Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tough Mudder

“Don’t quit!”
“Keep going!”

And my personal favorite, “You’re going to feel amazing when you finish!”

These were just a few of the statements made by several of the event and medical staff that were stationed around the course at the Tri-State Tough Mudder 2013. I learned several things that morning and a few stood out to me:

•    Encouragement goes a long way

•    Teamwork makes the dream work
•    There is satisfaction in completion

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we read, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up...”

There were moments in the challenge where it seemed that the logical thing to do was to quit, turn back and live to fight another day. By the time you reach mile 3 (a quarter of the the way), your body is aching, you’re cold and beginning to notice a few aches accumulated along the way. Thank God for encouragement! It seemed that every time doubt crept into my mind an encouraging word reminded me that I’m able to take another step, climb another wall and endure a little longer. The encouragement prevented defeat from ever gaining a foot hole in my mind.

Proverbs 27:17, “ Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another...”

Tough Mudder was designed to ensure camaraderie. The challenges and course can be completed by an individual, but it is not good for a man to try it alone (see what I did there *wink wink*). I saw a man struggle and literally hit a wall...of mud...and begin to give in to frustration. He found life when someone reached back and grabbed his arm. With a new strength, together he climbed that wall as a stranger pulls him up. He then continued on the course to the finish.

John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.””

In The Salvation Army, its not uncommon to begin a project or effort and not see it in its completed state. One officer may begin a campaign for a new building and the next may begin the construction. No matter what the task, there is a great sense of achievement when it is completed. When I crossed the finish line at Tough Mudder, I fully expected to collapse and just lie on the ground until I had enough strength to stand. What I found was that upon completion, I was still standing!

Not everyone will do and complete a Tough Mudder, but we all will face challenges or know someone in the midst of one. Your words of encouragement might be all that stands between victory and defeat in that moment. We are creatures of community, therefore, we ought to be there for each other. Lastly, Let us meet our next obstacle and see it through to completion. Join in the finished work of Christ!

Written by Lt. Darell Houseton
Newark Ironbound Corps


  1. I will most likely not complete a Tough Mudder course but I enjoyed reading your perspective of community over and against that of competition after your experience of finishing (stronger than you thought while going through). The language you used when describing the weary participant is powerful, "He found life when...a new strength..." because it isn't a 'renewed' strength...but it's strength that he had never had prior to this experience. I find that inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Last summer a group in my church did the tough mudder and it's like deja vu reading your post because what you are saying is echoing exactly what they said. Such great lessons are found all throughout this post and you call apply not just to the tough mudder but with challenges everyday!