering the success of others. Or, maybe you find yourself frustrated with a role that many consider a non-sport. You wonder why God seems to have called you to the sidelines, instead of the main stage, or center court, or center field. Maybe you’re restless, and wishing for a record-breaking sprint across the finish line, with people on their feet in the stands, cheering for you.
Take heart, girlfriend! In God’s great manuscript, there is no such thing as “sidelines.” Every single role, every season, every assignment matters, and has great significance in the Kingdom of God.
Last month, I sat in the audience at the Refresh My Heart Conference, as my friend, Michelle, read from her new book, Spiritual Misfit. This book is the culmination of a seven-year journey to publication. Along the way, she has had major setbacks and disappointments, but I always knew this book was meant to be. It has been my great honor to serve as Michelle’s cheerleader on this journey.
So, last month, sitting in that audience, listening to Michelle read real pages from the actual book she held in her hands, and hearing the crowd around me laugh at all the right places, and then become silent as the message hit home? Well, I could not stop weeping, sitting there in my chair in the ballroom of that conference center. When Michelle finished speaking, she sold out of the supply of books she’d brought to the conference. In fact, she says, she went back to the book table to find a pile of money on the table, and all of the books gone!
I could not have been more proud, more happy, more giddy with joy! And, what a gift to have been a witness to such a moment!
Like Moses, every person needs an Aaron and Hur. Sometimes, we get to be Moses, and other times we get to be—yes, get to be—the ones helping to carry the load. I imagine that scene at the battlefield wasn’t a quiet one. I imagine Aaron and Hur shouting words of encouragement and affirmation for Moses—cheering him on—as they stood there, successfully helping to carry him, and the people of God, to the end of the battle. We know how the battle ends, and we know this was no “side show.” We know how important it was that Aaron and Hur were there to take their places on the so-called sidelines.
There is nothing quite like savoring a dream come true on behalf of a friend. Nothing like watching them cross the finish line—battle weary and out of breath. Nothing like being the one to offer a cool drink of water, a hug, and, sometimes even a cartwheel. There is nothing quite like being a cheerleader in the Body of Christ.
- Do you have the spiritual gift of cheerleading? Tell us about a time you were able to cheer for a friend as her dream came true.
- Has God given you cheerleaders in your life? Tell us how they help keep your dream alive.
PS: Michelle’s book, Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith,
releases Tuesday, and is available for purchase, here. Yay!