We Need Others (Passion Projects,Flat Tires,and Great Friends)

I love when God teaches us lessons and reminds us of His truths in unexpected ways.
YoungLives was exploring a new fundraising concept called Passion Projects (a planned event in which one does something they enjoy while giving back to YoungLives and impacting generations). When I heard about it I volunteered to be a guinea pig. I was already signed up to race in a triathlon with some good friends from college. We were rallying together as we had all found ourselves in need of a different type of mountain to conquer besides dirty diapers and making it through bedtime routines. So as the idea of merging a passion with a fundraiser was mentioned it seemed a perfect fit and off I went launching the campaign and involving my friends!
Doing the triathlon for a greater cause than just my personal needs really changed the game for me. I believe this small step outside myself helped me to unplug my ears and hear from God.35a58796f0094c540042100aba5781c6 (3) I found myself on my long runs, bike rides, and swims being reminded of the ministry and the brave men and women it serves. My workouts became a time for prayer for them and that entry into a posture of prayer also allowed me to be more attuned to God and set the stage for me to hear from Him. It was neat to see donations come from my neighborhood friends to my Grandparents in Chicago as I reached out to my network and shared my excitement of racing for a cause!


Race day finally arrived and all my hard work was finally going to pay off in a great race and bragging rights with my friends as I was determined to be the victor!  Unfortunately race day did not go quite as planned…  9b43c4e409581c9782681124757f9f5d (2)It started off great as I crushed the swim and had a great transition into the bike until the guy behind me passed by and politely informed me as I was getting on my bike that my helmet was on backwards, oops.  Okay, so I fix the helmet and start pedaling up a monster hill and realize something is wrong, I look down and my back tire is flat!  I was so upset but stayed focused, jumped off, and used my CO2 cartridge to refill the tire and quickly resume.  Shortly after I realized it did not fully inflate and was only about half way full. I was determined to not have to stop again so I tried to fight through it but about 10 miles in I had to get more air so I tried another quick fix but quickly realized it didn’t work and that I was going to have to change the tube out.  I was then reminded that I did not have any more CO2 to fill the tube up and had no way to put a new tube on.  I was so disappointed and was ready to just cash it in.  All this hard work and I can’t even finish the race, I thought to myself…but then it hit me that my friend who I knew was a few minutes behind me had a pump on his bike and would be able to give it to me if I could flag him down.  So I proceed to change out my tube and wait for him to go flying past me, I almost missed him but caught his attention and he stopped, turned around and gave me his pump before getting back on the road.  I was able to change the tire and finish strong, not quite the time or performance I wanted but I finished and was proud of my accomplishment.7b9cc3edbc52cd398a74483e2643f099 (2)

Later that evening as I was driving home by myself I was reflecting on the adversity I faced.  Once I got over my own disappointment, I thought about the ministry this race was for and I thought of the incomparable adversity the teen moms and dads have faced in life.  I was reminded of their courage to press on, to do the right thing, to be the best they can be.  I also thought of the ministry and its volunteers and that because of YoungLives the moms/dads don’t have to do it on their own.  The reality is we can’t finish the race of life well unless we reach out and receive help from others.  WE NEED OTHERS, we were made to be in community, to love one another, to share in each other’s joy and sorrow.  It was hard for me to humble myself and reach out to someone else for help, to feel like I was a burden for him as I was going to make him stop his race to help me, but then to see the complete willingness and even joy for him to be able to come alongside me, it is the same joy we all feel when we know we have truly helped someone in this life.  I just started crying as I thought of the beauty of this truth and the beauty of this ministry.  I am so proud of the moms and dads that are facing their adversity and rising above the voices telling them to quit and grabbing the hand of someone else to help them run and finish this race of life well.  I am so moved by the volunteers that have stepped forward to lend a hand and mentor the young men and women who are up against the adversity.

I love when God teaches us lessons and reminds us of His truths in unexpected ways.


-Ryan McCarty



2 thoughts on “We Need Others (Passion Projects,Flat Tires,and Great Friends)

  1. […] This is a HUGE way that you can jump in for the first time or do more to support YoungLives and impact generations. What is even more exciting is that we have a donor that wants to make these passion projects so successful that they are matching 100% of the proceeds that are raised in this way! Read how Ryan’s experience competing in a triathlon in support of YoungLives ministered to his heart HERE. […]

  2. I loved everything about this article. Such a great reminder that other people are out there just like we are. People actually “want” to help each other. Such a great read!

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